Chili Bowl Friday report

Darland Does it in Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Chili Bowl Qualifier TULSA, Okla. (January 12, 2007) -- Dave Darland gunned into the lead at the outset and led all 25 laps to win Friday night's Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifying feature event...

Darland Does it in Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Chili Bowl Qualifier

TULSA, Okla. (January 12, 2007) -- Dave Darland gunned into the lead at the outset and led all 25 laps to win Friday night's Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifying feature event at Tulsa Expo Raceway's 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

Darland was chased to the stripe by two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart, with Mat Neely taking the show position. Tuesday night's Warren Cat Pre-Qualifying feature winner, Gary "Bubba" Altig, drove to a fourth place finish and the final lock in-position to Saturday night's 50-lap Championship feature.

Friday's top four join the top four from Wednesday's Creek Nation Casino Qualifier (Davey Ray, Brad Kuhn, Casey Shuman and Donnie Ray Crawford) and the top four from Thursday's Bass Pro Shops Qualifier (Shane Cottle, Justin Allgaier, J.J. Yeley and Jason Leffler).

Darland made what was already a good night even better by drawing the pole position for Saturday night's O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals 50-lap championship main event. Darland will be flanked on the front row by Thursday's Bass Pro Shops Qualifying Night winner Shane Cottle.

"This is not just another race, that's for sure," Darland commented of a potential Chili Bowl win on Saturday night. "But once you get out there on the track, you've just got to try to calm yourself. It's definitely bigger than just a normal race and starting on the pole, that always makes me a little nervous but I wouldn't trade him (Stewart) for where he's starting. That's where I want to start, we are where we wanna be so hopefully we can pull it off."

While Darland earned the front row outside through heat and qualifying race action, it was Altig making a name for himself by first making a mid-race pass of Jason Martin to win the sixth heat and then charging from sixth to make a dramatic last corner move around Terry McCarl in the third qualifying race to earn the pole position.

While Altig was now four-for-four (including a heat and feature win on Tuesday) in on-track Chili Bowl competition, Darland proved to be too stout in the Wilke-Pak RAJO Racing Stanton Mopar No. 5 Spike.

Darland shot into the lead at the drop of the green flag and weathered a number of caution flags over the distance to secure the win.

"I knew if I hit my lines just right, and I didn't hit it real good those last three or four laps, but I also knew that if I didn't really just screw it up totally there wasn't really much anywhere else either so as long as I didn't hit the wall down the straightaways was my main concern," Darland commented afterward. "Me and Tony (Stewart) talked about it that running first or second really doesn't matter. It does matter now that you think about it since the winners all start up front and second place starts behind that, so I'm glad I didn't think about that earlier."

Behind him, positions swapped hands several times, with Neely first racing past Altig for the runner-up slot on the second circuit. In those opening two laps, Stewart quickly advanced from his sixth starting position to fourth.

Stewart moved in on Altig several times and successfully took over third only to have the moves negated by caution flags. Stewart was finally able to make the move stick on the 13th round, then wasted little time disposing of Neely for second by charging into the position a lap later.

Stewart tried to mount a challenge on Darland but was unable to make a serious bid, settling for second in the Tony Stewart Motorsports Chevrolet/Bass Pro No. 20 Spike.Making a rare Midget start, Stewart commented that, "It took both those practice sessions that we got on Tuesday to get the bugs out and even a little bit today in the practice, it took a couple of laps to really start getting comfortable again.

"I feel like I'm a little bit behind the eight ball this year because of what happened," he explained of last year's Chili Bowl run that was cut short due to a Qualifying night flip. "With the way the second heat and the main turned out, I think we're right on par with where we need to be as far as confidence and feeling like we're back in the groove again."

Neely and Altig diced for the third position over the final rounds, with Neely taking the show position aboard Larry Gardner's Frampton Chevy-powered CB Fabricating No. 35 Stealth.

"If he (Altig) wouldn't have been in fourth, I would have got crashed," Neely explained. "We just got real free there on the last ten laps, we tried a new tire and it just didn't really work like we thought but I'm happy to get third."

Solidly establishing himself as the Cinderella story of the Chili Bowl Nationals, Altig nailed down the fourth and final lock-in to Saturday night's championship finale aboard the family-owned Fontana-powered Bullet Leasing No. 67a Stealth.

"It's a dream, I've watched these guys my whole life and they're where I wanna be sometime," Altig stated. "You can't ask for much more, these guys are great and I'm just glad to be a part of this deal."

