(January 16, 2021 from Bryan Hulbert) – With slower traffic becoming a major factor in the closing laps, California’s Justin Grant managed to hold off the charge of Kyle Cummins and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. for his fourth career Chili Bowl preliminary night victory since 2017 on Friday’s Driven2SaveLives Qualifying Night.
“I had them side-by-side like six rows deep just trying to pick my way through and about had one guy slide me back on the last lap,” chuckled a nearly out of breath Justin Grant of the closing laps and trying to keep point on the field.
Leading from the start, Grant kept several restart challenges in his tire tracks. Going caution-free from Lap 11 to the checkered flag, Grant entered traffic with a 3.213-second advantage on Lap 24. Mired in traffic through the closing five laps, Kyle Cummins was closing fast.
Within car lengths, as the white flag came into view, the NOS Energy No. 2J managed to hold the Glenn Styres – Jack Yeley Racing No. 3g to a 0.552-second disadvantage at the checkered flag.
“I knew we had a pretty good lead looking up at the board, and I felt good, then started getting tight on the curb, but fortunately, traffic made me hustle, get the right rear tire stood back up, and start hitting my marks,” stated Grant. “I saw Kyle coming on the board and knew it was time to stop being patient and start moving them out of the way.”
After suffering a DNF in the eighth Fatheadz Eyewear Heat Race, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had elbows up as the Driven2SaveLives No. 17s tore through the field from the C-Feature to missing the lock into Saturday’s A-Feature by 0.164-seconds after advancing 31 times.
Like Stenhouse, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson had to rebound from a DNF in the opening Heat Race. Becoming the night’s Hard Charger in the A-Feature with 16 positions gained through the A-Feature, Thorson advanced 29 times overall. Challenging for second early, Daryn Pittman crossed fifth.
Damion Gardner in sixth was chased by Chili Bowl Rookie Jesse Love. Aaron Reutzel crossed eighth with J.J. Yeley, from the B-Feature, making up eight spots to ninth. As high as third through the Feature’s mid-point, the No. 68 of Ronnie Gardner ended up tenth.
With 64 Drivers making the call for Friday’s Driven2SaveLives Qualifying Night, the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire saw a total of 309 Drivers officially draw in out of 320 entries received.
Fatheadz Eyewear Heat Races went to Hunter Schuerenberg, Jesse Love, Anthony Nicholson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Cummins, Brent Beauchamp, and Justin Allgaier. C-Feature wins went to Chris Tarrant and Michelle Decker, with Team Toyota Qualifiers going to Ronnie Gardner, Jesse Love, Bill Balog, and Damion Gardner. Dave.com B-Features were won by J.J. Yeley and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
The 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire concludes on Saturday, January 16m 2021. The River Spirit Expo Center opens at 8:00 A.M. with Hot Laps on track at 10:00 A.M. (CT). The first event of the day will be a pair of M-Features. A limited number of Pit Passes will be available to the General Public. The Booth opens with the building.
Reminder to all who attend that masks are required while inside the River Spirit Expo Center.
Those who cannot make it can see the action live on http://www.floracing.com.
For continued updates on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, follow the event on Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Friday, January 15, 2021
Driven2SaveLives Qualifying Night
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 2J-Justin Grant; 2. 3G-Kyle Cummins; 3. 17S-Ricky Stenhouse Jr; 4. 08-Tanner Thorson; 5. 21-Daryn Pittman; 6. 71G-Damion Gardner; 7. 97K-Jesse Love; 8. 87-Aaron Reutzel; 9. 2G-JJ Yeley; 10. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 11. 32W-Casey Shuman; 12. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 13. 28-Ace McCarthy; 14. 57W-Kasey Kahne; 15. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer; 16. 4CM-Cody Jessop; 17. 37X-Bill Balog; 18. 44X-Wesley Smith; 19. 73B-Tyler Edwards; 20. 15F-Kinzer Edwards; 21. 2X-Brent Beauchamp; 22. 10J-Lane Goodman; 23. (DNF) 56I-Luke Icke; 24. (DNF) 14-Jesse Colwell
Lap Leader(s): Justin Grant 1-30
Hard Charger: Tanner Thorson +16