The 31st Chili Bowl Nationals still has one more day to go, but it has already been a week to remember for Justin Grant. He started off the week becoming a father to twins and then #ParkedIt in victory lane for the Friday A-Main in Tulsa, OK. On the same night he beat out Christopher Bell for the pole position in the “Pole Shuffle” and will now lead the field to the green Saturday night. Grant is also one of the five drivers flying the flag for Clauson-Marshall Racing, who has joined in honoring the late Bryan Clauson all week.
“Everybody’s pretty excited, it’s amazing to win especially for this family tonight. I’ve had an amazing week. I had twins and I’m just kind of along for the ride on that, my wife did all that and I had to kind of take the glory for it. She was all about it, you got do it, you got to go down there and run for those guys, I can’t thank her enough, she’s great. Tonight these guys were so good, I was just along for the ride again. I feel like I got all the glory this week and there’s so many people who are doing the hard work,” said Grant during Friday’s broadcast on the Racin Boys Network.
While Grant dominated the A-Main by winning from the pole, the action was tight behind them as World of Outlaws Sprint Car regular Daryn Pittman first avoided a Lap 2 calamity which eliminated Ace McCarthy and Holly Shelton when JJ Yeley lost an engine. Pittman then became the first to make the outside line work as he blasted past the almost all the top five to finish runner-up.
“That bottom’s too hard to run, I prefer to be on the top. My car was really good, they did too much work on the bottom and it took too long for the top to come back in. The top five of us were just nose to tail and I knew somebody was going to get up there first and I didn’t want to be too late. I caught who was running fourth and just bailed for it and it worked,” Pittman said on Racin Boys.
Ronnie Gardner looked to be in a good spot early on. He broke away from the field along with Grant, but when Pittman passed him for second, Gardner nearly fell back into the clutches of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Gardner held on and secured his first career start in the 55-Lap main event Saturday.
“I can’t believe this, car was so good all night, and it was just up to me not to make mistakes. This is the coolest thing I’ve done in my racing career, I get to sleep in, drink some beer tonight and party with my homies,” said an ecstatic Gardner on the Racin Boys broadcast.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 39BC-Justin Grant; 2. 21-Daryn Pittman; 3. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 4. 17BC-Ricky Stenhouse Jr; 5. 35F-Michael Faccinto; 6. 71G-Damion Gardner; 7. 3C-D.J. Netto; 8. 11AG-Dave Darland; 9. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 10. 2C-Wayne Johnson; 11. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 12. 73X-Jac Haudenschild; 13. 67-Tanner Thorson; 14. 84X-Chad Boat; 15. 17R-Alex Schutte; 16. 14K-Chris Cochran; 17. 25H-Anton Hernandez; 18. 67K-Holly Shelton; 19. 37-Nick Knepper; 20. 05B-Steve Buckwalter; 21. 28A-Ace McCarthy; 22. 51R-Brody Roa; 23. (DNF) 1ST-J.J. Yeley; 24. (DNF) 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer
Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
Photo Credit: Larry Burnett