Making his Midget racing debut, Sprint Car shoe Jason Martin made a bid for a top four position but settled for fifth, with 14th-starter Wayne Johnson a close sixth. Two-time Chili Bowl champion Dan Boorse advanced from 15th and then rebounded from a cone violation to snare seventh, with Tim Siner, Bobby East and Terry McCarl completing the top ten.

Heat races for Friday night's 70-car Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifying field were won by P.J. Jones, Josh Ford, Stewart, Boorse, Neely, Altig, Travis Berryhill, Doug Lippincott and Darland.

Bill Balog, Matt Mitchell, Cory Kruseman and Daniel Adler were victorious in Last Chance Race action, with Ronnie Burke, Jr., Martin, Altig and Ford topping the Qualifying Races.

Bobby Michnowicz and Kruseman split victory honors in the Twin "B" Mains. Kruseman, a two-time Chili Bowl champ, had advanced from 18th to seventh when he was collected in a lap 17 tangle that also included fifth-running Gary Taylor and sixth-runner Burke.

A record total of 267 different drivers have competed over the opening four nights of the 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. All will be in action during Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Championship Saturday, which kicks off with Twin "K" Mains at 1:30 p.m.

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Friday Night's 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifier Results:

***

Heat Races (8 Laps - Top 40 in passing points to four A Qualifiers; Balance to four Last Chance races)

Heat 1: 1. #97 P.J. Jones, Torrance, Calif.; 2. #22AZ Mike Welker, Phoenix, Ariz.; 3. #35P Scott Pierovich, Alamo, Calif.; 4. #43C Rich Camfield, Decatur, Ill.; 5. #8C Bill Balog, Lafayette, Ind.; 6. #20R Josh Richards, Shinnston, N.Y.; 7. #27A Ralph Cortez, Sacramento, Calif.; 8. #17K Kevin Morris, Ripon, Calif.

Heat 2: 1. #73 Josh Ford, Oxnard, Calif.; 2. #91AZ A.J. Fike, Galesburg, Ill.; 3. #14A A.J. Ernesto, Reading, Pa.; 4. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, Mo.; 5. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calif.; 6. #50 Daniel Adler, East Carondolet, Ill.; 7. #31L Lee Grosz, Harwood, N.D.; 8. #8K Zach Chappell, Talala, Okla.

Heat 3: 1. #20 Tony Stewart, Columbus, Ind.; 2. #87 Alan Ballard, Bakersfield, Calif.; 3. #35M Matt Sherrell, Tulsa, Okla.; 4. #12 Trey Robb, Newcastle, Okla.; 5. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, Calif.; 6. #3 Tracy Miller, Reading, Pa.; 7. #0K Ron Kuhn, Lee's Summit, Mo.; 8. #11X Steve Newman, Lakewood, Colo.

Heat 4: 1. #7D Dan Boorse, Milwaukee, Wis.; 2. #4B Ronnie Burke Jr., League City, Texas; 3. #2A Mark Bush, Cumming, Ga.; 4. #47S Stan Yockey, Fresno, Calif.; 5. #15B Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa; 6. #52 Charles Davis Jr., Buckeye, Ariz.; 7. #18A Floyd Alvis, San Carlos, Calif.; 8. #2B Brady Short, Bedford, Ind.

Heat 5: 1. #35 Mat Neely, Robinson, Ill.; 2. #19T Michael Trimble, Gilroy, Calif.; 3. #55J Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich.; 4. #4X Billy Alley, Lincoln, Neb.; 5. #45X Jeff Perry, Buckeye, Ariz.; 6. #4E Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind.; 7. #11S C.J. Sarna, Palm Desert, Calif.; 8. #21K Ryan Kaplan, Chico, Calif.

Heat 6: 1. #67A Gary Altig, Mechanicsburg, Ill.; 2. #36 Jason Martin, Liberal, Kan.; 3. #17D Doug Rose, Temple, Pa.; 4. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, Neb.; 5. #11K Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, Wash.; 6. #D33 Jeff Davis, Pittsburg, Ill.; 7. #81 Shane Carson, Yukon, Okla.; 8. #4P Tony Beaber, Gibsonburg, Ohio

Heat 7: 1. #11Z Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, Calif.; 2. #36P Brad Paris, Brownsburg, Ind.; 3. #12X Gary Taylor, Wheat Ridge, Colo.; 4. #52R Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Olive Branch, Miss.; 5. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 6. #32S John Sarale, Stockton, Calif.; 7. #17P Billy Boat, Phoenix, Ariz.; 8. #88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.

