There was a point on Tuesday night where it appeared that Kyle Larson’s chances at winning the 2015 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals were gone before the week ever really even began.  Larson was involved in a crash early on during his heat race that caused him to have to go through the alphabet to get a good starting spot for Saturday’s main event.  But from the C-Main, to the B-Main, to the A-Main Kyle Larson went, winning all three races in spectacular fashion.

 

Larson, 22, has already accomplished a lot in racing, but what he pulled off Tuesday night at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, OK was something even he didn’t think he could do.

 

“I thought I could get through the C-Main and it would be close to get to the A-Main through the B-Main,” said Larson at the post race press conference.  “If I was to get to the A and if I finished in the top six or seven that would be a solid recovery.  Everything seemed to fall my way after the heat race accident.  I’m pretty amazed I’m sitting right here.”

 

He crashed on just the third lap of his heat race, the first heat race of the night, when cars in front of him spun and he was left with nowhere to go.  The contact broke multiple parts on the left front of his No. 71K machine and forced him to retire from his heat.

 

“They had to change front axles, radius rods and things like that,” said Larson.  “(It was) too much for me to make it back out in that heat race.  We tried but we just didn’t have the tools or parts ready to go. I was pretty upset after the heat because I thought my shot at winning the Chili Bowl was over right there.”

 

After winning the C-Main and B-Main races, Larson was forced to start 17th in the 25-lap A-Main.  By the time the second caution of the race came out on lap 10, Larson was already up to eighth.

 

The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year eventually made his way into second-place and started closing in on leader Zach Daum as Daum started to encounter lapped traffic.

 

That traffic would be Daum’s downfall as a car at the rear of the field spun out in front of Daum and he got collected in the incident with just five laps remaining.

 

Daum’s misfortune handed the lead over to Larson for a restart with five laps to go.  He quickly jumped out to a large lead over Brad Loyett, who would finish second.  Spencer Brayston, a rookie, took the third and final transfer spot for Saturday’s main event.

 

“I’m really just in awe right now,” said Brayston.  “I’m sitting here shaking just trying to get it through my mind that I made it into the A-Main.  Just two years ago I was sitting at home watching the Youtube videos of Kyle and Brad and Bryan Clauson racing around here doing what they do best.  To be racing around here with them is a true honor.”

 

The massive crowd at the River Spirit Expo Center was on its feet throughout most of the evening watching Larson win each race, but the crowd was at its loudest when he was in victory lane.

 

Larson told the track public address announcer that he needed to go out and win again on Saturday night, but then added “Anybody but the Swindells, right?”   The comment caused the crowd to erupt in cheers.

 

Working his way through all the races would be stressful to many, but Larson was in a unique position.  Larson won last year’s Race of Champions event, which locked him into this year’s Chili Bowl main event.  However, that wasn’t something he was aware of during his attempt at qualifying for Saturday’s main event.

 

“My stress level kind of went away during the pill draw for the Race of Champions,” said Larson.  (Christopher) Bell gave me the sixth-place pill and I thought I could win from there so I went and asked Emmett Hahn (Chili Bowl promoter) if you win the Race of Champions, does it guarantee you a spot in Saturday’s feature?  Because I’d heard rumors.  He said not for this year (but for next year).  I won the Race of Champions last year so I was already locked into this year’s A-feature.  I hope that’s true, though.  I mean, Emmett said it.”

 

In addition to all that Larson did, Tuesday night is special for another reason.  Larson, a new dad, had his son Owen with him at the race track for the first time ever.

 

“Tonight was the first night my baby boy was here to see me win a race so that was cool,” said Larson.  “He was in the motorhome but we had it up on the computer so he was watching.”

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

 

Results:

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Warren Cat Qualifying Night

Car Count: 85

Budweiser Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 11A-Andrew Felker[1]; 2. 71X-Tyler Courtney[4]; 3. 17T-Travis Scott[5]; 4. 44D-Philip Dietz[3]; 5. (DNF) 35F-Michael Faccinto[2]; 6. (DNF) 71K-Kyle Larson[8]; 7. (DNF) 33C-Chase Briscoe[6]; DNS 27K-Kyle Keeler

