T.J.’s Takeaways from Tuesday in Tulsa

(Serena Dalhamer photo)

(January 14, 2020) — With two nights in the books and having to get up early for work in the morning here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday’s Chili Bowl Nationals program.

• Tuesday night at the Chili Bowl Nationals proved that Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson have no issues with their new surroundings away from Keith Kunz Motorsports. Bell was impressive in route to winning the VIROC Race of Champions from seventh starting spot in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports entry. Larson continued his dominance driving his own midget at Tulsa to the feature victory.

Both are wildly talented and will likely be looked upon as two of the most talented race car drivers of their era. Rarely do we get to see them showcase their talents together on the same night in open wheel equipment. Tuesday we were treated to a taste of it during the Race of Champions before Saturday’s Chili Bowl finale will see Larson and Bell square off again.

• Drivers making infrequent starts with good results never ceases to amaze me at the Chili Bowl Nationals. With some of the most talented drivers in the world that run full open wheel schedules some of the stars from Tuesday included the Competition Director for the World of Outlaws in Mike Hess, MRN announcer Dillon Welch, and Oklahoma area driver Jonathan Beason that makes 15 or less starts per season.

Hess does have a wealth of experience driving midgets, but since taking on his officiating role he only makes one or two starts per season.

Hess was so self-deprecating about his appearance in 2019 at Angell Park Speedway I didn’t select him to do much of anything at Chili Bowl. Before mechanical issues late in the feature Hess appeared to be on his way to a solid B-Main starting position or even locking into Saturday’s feature.

Welch has made more starts than normal in 2019, but still considered infrequent behind the wheel compared to his cohorts.

Beason stays off the national radar for most of the year until Tulsa where he always seems to be in the mix, but recently hasn’t locked in during his preliminary night. Beason completed that task on Tuesday with a second-place finish.

Its amazing all three of these drivers put in this kind of performance while racing so infrequently.

• After multiple cautions by several of the same drivers throughout the night it strengthened my resolve for a rule, I felt was needed at the Chili Bowl Nationals during my visit in 2001, a legitimate two spin rule in all the races. It may need some tweaking to account for some of the massive pile ups that can occur, but there shouldn’t be a reason for the same driver to cause more than two cautions during a race at the expo center.