Chili Bowl Nationals Friday report

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"The Kruser" is Back on Top in Friday Chili Bowl Qualifier TULSA, Okla. (January 15, 2010) -- Cory Kruseman proved that he hasn't forgotten the way to victory lane at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway by winning Friday night's 25-lap...

"The Kruser" is Back on Top in Friday Chili Bowl Qualifier

TULSA, Okla. (January 15, 2010) -- Cory Kruseman proved that he hasn't forgotten the way to victory lane at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway by winning Friday night's 25-lap E3 Spark Plugs Qualifying main event at the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

"The Kruser" held off the challenges of Jerry Coons, Jr., for the win, with Danny Stratton knocking off the rust of an idle year by battling past Chris Windom on the final round for the third and final lock-in position to Saturday night's 50-lap Chili Bowl championship main event.

With a pair of Golden Drillers on the mantle after Chili Bowl triumphs in 2000 and 2004, it marked Kruseman's first Tulsa Expo Raceway win since a Friday preliminary score in 2006. And, after missing the main event cut over the past three years, Kruseman fielded his own entry to earn a ninth career Chili Bowl main event start.

"It's bitter and it's sweet at the same time," Kruseman explained of his departure from Andy Bondio's entry. "It's nice to know that you can put a car together at the caliber of going out and winning races. But, at the same time, me and Andy Bondio and John Martens had ten great years here, we had a lot of fun and we did really well together. It was just time for me to get all my things under one roof."

After earning the pole position for the main event, Kruseman outgunned Coons for the lead at the outset and paced the early rounds.

As the lead duo reeled in the tail of the pack, at least one of the leaders was nearly taken out for the second time in as many nights when

ohnathon Henry, Travis Berryhill, Josh Wise and Kody Swanson tangled in turns one and two.

"I already tucked my head down, I was ready to turn over," Kruseman explained after narrowly avoiding the scrum. "I honestly thought I was gonna hit 'em with the right rear. I saw the crash happening and saw the cars that were involved and then one popped out that I never saw, I don't know how I missed him."

It proved to be a critical point in the race after Kruseman fought off Coons in the final stages to secure the win aboard the Kruseman Motorsports Mopar-powered Lucas Oil/Sander Engineering No. 21k Spike.

"Like I've said for all the years we've been coming here, you can buy the best cars, you can have the best driver, you can have the best crew chief, you can have the best parts, but if you don't have luck then nothing else matters. And that's what showed tonight."

Coons kept pace and may have had his best opportunity to pounce negated when J.J. Yeley came to a stop in turn four with 18 laps in the books just as Kruseman was approaching a gaggle of four cars.

Coons made a couple of challenges over the final laps, but settled for runner-up honors in the Wilke Pak Motorsports Toyota-powered Speedway Motors No. 5 Spike as he locked into his 11th career Chili Bowl championship main event.

"The one big slide job that I tried, I wasn't really gonna try at that point," Coons commented. "Maybe if I would of tried it in the other corner instead of three and four, but I just did what I could and ran second."

Making his first start since last year's Chili Bowl, California native Danny Stratton battled past Chris Windom on the final round to snare the show position aboard Betsy Stuebgen's Esslinger-powered Indy Race Parts No. 13 Spike.

"To be here is kinda surreal, I've never been in this room before," commented the seventh-place Chili Bowl finisher from six years ago. "When I did it in 2004, I came from the 'D' so I had to do some work. Now it'll be a little easier to concentrate on the car a little better."

Windom settled for fourth in the Esslinger-powered Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 17 Bullet, with Chad Boat rounding out the top five in Billy Boat's VDS-Ford Esslinger-powered Impact/Eibach No. 30 Spike.

After winning the first "B" Main, Mike Hess raced from 17th to sixth, with Levi Jones, Bobby Michnowicz, 22nd-starter Don Droud, Jr., and Chili Bowl rookie contender Trevor Kobylarz completing the top ten.

Kobylarz was one of four Chili Bowl rookies among the feature field, with others including Colton Heath, Alex Bowman and Kody Swanson.

Justin Grant, J.J. Yeley, Casey Riggs, Brad Loyet, Stratton, Swanson, Travis Berryhill and Michnowicz topped heat race action for Friday night's 64-car field, with Kruseman, Brett Anderson, Windom and Levi Jones winning the qualifying races.

Hunter Schuerenberg and Joey Saldana won the twin "C" Mains, with Hess and Loyet topping the twin "B" Mains.

George White, Brent Camarillo, Daniel Robinson and Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., all flipped in heat race action, Cole Peard, Donovan Peterson and Austin Smith got upside down in "C" Mains and Nick Knepper turned over in a "B" Main.