Heat 8: 1. #4L Doug Lippincott, Minden, Nev.; 2. #F5 Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 3. #38 Mike Spencer, Temecula, Calif.; 4. #07X Audra Sasselli, Visalia, Calif.; 5. #12J Jeff Henry, Glendale, Ariz.; 6. #14JR Matt Streeter, Lathrop, Calif.; 7. 385 Shane Hollingsworth, Indianapolis, Ind.

Heat 9: 1. #5 Dave Darland, Lincoln, Ind.; 2. #29W Cole Whitt, Alpine, Calif.; 3. #44 Terry McCarl, Altoona, Iowa; 4. #73S Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 5. #66X A.J. Foyt IV, Houston, Texas; 6. #8R Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, Calif.; 7. #15 Tim Siner, Waterloo, Ill.

***

Last Chance Races (Top 2 in each transfer to back of corresponding A Qualifier)

Last Chance 1: 1. #8C Bill Balog, Lafayette, Ind.; 2. #14JR Matt Streeter, Lathrop, Calif.; 3. #D33 Jeff Davis, Pittsburg, Ill.; 4. #17P Billy Boat, Phoenix, Ariz.; 5. #4P Tony Beaber, Gibsonburg, Ohio; 6. #8K Zach Chappell, Talala, Okla.; 7. #45X Jeff Perry, Buckeye, Ariz.; 8. #27A Ralph Cortez, Sacramento, Calif.

Last Chance 2: 1. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 2. #85 Shane Hollingsworth, Indianapolis, Ind.; 3. #8R Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, Calif.; 4. #20R Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.V.; 5. #88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.; 6. #31L Lee Grosz, Harwood, N.D.; 7. #3 Tracy Miller, Reading, Pa.; 8. #11X Steve Newman, Lakewood, Colo.

Last Chance 3: 1. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calif.; 2. #15 Tim Siner, Waterloo, Ill.; 3. #32S John Sarale, Stockton, Calif.; 4. #2B Brady Short, Bedford, Ind.; 5. 52 Charles Davis Jr., Buckeye, Ariz.; 6. #18A Floyd Alvis, San Carlos, Calif.; 7. #0K Ron Kuhn, Lee's Summit, Mo.

Last Chance 4: 1. #50 Daniel Adler, East Carondolet, Ill.; 2. #4E Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind.; 3. #66X A.J. Foyt IV, Houston, Texas; 4. #21K Ryan Kaplan, Chico, Calif.; 5. #11S C.J. Sarna, Palm Desert, Calif.; 6. #17K Kevin Morris, Ripon, Calif.; 7. #81 Shane Carson, Yukon, Okla.

***

A Qualifiers (Top 16 in combined passing points to A Main; Balance to twin B Mains)

A Qualifier 1: 1. #4B Ronnie Burke Jr., League City, Texas; 2. #12X Gary Taylor, Wheat Ridge, Colo.; 3. #35 Mat Neely, Robinson, Ill.; 4. #F5 Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 5. #73S Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 6. #43C Rich Camfield, Decatur, Ill.; 7. #14JR Matt Streeter, Lathrop, Calif.; 8. #12 Trey Robb, Newcastle, Okla.; 9. #07X Audra Sasselli, Visalia, Calif.; 10. #8C Bill Balog, Lafayette, Ind.; 11. #11Z Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, Calif.; 12. #17D Doug Rose, Temple, Pa.

A Qualifier 2: 1. #36 Jason Martin, Liberal, Kan.; 2. #5 Dave Darland, Lincoln, Ind.; 3. #85 Shane Hollingsworth, Indianapolis, Ind.; 4. #20 Tony Stewart, Columbus, Ind.; 5. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, Calif.; 6. #4L Doug Lippincott, Reno, Nev.; 7. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 8. #2A Mark Bush, Cumming, Ga.; 9. #36P Brad Paris, Brownsburg, Ind.; 10. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, Neb.; 11. #97 P.J. Jones, Torrance, Calif.; 12. 314A A.J. Ernesto, Reading, Pa.

A Qualifier 3: 1. #67A Gary Altig, Mechanicsburg, Ill.; 2. #44 Terry McCarl, Altoona, Iowa; 3. #15 Tim Siner, Waterloo, Ill.; 4. #91AZ A.J. Fike, Galesburg, Ill.; 5. #29W Cole Whitt, Alpine, Calif.; 6. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calif.; 7. #22AZ Mike Welker, Phoenix, Ariz.; 8. #35M Matt Sherrell, Tulsa, Okla.; 9. #15B Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa; 10. #47S Stan Yockey, Fresno, Calif.; 11. #35P Scott Pierovich, Alamo, Calif.; 12. #11K Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, Wash.

