Justin Grant made it three in a row for Friday night at the Chili Bowl by edging Tanner Thorson in a splendid display of dirt tracking at the Tulsa Expo Center.
Starting on the pole for new owners Rick Young and Jeff Taylor, Grant led all 25 laps in his NOS Energy Special, but Thorson was never more than a car length or two behind as they chased each other through traffic in a race that had no yellows and only took 4m58s to complete.
“I love Friday nights here and the atmosphere is great and the place is packed,” said the USAC midget and sprint front-runner from California who lives in Avon, Indiana. “I can’t thank Rick enough for putting this deal together and it’s been a lot of work in a short time but it’s very rewarding.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow night because I’ve got a great car.”
Thorson, a former USAC midget champion, started third and jumped into second in the first turn. And he did everything but pass Grant in their great duel.
“Congrats to Justin, he didn’t mess up, and I was right there if he did,” said Thorson. “But we’re in the big show and that’s what matters.”
Chad Boat finished third and NASCAR regular Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came home fourth.
As he did a year ago, Grant’s victory snapped the winning streak of Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby, whose cars had won Monday-Thursday with Logan Seavey, Kyle Larson, Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell.
But another of Kunz’s driver, Spencer Bayston, put on quite a show in Friday night’s A Main. Starting last, he charged all the way to ninth place and never got one caution flag or he would have finished even better.
The 10 drivers who transferred to the 33rd Chili Bowl main event will draw for their starting spots prior to Saturday night’s C Main.