Cleared by his doctors at the last minute after an injury sustained in August, J.J. Yeley jumped into the seat of a vacant Keith Kunz Motorsports entry. After a heat race win, Yeley had a tumultuous qualifier, raced in through the "B" Main and then finished 20th after his late stoppage.

With four nights in the books, 256 competitors will battle it out in Saturday's Rockstar Energy Drink slate of championship events that gets under way at 12:00 p.m.

Friday Night's E3 Spark Plugs Qualifier Results from the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals:

Heat Races (Top 40 in passing points to A Qualifiers; Balance to twin C Mains)

Heat 1: 1. #17T Justin Grant, Ione, CA; 2. #21K Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 3. #21 Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK; 4. #57B Johnny Heydenreich, Indianapolis, IN; 5. #7A Dakoda Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 6. #56D Kevin Olson, Machesney Park, IL: 7. #86J Josh Most, Red Oak, IA; 8. #10W George White, Fort Worth, TX

Heat 2: 1. #67 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 2. #9H Russ Harper, Indianapolis, IN; 3. #44 Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE; 4. #55K Nick Knepper, Belleville, IL; 5. #4S Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO; 6. #58 Cole Peard, Quincy, CA; 7. #25Z Chris Zrinski, Forked River, NJ; DNS -- #1D Dennis Rodriguez, Camarillo, CA

Heat 3: 1. #3F Casey Riggs, Shelbyville, IN; 2. #87JR Troy Rutherford, Ojai, CA; 3. #2J Jackie Burke, Houston, TX; 4. #51C Brent Camarillo, Camarillo, CA; 5. #16B David Budres, Beloit, WI; 6. #24T Jasiel Randolph, Tulsa, OK: 7. #25M Derrick Myers, Stonington, IL: 8. #15 Tim Siner, Dupo, IL

Heat 4: 1. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 2. #11K Brett Anderson, Belleville, IL; 3. #49K Bryan Kobylarz, Birdsboro, PA; 4. #51 Mike Hess, Springfield, IL: 5. #17 Chris Windom, Canton, IL: 6. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK; 7. #11XS Donovan Peterson, Brookings, SD; 8. #11R Ryan Cole, Porter, OK

Heat 5: 1. #13 Danny Stratton, Indianapolis, IN; 2. #55 Alex Bowman, Oro Valley, AZ; 3. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 4. #8K Bud Kaeding, San Jose, CA; 5. #88D Rusty Dukes, Fair Grove, MO; 6. #12D Dusty Heistand, Manheim, PA; 7. #7J Clint Todd, Lynchburg, MO; 8. #37B Daniel Robinson, Wayne City, IL

Heat 6: 1. #19R Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA; 2. #6X Dylan Peterson, Sioux Falls, SD; 3. #9J Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA; 4. #7JR J.D. Black, Grain Valley, MO; 5. #87C Rich Camfield, Decatur, IL; 6. #93X Brian Harvey, Durant, OK; 7. #83X Bruce Buckwalter Jr., Royersford, PA; 8. #27D Nick Chivello, Manteca, CA

Heat 7: 1. #35 Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, CA; 2. #007 Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN; 3. #88 Johnathon Henry, Stockton, CA; 4. #2B Levi Jones, Olney, IL; 5. #30 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 6. #33S Austin Smith, Chino Hills, CA; 7. #15M Mat Neely, Robinson, IL; 8. #59 Dex Eaton, Owasso, OK

Heat 8: 1. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, CA; 2. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, CA; 3. #5 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, AZ; 4. #84X Colton Heath, Marysville, WA; 5. #84 Joey Fabozzi, Norco, CA; 6. #9 Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN; 7. #38N Kyle Neal, Ewing, IL; 8. #57K Bubba Altig, Mechanicsburg, IL

C Mains (Top 4 in each transfer to back of corresponding B Main) JC Main 1: 1. #4S Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO; 2. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK; 3. #37B Daniel Robinson, Wayne City, IL; 4. #88D Rusty Dukes, Fair Grove, MO; 5. #57K Bubba Altig, Mechanicsburg, IL; 6. #10W George White, Fort Worth, TX; 7. #25Z Chris Zrinski, Forked River, NJ; 8. #38N Kyle Neal, Ewing, IL; 9. #58 Cole Peard, Quincy, CA; 10. #11XS Donovan Peterson, Brookings, SD; 11. #27D Nick Chivello, Manteca, CA DNS -- #83X Bruce Buckwalter Jr., Royersford, PA