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 78-Nick Wean[6]; 2. 7SS-Wade Seiler[1]; 3. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[5]; 4. 80-Josh Hawkins[7]; 5. 2HH-Nathan Benson[2]; 6. 22D-David Stephenson[4]; 7. (DNF) 75L-Lee Dakus[8]; 8. (DNF) 1B-Bobby Brewer[3]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 11C-Chett Gehrke[4]; 2. 05-Brad Loyet[1]; 3. 5D-Zach Daum[8]; 4. 86C-David Camfield[2]; 5. 12C-Chris Stockham[6]; 6. 13JR-Jock Thacker[3]; 7. (DNF) 58X-Lance Bennett[5]; 8. (DNF) 9$-Kyle Clark[7]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 35-Billy Wease[2]; 2. 98D-Clint Boyles[1]; 3. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[8]; 4. 0T-Tyler Brehm[7]; 5. 4R-Ryan Greth[3]; 6. 7X-Gage Walker[5]; 7. 19-Steven Drevicki[6]; 8. (DNF) 18-Tony Bruce Jr[4]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 27-Alex Bright[2]; 2. 17S-Dominic Scelzi[5]; 3. 7C-Chance Morton[1]; 4. 52C-Isaac Chapple[8]; 5. 83H-Jonathan Halford[7]; 6. 94-Darren Kingston[3]; 7. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr[6]; 8. (DNF) 93-Dustin Morgan[4]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[3]; 2. 7K-Robby Parish[7]; 3. 16-Brandon Matus[5]; 4. 14S-Steve Schaberg[8]; 5. 35M-Matt Sherrell[6]; 6. 32A-Garrett Aitken[1]; 7. 48-Taylor Forbes[2]; 8. (DNF) 1P-Terry Nichols[4]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 56-Levi Jones[3]; 2. 5C-Colten Cottle[1]; 3. 17E-Blake Edwards[4]; 4. 79J-Jacob Patton[5]; 5. 2-Ryan Hall[7]; 6. 7-Shannon McQueen[6]; 7. 12K-Chris Dyson[2]; 8. 12S-Bryan Severs[8]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 88B-Terry Babb[4]; 2. 83G-Matt Gilbert[2]; 3. 0G-Glenn Styres[7]; 4. 21H-Harlan Hulsey[1]; 5. 87F-Brian McClelland[8]; 6. 25G-Dustin Golobic[3]; 7. P40-Aaron Dromgoole[5]; 8. 55T-Tony Everhart[6]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 39B-Spencer Bayston[3]; 2. 1W-Mike Wheeler[1]; 3. 3N-Jake Neuman[6]; 4. 4-Caleb Armstrong[7]; 5. 19N-Nick O’Neal[2]; 6. 91W-Mickey Walker[4]; 7. 1PW-Paul White[5]

Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. R8-Joey Moughan[2]; 2. 8J-Jonathan Beason[3]; 3. 22Q-David Prickett[7]; 4. 31E-Evan Sewell[1]; 5. 9U-Doug McCune[4]; 6. 7CH-Critter Malone[5]; 7. (DNF) 4X-Shawn Petersen[6]

Heat 11 (8 Laps): 1. 19P-Robert Ballou[1]; 2. 23-Jimmy Light[4]; 3. 21S-Joey Saldana[7]; 4. 76M-Adam Pearson[5]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[2]; 6. 81-Ryan Beechler[6]; 7. (DNF) 15M-Travis Herman[3]

D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature.

D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 32A-Garrett Aitken[2]; 2. 4X-Shawn Petersen[4]; 3. 19-Steven Drevicki[3]; 4. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[9]; 5. 1PW-Paul White[5]; 6. 55T-Tony Everhart[8]; 7. 94-Darren Kingston[1]; 8. (DNF) 48-Taylor Forbes[7]; 9. (DNF) 1P-Terry Nichols[10]; 10. (DNF) 27K-Kyle Keeler[11]; DNS 15M-Travis Herman

D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 33C-Chase Briscoe[2]; 2. 25G-Dustin Golobic[1]; 3. P40-Aaron Dromgoole[4]; 4. 12S-Bryan Severs[6]; 5. 58X-Lance Bennett[5]; 6. 12K-Chris Dyson[7]; 7. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr[3]; 8. (DNF) 93-Dustin Morgan[9]; DNS 9$-Kyle Clark; DNS 1B-Bobby Brewer

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 71K-Kyle Larson[6]; 2. 35M-Matt Sherrell[3]; 3. 7C-Chance Morton[1]; 4. 35F-Michael Faccinto[7]; 5. 2-Ryan Hall[2]; 6. 32A-Garrett Aitken[13]; 7. 7X-Gage Walker[10]; 8. 4X-Shawn Petersen[14]; 9. 21H-Harlan Hulsey[4]; 10. 91W-Mickey Walker[12]; 11. 7-Shannon McQueen[9]; 12. 75L-Lee Dakus[11]; 13. 12C-Chris Stockham[5]; 14. 19N-Nick O’Neal[8]

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 51J-R.J. Johnson[8]; 2. 86C-David Camfield[3]; 3. 22D-David Stephenson[11]; 4. 81-Ryan Beechler[9]; 5. 9U-Doug McCune[5]; 6. 25G-Dustin Golobic; 7. 31E-Evan Sewell[4]; 8. (DNF) 44D-Philip Dietz[2]; 9. (DNF) 2HH-Nathan Benson[7]; 10. (DNF) 83H-Jonathan Halford[1]; 11. (DNF) 4R-Ryan Greth[6]; 12. (DNF) 7CH-Critter Malone[10]; 13. (DNF) 13JR-Jock Thacker[12]

Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature.

