J.J. Yeley

Chili Bowl Nationals

Kyle Larson highlights NASCAR drivers entered into Chili Bowl Nationals

Leave a comment

The first major auto racing event of 2018 is the 32nd annual Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The midget car event will be held Jan. 9-13 at the River Spirit Expo Center and feature multiple NASCAR drivers, including Kyle Larson.

Larson will be joined by Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., defending Chili Bowl and Truck Series champion Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe and Justin Allgaier.

The entry list for the five-night event has been released and also the roster for all four nights of qualifying races.

The week culminates with the 55-lap championship event on Jan. 13.

Here’s when each NASCAR driver and other notable drivers will compete in a qualifying race.

Tuesday, Jan. 9

Kyle Larson

Chase Briscoe (former Brad Keselowski Racing driver)

Justin Allgaier (JR Motorsports driver in Xfinity Series)

Brad Sweet (competes for Kasey Kahne Racing)

Wednesday, Jan. 10

Rico Abreu (former Camping World Truck Series driver, two-time Chili Bowl winner)

Sammy Swindell (five-time Chili Bowl winner)

Donny Schatz (2017 World of Outlaws champion, competes for Tony Stewart Racing)

Thursday, Jan. 11

Christopher Bell

C.J. Leary (competing in entry owned by Alex Bowman)

Friday, Jan. 12

Kasey Kahne

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

J.J. Yeley

Daryn Pittman (competes for Kasey Kahne Racing)

 and on Facebook

Two multi-car wrecks involving 30 cars bring out red flags early in Xfinity race at Daytona

Getty Images
3 Comments

Saturday’s Xfinity Series season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 has been red-flagged twice in less than the first 30 laps.

The first red flag was the result of a major wreck that involved 18 cars. The pack was on Lap 23 of the scheduled 120-lap event when several drivers made contact, setting off a chain reaction crash.

Among those involved in the wreck were Cole Custer, Garrett Smithley, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Ray Black Jr., Jeff Green, William Byron, Blake Koch, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Reed, Brad Keselowski, Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Sieg, Tyler Reddick, Anthony Kumpen, Benny Gordon, Scott Lagasse Jr., Jeremy Clements, Clint King and Aric Almirola.

The first red flag lasted 18 minutes, 20 seconds.

The race went back to green flag racing on Lap 28 when yet another multi-car wreck – this time 12 cars – took place one lap later on the back straightaway, bringing out the red flag once again.

The second wreck occurred one lap before the scheduled end of the first of two stages in the race.

Drivers involved in the second wreck included Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones, Chris Cockrum, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Blake Koch and Ryan Reed.

The second red flag lasted 27 minutes, 51 seconds.

When the racing resumed following the second wreck, of the 40 cars that began the race, only Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, Kasey Kahne, Mario Gosselin and David Starr had not been involved in wrecks.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Lifelong dream comes true: Christopher Bell wins Chili Bowl in native Oklahoma

(Photo courtesy ChiliBowl.com)
Leave a comment

As they might say in Oklahoma, “That Sooner kid done good.”

Less than a month after turning 22 years old, Norman, Oklahoma native Christopher Bell earned the biggest victory of his young racing career, capturing the 31st Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Saturday night at the indoor Tulsa Expo Raceway.

It has been Bell’s lifelong dream to win the Chili Bowl in his home state, and he did so Saturday in commanding fashion.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Bell – who drives fulltime in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (finished third in 2016) for Kyle Busch Motorsports – stayed near the front of the field for much of the 55 laps to capture the prestigious Golden Driller trophy.

“I’m speechless right now,” Bell told ChiliBowl.com. “I’ve been coming to this building for so long trying to win one of these things, and I thought I was really close to one at the Shootout a couple weeks ago, but we had a lot of bad luck but I’ll trade all that bad luck in for this Driller right here. This means the world to me.”

Bell becomes the second Oklahoma native to win the Chili Bowl in its 31-year existence. Andy Hillenburg was the first, in 1994.

In an ironic twist, Hillenburg won the first Chili Bowl title for Keith Kunz Motorsports. Since then, KKM has recorded five additional Chili Bowl wins, with Bell being the sixth and most recent to do so.

“You know, I’ve been in this position before,” Bell said. “I think this is the third time I’ve started on the front row and I would run into trouble because I was pushing too hard.

“Every time I’ve come here, it’s been attack, attack, attack and in this 55 lap race, you don’t need to do that so I just ran as hard as I needed too.”

This was Bell’s fourth appearance in the A-Feature to decide the Chili Bowl’s championship.

Pole sitter Justin Grant led the first 25 laps in the Clauson-Marshal No. 39BC (in memory of 2014 Chili Bowl champion, the late Bryan Clauson).

But from that point on, it was Bell’s race.

Fellow Sooner Daryn Pittman, from Owasso, Oklahoma, finished second. Pittman experienced engine problems late in the race that kept him from making a late surge and challenge of Bell. Still, it was Pittman’s first podium finish in seven Chili Bowl starts.

“We don’t have a spare engine, so we weren’t able to change it,” Pittman told ChiliBowl.com. “… It lasted for 54 and three-quarter laps.”

Grant finished third in his second A-Feature appearance.

“It’s just a thrill to be driving for Clauson-Marshall Racing,” Grant told ChiliBowl.com. “Obviously, I wanted to win for him (Bryan Clauson) really bad, but I’m on the podium at Chili Bowl so I should be happy about that.”