C Main 2: 1. #9 Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN; 2. #86J Josh Most, Red Oak, IA; 3. #15M Mat Neely, Robinson, IL; 4. #59 Dex Eaton, Owasso, OK: 5. #1D Dennis Rodriguez, Camarillo, CA; 6. #25M Derrick Myers, Stonington, IL; 7. #33S Austin Smith, Chino Hills, CA; 8. #7J Clint Todd, Lynchburg, MO; 9. #11R Ryan Cole, Porter, OK; 10. #12D Dusty Heistand, Manheim, PA; 11. #93X Brian Harvey, Durant, OK DNS -- #15 Tim Siner, Dupo, IL

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

A Qualifier 1: 1. #21K Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 2. #30 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 3. #13 Danny Stratton, Indianapolis, IN; 4. #9H Russ Harper, Indianapolis, IN; 5. #35 Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, CA; 6. #51 Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 7. #2J Jackie Burke, Houston, TX; 8. #84 Joey Fabozzi, Norco, CA; 9. #51C Brent Camarillo, CA; 10. #8K Bud Kaeding, San Jose, CA

A Qualifier 2: 1. #11K Brett Anderson, Belleville, IL; 2. #55 Alex Bowman, Oro Valley, AZ; 3. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, CA; 4. #17T Justin Grant, Ione, CA; 5. #87JR Troy Rutherford, Ojai, CA; 6. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 7. #7A Dakoda Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 8. #21 Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK; 9. #7JR J.D. Black, Grain Valley, MO; 10. #57B Johnny Heydenreich, Indianapolis, IN

A Qualifier 3: 1. #17 Chris Windom, Canton, IL; 2. #007 Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN; 3. #49K Bryan Kobylarz, Birdsboro, PA; 4. #6X Dylan Peterson, Sioux Falls, SD; 5. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 6. #67 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 7. #9J Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA; 8. #55K Nick Knepper, Belleville, IL; 9. #16B David Budres, Beloit, WI; 10. #56D Kevin Olson, Machesney Park, IL

A Qualifier 4: 1. #2B Levi Jones, Olney, IL; 2. #5 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, AZ; 3. #19R Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA; 4. #3F Casey Riggs, Shelbyville, IN; 5. #84X Colton Heath, Marysville, WA; 6. #44 Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE; 7. #88 Jonathon Henry, Stockton, CA; 8. #24T Jasiel Randolph, Tulsa, OK; 9. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, CA; 10. #87C Rich Camfield, Decatur, IL

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

B Main 1: 1. #51 Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 2. #84X Colton Heath, Marysville, WA; 3. #17T Justin Grant, Ione, CA; 4. #9J Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA; 5. #7A Dakoda Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 6. #37B Daniel Robinson, Wayne City, IL; 7. #51C Brent Camarillo, Camarillo, CA; 8. #4S Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO; 9. #87C Rich Camfield, Decatur, IL; 10. #87JR Troy Rutherford, Ojai, CA; 11. #24T Jasiel Randolph, Tulsa, OK; 12. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK; 13. #16B David Budres, Beloit, WI; 14. #84 Joey Fabozzi, Norco, CA; 15. #8K Bud Kaeding, San Jose, CA; 16. #88D Rusty Dukes, Fair Grove, MO

B Main 2: 1. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 2. #67 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 3. #44 Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE; 4. #88 Johnathon Henry, Stockton, CA; 5. #9H Russ Harper, Indianapolis, IN; 6. #55K Nick Knepper, Belleville, IL; 7. #21 Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK; 8. #37 Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, CA; 9. #57B Johnny Heydenreich, Indianapolis, IN; 10. #15M Mat Neely, Robinson, IL; 11. #59 Dex Eaton, Owasso, OK; 12. #86J Josh Most, Red Oak, IA; 13. #56D Kevin Olson, Machesney Park, IL; 14. #7JR J.D. Black, Grain Valley, MO; 15. #9 Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN; 16. #2J Jackie Burke, Houston, TX

A Main (25 laps -- Top 3 advance to Saturday Night's Main Event)

1. #21K Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 2. #5 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, AZ; 3. #13 Danny Stratton, Indianapolis, IN; 4. #17 Chris Windom, Canton, IL; 5. #30 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 6. #51 Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 7. #2B Levi Jones, Olney, IL; 8. #49JR Bobby Michnowicz, Torrance, CA; 9. #44 Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE; 10. #49K Trevor Kobylarz, Birdsboro, PA; 11. #3F Casey Riggs, Shelbyville, IN; 12. #9J Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA; 13. #84X Colton Heath, Marysville, WA; 14. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 15. #88 Jonathon Henry, Stockton, CA; 16. #55 Alex Bowman, Oro Valley, AZ; 17. #17T Justin Grant, Ione, CA; 18. #17W Jose Wise, Riverside, CA; 19. #11K Brett Anderson, Belleville, IL; 20. #67 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 21. #007 Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN; 22. #19R Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA; 23. #6X Dylan Peterson, Sioux Falls, SD; 24. #35 Travis Berryhill, American Canyon, CA

-source: lw/cbn

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