Kyle Larson led every lap in the 55 lap feature as he won he won the 35th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl, a race that didn’t begin until after midnight. Polesitter Justin Grant pulled out front of Larson on the initial start, but an accident caused the field to reform in double file. On the restart Larson pulled ahead and was never caught.
Justin Grant hung on for second after Christopher Bell, who had been Larson’s strongest challenger, crashed late in the race. Tanner Thorson finished third after starting 11th.
Daryn Pittman charged to fifth from his 20th spot on the grid.
Tanner Thorson and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. won the two B-Main events, placing them behind the nightly feature winners and runners-up.
Christopher Bell led the final 21 laps in Thursday’s A feature to secure a spot in Saturday’s Chili Bowl final. It will be bell’s seventh straight time in Saturday’s main event. Michael Kofoid also earned a spot in the finale by finishing second to Bell.
Bell, a former winner of the Chili Bowl, is joined by former winners Rico Abreu and Kyle Larson in Saturday’s feature race.
Tonight is the final night of qualifying. Racing begins at 5 pm Central time. Tonight’s action is on FloRacing.com. Tomorrow’s race is on MAVTV beginning at 8:30 pm Eastern Time.
Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu won the feature races on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, respectively. Cannon McIntosh won Monday’s feature. The top 2 in each night’s feature advance automatically to Saturday’s Chili Bowl finale.
Larson won his fourth straight Tuesday qualifying round. Abreu dominated his event.
Tyler Courtney was second on Monday night. Thomas Meserault was runner-up to Larson Tuesday and Alex bright came home behind Abreu last night.
Christopher Bell won Tuesday night’s VIROC Race of Champions.
Tonight 64 cars will vie for a spot in the feature race in which two more drivers will lock in a spot in Saturday’s final. Top cointenders racing tonight are Christopher Bell, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. Logan Seavey, and Zeb Wise.
Open wheel racing season begins tonight with the first evening of the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl presented by General Tire in Tulsa. I am glad to see that the indoor race will proceed with limitations necessitated by the pandemic. The midget event is the most prestigious of the year. The organizers have worked closely with the local board of health, which has warned the event that it could be shut down if protocols aren’t followed.
Attendance each night is limited to 25% of normal capacity. Limited pit passes are available, which surprises me. I’m not sure I would want fins in the pits right now. Masks must be worn at all times and fans who do not comply will be asked to leave, with an escort if necessary. Everyone entering receives a temperature screening. Those who have a reading above the 100.4 degree threshold will have their temperature taken with a different thermometer.
Monday’s schedule ( All Times Central)
Monday, January 11, 2021
Building/Pit Pass Booth Open………………8:00 am Building Secured………………………………….8:00 am Practice………………………………………. 9:00 am Draw For Lineups…………………………………2:00 pm Driver’s Meeting……………………………………3:00 pm Hot Laps………………………..……………..5:00 pm Races……….……….….….…………..…….. 6:00 pm
Tuesday night features the Vacuworx invitational Race of Champions in which former winners of the event, and other top finishers from past years participate in a 25 lap feature race.
The entrants in the Race of Champions:
Aaron Reutzel – All-Star Circuit of Champions Champion Brad Sweet – World of Outlaws Champion Brady Bacon – USAC Sprint Cars Champion Cannon McIntosh – 2020 Monday Night Winner Chad Boat – 2018 VIROC Winner Chris Windom – USAC Midget Champion Christopher Bell – 2017-2019 Champion Daryn Pittman – 2017 Runner-up Jake Neuman – POWRi Midgets Champion Justin Grant – 2019 Third Place Kyle Larson – 2020 Champion Rico Abreu – 2016 Champion Sam Hafertepe, Jr. – American Sprint Car Series Champion Spencer Bayston – 2018 Runner-up Tanner Thorson – 2019 VIROC Winner Zach Daum – 2016 Third Place
The full Chili Bowl entry list can be found at this link:
James Hinchcliffe has the funding to run the Indianapolis 500 and possibly afew more races. Thanks to Genesys, a technology firm providing cloud services, he now has the money to take to a team. But which team? I assume he would want one of the Honda teams. Andretti is full as they already have seven cars for Indianapolis. The other Honda teams, Ganassi, Coyne, and Rahal, are possibilities. I would think either Coyne or Rahal would be more likely than Ganassi.
The news comes just two months after Hinchcliffe was told by Arrow McLaren SP that he would not be driving for them. The team signed Pato O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew and for the 2020 season. Hinchcliffe still has a contract with the team and will do personal appearances on their behalf. My understanding is he can still drive for another team.
I have to give Hinchcliffe credit for working hard to secure the money needed for the 500 in just two months. Some drivers work on this aspect of racing all year and come up short. Hinchcliffe qualified 32nd and finished 11th in 2019. He failed to qualify in 2018. The sponsors will announce further details at a later date.
Hinchcliffe is one of the most popular drivers in the NTT Indycar Series. It’s great knowing he will be at IMS during May.
Indycar at the Chili Bowl
Indycar has its best representation at the Chili Bowl in several years. Santino Ferrucci, James Davison, and Conor Daly are entered in the week long midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daly drives for the first time tonight.
Ferrucci did well in his first ever midget event. He started 11th and finished fifth, just one spot short of transferring to that evening’s feature round. Davison was 10th in his debut last night.
The Chili Bowl finals are on Saturday night from 8:30-11:30 Eastern Time on MavTV.