A Qualifier 4: 1. #73 Josh Ford, Oxnard, Calif.; 2. #50 Daniel Adler, East Carondolet, Ill.; 3. #38 Mike Spencer, Temecula, Calif.; 4. #52R Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Olive Branch, Miss.; 5. #7D Dan Boorse, Milwaukee, Wis.; 6. #4E Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind.; 7. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, Mo.; 8. #12J Jeff Henry, Glendale, Ariz.; 9. #55J Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich.; 10. #87 Alan Ballard, Bakersfield, Calif.; 11. #4X Billy Alley, Lincoln, Neb.; 12. #19T Michael Trimble, Gilroy, Calif.

***

B Mains (Top 4 advance in each to A Main)

B Main 1: 1. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, Calif.; 2. #52R Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Olive Branch, Miss.; 3. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 4. #4E Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind.; 5. #11Z Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, Calif.; 6. #55J Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich.; 7. #35P Scott Pierovich, Alamo, Calif.; 8. #14A A.J. Ernesto, Reading, Pa.; 9. #19T Michael Trimble, Gilroy, Calif.; 10. #2A Mark Bush, Cumming, Ga.; 11. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, Neb.; 12. #29W Cole Whitt, Alpine, Calif.; 13. #07X Audra Sasselli, Visalia, Calif.; 14. #12J Jeff Henry, Glendale, Ariz. DNS - #43C Rich Camfield, Decatur, Ill.; #17D Doug Rose, Temple, Pa.

B Main 2: 1. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calif.; 2. #73S Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 3. #22AZ Mike Welker, Phoenix, Ariz.; 4. #14JR Matt Streeter, Lathrop, Calif.; 5. #12 Trey Robb, Newcastle, Okla.; 6. #4L Doug Lippincott, Reno, Nev.; 7. #36P Brad Paris, Brownsburg, Ind.; 8. #35M Matt Sherrell, Tulsa, Okla.; 9. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, Mo.; 10. #4X Billy Alley, Lincoln, Neb.; 11. #47S Stan Yockey, Fresno, Calif.; 12. #87 Alan Ballard, Bakersfield, Calif.; 13. #97 P.J. Jones, Torrance, Calif.; 14. #8C Bill Balog, Lafayette, Ind.; 15. #11K Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, Wash.; 16. #15B Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

***

Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifying "A" Main (25 laps - Top 4 Advance to Saturday Night's Main Event)

1. #5 Dave Darland, Lincoln, Ind.; 2. #20 Tony Stewart, Columbus, Ind.; 3. #35 Mat Neely, Robinson, Ill.; 4. #67A Gary Altig, Mechanicsburg, Ill.; 5. #36 Jason Martin, Liberal, Kan.; 6. #F5 Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 7. #7D Dan Boorse, Milwaukee, Wis.; 8. #15 Tim Siner, Waterloo, Ill.; 9. #4E Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind.; 10. #44 Terry McCarl, Altoona, Iowa; 11. #38 Mike Spencer, Temecula, Calif.; 12. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 13. #52R Ricky Stenhouse, Olive Branch, Miss.; 14. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calf.; 15. #73 Josh Ford, Ventura, Calif.; 16. #91AZ A.J. Fike, Galesburg, Ill.; 17. #50 Daniel Adler, East Carondolet, Ill.; 18. #22AZ Mike Welker, Phoenix, Ariz.; 19. #4B Ronnie Burke Jr., League City, Texas; 20. #85 Shane Hollingsworth, Indianapolis, Ind.; 21. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, Calif.; 22. #14JR Matt Streeter, Lathrop, Calif.; 23. #12X Gary Taylor, Wheat Ridge, Colo.; 24. #73S Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, Okla.

-credit: lw

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Series Midget
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt IV , Brian Birkhofer , Kasey Kahne , Brad Kuhn , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , P.J. Jones , Cory Kruseman , Bobby East , A.J. Fike , Davey Ray , Brad Paris , Charles Davis Jr. , Tim Siner , Shane Cottle , Steve Newman , Justin Allgaier , Shane Hollingsworth , Ryan Kaplan , Tracy Miller , Matt Mitchell , Josh Ford , Brady Short , Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , Scott Pierovich , Gary Altig , Randi Pankratz , Cole Whitt , Brad Loyet , Josh Richards , Jonathan Beason , Mike Spencer , Daniel Adler , Rich Camfield , Floyd Alvis , Travis Berryhill , Matt Sherrell , Wayne Johnson , Bobby Michnowicz , Matt Streeter , Casey Shuman , Donnie Ray Crawford , Gary Taylor