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 19P-Robert Ballou[1]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[5]; 3. 05-Brad Loyet[9]; 4. 35-Billy Wease[3]; 5. 78-Nick Wean[6]; 6. 23-Jimmy Light[2]; 7. 0T-Tyler Brehm[8]; 8. 17E-Blake Edwards[10]; 9. 0G-Glenn Styres[4]; 10. 17T-Travis Scott[7]

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 5D-Zach Daum[2]; 2. 56-Levi Jones[5]; 3. 27-Alex Bright[3]; 4. 52C-Isaac Chapple[1]; 5. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[7]; 6. 22Q-David Prickett[4]; 7. 4-Caleb Armstrong[8]; 8. 7K-Robby Parish[6]; 9. 98D-Clint Boyles[9]; 10. 87F-Brian McClelland[10]

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 3N-Jake Neuman[2]; 2. 39B-Spencer Bayston[5]; 3. 21S-Joey Saldana[4]; 4. 88B-Terry Babb[6]; 5. R8-Joey Moughan[3]; 6. 5C-Colten Cottle[9]; 7. 79J-Jacob Patton[10]; 8. 16-Brandon Matus[7]; 9. 14S-Steve Schaberg[1]; 10. 83G-Matt Gilbert[8]

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 8J-Jonathan Beason[1]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[2]; 3. 17S-Dominic Scelzi[5]; 4. 71X-Tyler Courtney[3]; 5. 11C-Chett Gehrke[4]; 6. 80-Josh Hawkins[7]; 7. 76M-Adam Pearson[10]; 8. 1W-Mike Wheeler[9]; 9. 7SS-Wade Seiler[8]; 10. (DNF) 63NZ-Michael Pickens[6]

B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 71K-Kyle Larson[13]; 2. R8-Joey Moughan[2]; 3. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[1]; 4. 5C-Colten Cottle[3]; 5. 4-Caleb Armstrong[6]; 6. 35F-Michael Faccinto[16]; 7. 23-Jimmy Light[5]; 8. 76M-Adam Pearson[7]; 9. 14S-Steve Schaberg[11]; 10. 35M-Matt Sherrell[14]; 11. 98D-Clint Boyles[10]; 12. 7C-Chance Morton[15]; 13. 7K-Robby Parish[4]; 14. 83G-Matt Gilbert[12]; 15. (DNF) 0G-Glenn Styres[9]; 16. (DNF) 1W-Mike Wheeler[8]

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 52C-Isaac Chapple[2]; 2. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[9]; 3. 79J-Jacob Patton[6]; 4. 7SS-Wade Seiler[10]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[13]; 6. 17E-Blake Edwards[7]; 7. 0T-Tyler Brehm[5]; 8. 16-Brandon Matus[8]; 9. 81-Ryan Beechler[16]; 10. 22D-David Stephenson[15]; 11. 17T-Travis Scott[11]; 12. 87F-Brian McClelland[12]; 13. (DNF) 86C-David Camfield[14]; 14. (DNF) 11C-Chett Gehrke[1]; 15. (DNF) 80-Josh Hawkins[4]; 16. (DNF) 22Q-David Prickett[3]

VIROC VII

VIROC VII (20 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell[4]; 2. 63-Bryan Clauson[12]; 3. 21K-Cory Kruseman[5]; 4. 71-Christopher Bell[9]; 5. 71K-Kyle Larson[6]; 6. 39-Kevin Swindell[14]; 7. 97-Rico Abreu[3]; 8. 24-Tracy Hines[10]; 9. 71L-Damion Gardner[7]; 10. 5-Jerry Coons Jr[15]; 11. 47X-Tim McCreadie[11]; 12. (DNF) 6K-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[2]; 13. (DNF) 05-Brad Loyet[13]; 14. (DNF) 1ST-J.J. Yeley[8]; 15. (DNF) 15X-Chad Boat[16]; 16. (DNF) 22-John Heydenreich[1]

A-Feature: Top 3 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature.

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 71K-Kyle Larson[17]; 2. 05-Brad Loyet[4]; 3. 39B-Spencer Bayston[3]; 4. 21S-Joey Saldana[12]; 5. 88B-Terry Babb[7]; 6. 5C-Colten Cottle[23]; 7. 3N-Jake Neuman[6]; 8. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[20]; 9. 5D-Zach Daum[5]; 10. R8-Joey Moughan[19]; 11. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[21]; 12. 27-Alex Bright[14]; 13. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[1]; 14. 56-Levi Jones[2]; 15. 11A-Andrew Felker[13]; 16. 52C-Isaac Chapple[18]; 17. 8J-Jonathan Beason[11]; 18. 7SS-Wade Seiler[24]; 19. 79J-Jacob Patton[22]; 20. (DNF) 35-Billy Wease[15]; 21. (DNF) 78-Nick Wean[9]; 22. (DNF) 17S-Dominic Scelzi[8]; 23. (DNF) 19P-Robert Ballou[10]; 24. (DNF) 71X-Tyler Courtney[16]

Larson Climbs Alphabet to Lock Into Chili Bowl Feature