With about 15 laps to go in the 32nd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals it looked as if 2018 was the year that Kyle Larson would finally score a Golden Driller of his own. His friends like Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell had already won the Chili Bowl, but he hadn’t. But with 10 laps to go, fate decided it had other plans. Larson’s engine went up in smoke, and so too did his Chili Bowl dreams. Bell went by and went on to score the win in his favorite race for the second year in a row.
“To win the Chili Bowl last year was something that I’ll never forget,” said Bell on the MAVTV broadcast. “To be able to win it back to back is something that I’m just speechless for.”
On a Lap 11 restart, Larson made a mistake and Bell was able to get by and lead the next few laps before Larson took the lead back in lapped traffic.
After another restart, Larson was able to drive away to a lead of nearly a second before Bell started to reel him back in with less than 15 laps to go.
Then, just as Bell got to Larson’s back bumper, a puff of smoke came out of the headers of Larson’s No. 01. Larson slowed and pulled his car to the inside and Bell drove off to take the win.
“Honestly, I’m really bummed about Kyle,” said Bell. “I felt like we were going to have a really good race there. I don’t know when his motor started laying down, but I started making up time on him and I followed him for probably three or four laps and I could tell that it was struggling.”
Larson finished 19th due to the engine failure.
Behind Bell by about a second and a half finished two-time Chili Bowl champion Rico Abreu. Spencer Bayston finished third followed by Tanner Thorson who raced his way into the feature from the D-Main, and Ryan Bernal finished fifth.
Super team Keith Kunz Motorsports held each of the three podium positions and has now won the last four straight Chili Bowls.
The 2019 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will take place January 14-19.
Speed51.com will have more from the 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, including a photo gallery on our Five Star Race Car Bodies Facebook Feed, still to come, so stay tuned.
Saturday's PitBoxes.com Pit Crew of the Day
Each day during the 32nd Chili Bowl Nationals, PitBoxes.com will team up with Speed51.com to present the Pit Crew of the Day award. The winner of each day will receive a $100 product certificate to use towards the purchase of a state-of-the-art pit box from PitBoxes.com.
Saturday's PitBoxes.com Pit Crew of the Day award goes to the Keith Kunz Motorsports team for their domination of the 32nd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. The KKM team won every night but one and swept the podium for Saturday's 55-lap A-Main with Christopher Bell taking the win for the second year in a row. The win is also the fourth straight for Keith Kunz Motorsports at the Chili Bowl.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals
River Spirit Expo Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
55-Lap A-Main Feature Finish
1. 71W-Christopher Bell, ; 2. 97-Rico Abreu, ; 3. 97K-Spencer Bayston, ; 4. 63-Tanner Thorson, ; 5. 87-Ryan Bernal, ; 6. 63D-Brad Sweet, ; 7. 39BC-Justin Grant, ; 8. 71R-Chase Johnson, ; 9. 27K-Kevin Thomas Jr, ; 10. 84X-Chad Boat, ; 11. 71-Ryan Robinson, ; 12. 7BC-Tyler Courtney, ; 13. 35TE-Chris Windom, ; 14. 67-Logan Seavey, ; 15. 17W-Shane Golobic, ; 16. 4-Tom Harris, ; 17. 49ER-Caleb Armstrong, ; 18. 77P-Billy Pauch Jr, ; 19. (DNF) 01-Kyle Larson, ; 20. (DNF) 37-Andrew Felker, ; 21. (DNF) 91T-Tyler Thomas, ; 22. (DNF) 24-Tracy Hines, ; 23. (DNF) 1-Sammy Swindell, ; 24. (DNF) 57BC-Giovanni Scelzi,