Grant Holds off Larson to Win 2022 Edition of the VIROC

Top Story Chili Bowl Nationals

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(January 10, 2021) — Justin Grant kicked off the 36th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire by winning the Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions Monday night at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. Grant held off multiple challenges by defending Chili Bowl Champion Kyle Larson for the victory. Larson threw multiple slide jobs at Grant in an attempt to take the lead, but Grant was up to the challenge holding off Larson for the victory.

For Grant the VIROC was the first chance to see if some of the work the RMS Racing team he drives for could set the stage for a Chili Bowl championship on Saturday.

“We’ve actually changed a lot setup wise from last year just trying to get a little better at the end of these runs and we made some ground there. I think we still need to be better yet for Saturday but Donnie and Lacey and then all the all the guys at RMS so we’re going to work on it and see if we can’t finish off that last little bit there.

Grant took the lead at the start from Logan Seavey and drove away from the field. The red flag appeared 10 laps into the event when Buddy Kofoid ended up flipping after contact with Sammy Swindell while running third. Kofoid emerged from the car under his own power but was unable to continue.

Grant pulled away after the restart as Larson moved into the second position from Seavey. The caution flag waved four laps later when Seavey slowed to a stop.

After the restart Larson put pressure on Grant for the lead for the remainder of the event, throwing multiple slide jobs to take the lead. Grant was able to thwart all of Larson’s challenges over the final 10 laps for the victory.

While Grant and Larson put on one of the most entertaining editions of the VIROC, Grant didn’t find the final circuits at entertaining trying to keep Larson at bay.

“Yeah, they really weren’t that much fun,” Grant said of the final laps of the VIROC trying to hold off Larson. “I felt like we were we were taking on water pretty fast there at the end, and we were really good until eight to go and then and I kind of lost my entry grip. I went to search and trying to figure out how to how to make keep some speed going.”

After the race Larson felt like he should have waited longer to challenge Grant rather than the not stop barrage of slide jobs he attempted to take the lead.

“I had kind of good little thing working for me there, but I should have went back to the top and three and four coming to two to go and I would have had a better run, I think, to make a move, but I’m really happy with my car.” said Larson following the VIROC.

Even with the handling starting to go away, Grant seemed encouraged about his effort leading into the rest of the week.

“We’re gaining on it and hopefully we’ll have something for Kyle and Chris and these guys on Saturday.”

Christopher Bell picked up hard charger honors in his return to Keith Kunz Motorsports at the Chili Bowl moving up from 11th starting position to finish third. Tanner Thorson moved up from eight starting position to finish fourth while Blake Hahn rounded out the top five.

36th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions
Tulsa Expo Raceway
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Monday, January 10, 2022

1. 19T-Tanner Thorson, 11.328[16]
2. 01-Kyle Larson, 11.470[4]
3. 7C-Tyler Courtney, 11.485[5]
4. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 11.491[2]
5. 52-Blake Hahn, 11.530[9]
6. 67-Michael Kofoid, 11.539[7]
7. 2J-Justin Grant, 11.553[11]
8. 39-Logan Seavey, 11.622[8]
9. 97-Rico Abreu, 11.697[10]
10. 9E-Chase Elliott, 11.719[15]
11. 71W-Christopher Bell, 11.736[14]
12. 21-Daryn Pittman, 11.747[6]
13. 21H-Brady Bacon, 11.752[1]
14. 1R-Brad Sweet, 11.767[18]
15. 1S-Spencer Bayston, 11.776[13]
16. 1-Sammy Swindell, 11.863[3]
17. 01K-Bryant Wiedeman, 11.908[17]
18. 9T-Tim McCreadie, 12.167[12]

VIROC (25 Laps)
1. 2J-Justin Grant[2]
2. 01-Kyle Larson[7]
3. 71W-Christopher Bell[11]
4. 19T-Tanner Thorson[8]
5. 52-Blake Hahn[4]
6. 97-Rico Abreu[9]
7. 7C-Tyler Courtney[6]
8. 1S-Spencer Bayston[15]
9. 9E-Chase Elliott[10]
10. 01K-Bryant Wiedeman[17]
11. 1R-Brad Sweet[14]
12. 9T-Tim McCreadie[18]
13. 21-Daryn Pittman[12]
14. 21H-Brady Bacon[13]
15. 1-Sammy Swindell[16]
16. 39-Logan Seavey[1]
17. 08-Cannon McIntosh[5]
18. 67-Michael Kofoid[3]