Kyle Larson made quick work of the competition in Tuesday night’s A Main and easily transferred to Saturday night’s 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals main event.
Starting second in the Keith Kunz/Pete Willoughby Toyota, Larson snatched the lead from pole-sitter Zach Daum on Lap 5 and led the final 20 laps to again qualify for the race he usually leads but has never won.
“I was nervous starting on the outside because I figured the bottom was going to be good the first few laps and I might drop back,” said the NASCAR star who won his heat races and finished second in his qualifier. “I ran a couple laps low and then went up high and managed to get Zach pretty quick and I really didn’t push too hard from there — I just wanted to avoid mistakes and bring it home for Saturday.
“I about got collected lapping cars when somebody spun in front of me but fortunately I missed him.”
Daum held off Jonathan Beason for second to earn the other automatic transfer spot into Saturday night’s 55-lap main event.
“I wish it would have been 55 laps instead of 25 because my car was rally tight,” said the former USAC midget champion. “But Kyle, Keith and Pete are the benchmark here so it’s all good, we’re in the show and I’ve got a good car.”
Starting 10th, Beason won the Jason Leffler Elbows Up Award by charging to third at the Tulsa Expo Center’s tricky dirt track.
“It kinda sucks because last year the top three transferred into the A Main but I’ve got a good car and we had a good night,” said Beason, who will start near the front in one of Saturday’s B Mains.
Dillion Welch, a full-time pit reporter for NASCAR and FOX and NBC and IndyCar who only races a couple times year anymore, did an impressive job and finished seventh to transfer into a B Main while NASCAR regular Alex Bowman ran ninth and will be in a C Main on Saturday.
Former USAC midget champ Tanner Thorson he’d off Larson to win the 20-lap Race of Champions while two-time Chili Bowl king Christopher Bell stormed from 15th to third and looked formidable as ever.