Rounding out the top-10 were Tanner Thorson (fourth), Jake Swanson (fifth), Tyler Courtney (sixth), Zach Daum (seventh), Jerry Coons Jr. (eighth), Ronnie Gardner (ninth) and Damion Gardner (10th).

Competing in his first Chili Bowl, veteran sprint car driver Donny Schatz, earned 2017 Rookie of the Year honors, finishing seventh in the B-Feature.

Rico Abreu, who won the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Chili Bowl, finished 11th. Abreu announced last week he would not be returning to NASCAR in 2017.

Although there were six NASCAR drivers entered in the record 365-driver overall Chili Bowl field, only two made the championship race: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished 16th, and K&N Pro Series driver Chase Briscoe, who finished 22nd (DNF).

Other NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson, J.J. Yeley and Justin Allgaier fell short in their efforts to reach the main event.

The 32nd Chili Bowl will be held January 9-13, 2018, again at the River Spirit Expo Center (also known as Tulsa Expo Raceway).

RESULTS:

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Lucas Oil/General Tire Championship Night

Event Count: 365 (New Record)

A-FEATURE (car number, driver name, starting position):

A Feature (55 Laps): 1. 71W-Christopher Bell[2]; 2. 21-Daryn Pittman[8]; 3. 39BC-Justin Grant[1]; 4. 67-Tanner Thorson[20]; 5. 68W-Jake Swanson[5]; 6. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[3]; 7. 5D-Zach Daum[11]; 8. 5-Jerry Coons Jr.[15]; 9. 68-Ronnie Gardner[9]; 10. 71G-Damion Gardner[16]; 11. 97-Rico Abreu[25]; 12. 31-Travis Berryhill[4]; 13. 99W-Larry Wight[7]; 14. 25C-C.J. Leary[10]; 15. 17W-Shane Golobic[13]; 16. 17BC-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.[14]; 17. 91T-Tyler Thomas[18]; 18. 35F-Michael Faccinto[23]; 19. 51X-Colby Copeland[12]; 20. (DNF) 8J-Jonathan Beason[19]; 21. (DNF) 47-Danny Stratton[6]; 22. (DNF) 5CB-Chase Briscoe[22]; 23. (DNF) 1R-Thomas Meseraull[21]; 24. (DNF) 5X-Justin Peck[24]; 25. (DNF) 05T-Gary Taylor[17].

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Multiple NASCAR drivers entered into 31st Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

The first major racing event of 2017 takes place on dirt rather than asphalt.

Hundreds of drivers will gather in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from Jan. 8 – 14 for the 31st annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, a premier dirt racing event.

As of Dec. 26, 358 drivers are entered into the seven-night event at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.

Among them are multiple NASCAR drivers.

Leading the way is two-time defending Chili Bowl champion Rico Abreu, who drives for ThorSport Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Also taking part are Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Xfinity Series regulars Justin Allgaier and J.J. Yeley are also entered, along with Truck Series regular Christopher Bell. Allgaier and Bell both made their series’ championship races in 2016.

The practice for the Chili Bowl will be held the night of Jan. 9, with the first heat races held Jan. 10. The main races are scheduled for Jan. 14.

Wives, girlfriends of NASCAR drivers ready for 5th Better Half Dash

(Photo: Charlotte Motor Speedway/Harold Hinson Photography)
10 Comments

The wives and girlfriends of NASCAR drivers can be just as competitive and aggressive behind the wheel as their husbands and boyfriends.

And you better believe that they take the Better Half Dash as seriously as their counterparts take every NASCAR race.

The fifth edition of the Better Half Dash will take place next Thursday, Oct. 8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, just before their better halves attempt to qualify for the Sprint Cup pole that same evening.

Nearly a dozen ladies will put the pedal to the metal, piloting U.S. Legend Cars International Bandoleros along CMS’ quarter-mile frontstretch oval.

While the event is for a worthy cause, raising money for such charities as Motor Racing Outreach and Speedway Children’s Charities, the lady drivers will take their task very seriously.

The winning driver will earn $10,000 for charity: $5,000 for her favorite charity, as well as $2,500 each for Speedway Children’s Charities and Motor Racing Outreach.

In a fierce battle, last year’s Dash winner was Kristen Yeley (photo above), wife of driver J.J. Yeley.

“I am proud to be a part of something that recognizes the backbone of NASCAR women,” Yeley said in a media release. “As a BHD veteran and 2014 champion, I look to defend my title and support my charities: MRO and Beds for Kids.”

Husbands and boyfriends will not only be cheering, they’ll also serve as crew chiefs and spotters for their ladies.

Here’s this year’s entry list:

* Jordan Fish, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin

* Tandra Greenfield, wife of NASCAR driver Clay Greenfield

* Shannon Koch, wife of NASCAR driver Blake Koch

* Tatiana Papis, wife of NASCAR driver Max Papis

* Jenna Robinson, wife of NASCAR pit crew member Clay Robinson

* Whitney Scott, wife of NASCAR driver Brian Scott

* Melanie Self, representing Motor Racing Outreach

* Ashley Stremme, wife of NASCAR driver David Stremme

* Katelyn Sweet, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kyle Larson

* Wendy Venturini, NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports 1 & PRN

* Kristen Yeley, wife of NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley

Qualifying takes place Monday, Oct. 5, at CMS. Fans can help determine the polesitter by visiting www.go2mro.com/betterhalfdash and donating to their favorite driver. The driver with the most donations will lead the field to the green flag.

For more information, go to www.charlottemotorspeedway.comwww.go2mro.com/betterhalfdash or follow #BetterHalfDash on Twitter.

Follow @JerryBonkowski