Tanner Carrick came out victorious in Monday night’s qualifying night for the A-Feature for the Chili Bowl Nationals.
Piloting the No. 98 Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota, Carrick took the top spot on lap 22 of 30 after race leader Mitchel Moles pushed the cushion too wide at Turn 4 and was sent barrel rolling down the straightaway. Once in the lead, Carrick managed the gap to runner-up Tyler Courtney, ultimately crossing the finish line by 1.225s. It was a first win for Carrick at the Tulsa Expo Center, and 30th for owner Keith Kunz.
The only sour note for Carrick came moments after the checkered flag when he flipped heading into Turn 1.
“I went through the finish line and when I went to use the brake pedal, there were no brakes,” said Carrick, 20. “By that time it was too late and I plugged it into the fence.”
On the positive side, the result puts Carrick straight into the main event for Saturday.
“It’s huge,” Carrick said. “I’ve struggled the last couple of years here. I’ve always been fast, just no finish to show the speed that we’ve had that Keith has given me three years in a row here. It definitely is huge. My whole goal coming into this weekend was just to lock it into Saturday and I didn’t wanna do it by running second. I ran second in my qualifier and in my heat from sixth and fifth. I went and told myself going to the main, ‘All right, I’m starting a whole three and four spots further forward than I did in my qualifier and heat, so here’s the time to do it.’ And then I made an early mistake in the race when I had gotten to second that put me back in third, where I started and I had to fight back from there.”
— FloRacing (@FloRacing) January 11, 2022
For Courtney, the second-place puts him through to his sixth consecutive Saturday A-Feature. Chase Johnson, David Gravel and Nick Hoffman completed the rest of the top five.
“We were okay,” Courtney said. “We weren’t the best by any means, but you know, I think we were pretty good at the beginning. I was about to squeak by him on the top and he moved up just in time. Then we kind of just rode around there for a while, and then we got to those lap cars and it was just chaos. Mitchel and Jerry (Coons Jr.) kind of cleared them first and we couldn’t get around them. Then right before the caution Chase slid me, so I knew we had to get going. But, right before Jerry and Mitchel kind of fell apart, he was pulling away from me on the bottom, so I knew something had to be happening there on on the bottom.
“Once we went back green I just planted it behind him and hopefully, just make it to the end and it worked out. Obviously second sucks, but we’re locked into Saturday and Saturday is 55 laps and a long time around this place. But yeah, I’d like to win a prelim night here once in a while.”
NASCAR Cup Series stars Alex Bowman and Chase Briscoe finished ninth and 11th, respectively. Both are set for the C-Feature for Saturday.
Other action on the night included the Invitational Race of Champions, with Justin Grant fending off defending two-time Chili Bowl and NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson by a narrow 0.280s.
— FloRacing (@FloRacing) January 11, 2022
Christopher Bell finished third, followed by Tanner Thorson and Blake Hahn.
A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature. [starting position]
(30 Laps): 1. 98-Tanner Carrick ; 2. 7C-Tyler Courtney ; 3. 87-Chase Johnson ; 4. 1D-David Gravel ; 5. 2H-Nick Hoffman ; 6. 08-Cannon McIntosh ; 7. 32-Gary Taylor; 8. 5G-Gavan Boschele ; 9. 55X-Alex Bowman ; 10. 32T-Trey Marcham ; 11. 5-Chase Briscoe ; 12. 8-Alex Sewell ; 13. 22M-Carson Kvapil ; 14. 81G-Anton Hernandez ; 15. 97X-Jesse Love ; 16. 15E-Kinzer Edwards ; 17. 22-Sean McClelland ; 18. 80-Josh Hawkins ; 19. 45K-Kyler Johnson ; 20. (DNF) 07W-Mitchel Moles ; 21. (DNF) 85-Jerry Coons Jr ; 22. (DNF) 28K-Kory Schudy ; 23. (DNF) 7MR-Jadon Rogers ; 24. (DNF) 61J-Jacob Denney 
Lap Leader(s): Mitchel Moles 1-5, 20-21; Jerry Coons, Jr. 6-19; Tanner Carrick 22-30
Hard Charger: Cannon McIntosh +13
Invitational Race of Champions Feature
(25 Laps): 1. 2J-Justin Grant ; 2. 01-Kyle Larson ; 3. 71W-Christopher Bell; 4. 19T-Tanner Thorson ; 5. 52-Blake Hahn ; 6. 97-Rico Abreu ; 7. 7C-Tyler Courtney; 8. 1S-Spencer Bayston ; 9. 9E-Chase Elliott ; 10. 01K-Bryant Wiedeman ; 11. 1R-Brad Sweet ; 12. 9T-Tim McCreadie ; 13. 21-Daryn Pittman ; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon ; 15. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 16. (DNF) 39-Logan Seavey ; 17. (DNF) 08-Cannon McIntosh ; 18. (DNF) 67-Buddy Kofoid