Chili Bowl Nationals Tuesday report

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Clauson Top Warren CAT Qualifier in Chili Bowl Opener!

Sammy Swindell Wins Race of Champions...

TULSA, Okla. (January 11, 2011) -- Only 21 years old, Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, IN, has already topped nearly every major Midget racing event. About the only trophy missing from his mantel is a Golden Driller from the Chili Bowl Nationals.

Clauson put himself in prime contention to claim one of those coveted Golden Drillers by racing to victory lane in Tuesday night's 25-lap Warren CAT Qualifying main event to kick off the 25th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway.

"It's awesome, this place has kind of had my number over the six or seven years I've been here," Clauson explained. "It's frustrating to go about anywhere else in the country and feel like we're the dominant car and then come here and struggle like we've done in the past."

There were no struggles on Tuesday night, as after posting heat and qualifying race wins Clauson swept past New Zealand's Michael Pickens for second on the fourth round of the feature event and led the rest of the way aboard the Corey Tucker Racing/Mike Curb Esslinger-powered NOS Energy Drink/Curb Records No. 39c Spike to lock into his second career Chili Bowl championship finale after a fourth-place run in 2008.

"This year we were finally able to stay out of trouble and not make any mistakes," Clauson stated. "Really, what it comes down to, I did my job this year."

Pickens held the runner-up slot the rest of the way to secure a spot in the Saturday finale for the third time in as many Chili Bowl efforts, with Indiana Sprint Car ace Jon Stanbrough fending off some bids for the third and final lock-in position to what will be his sixth Saturday finale.

While Clauson took top honors over the night's 65-car field, it was Sammy Swindell taking his second Vacuworx International Race of Champions victory in three ties with a wire-to-wire run over Dave Darland Jason Leffler.

The first effort from the five-car Loyet Motorsports stable, Pickens earned the pole position for the feature by accumulating the most points and heat race and qualifying race action with Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Jonathan Beason alongside on the front row.

After the initial start was waved off for an Eric Todd miscue, Pickens gunned into the lead with fourth-starter Clauson quickly moving into second on the opening circuit.

With Pickens working uncharacteristically low on the 0x00bc-mile clay oval, Clauson swept by in the middle of turns one and two and raced into the lead down the backstretch for ducking back down low in three and four on the fourth lap.

With Pickens and Stanbrough chasing, Clauson worked both top and bottom as traffic came into play after a dozen circuits. Clauson found open track soon after though when the caution flew for Kevin Bayer's spun mount in turn three with 14 laps in the books, negating a Brad Kuhn pass of Stanbrough for third.

Clauson went virtually unchallenged the remaining distance, not letting one last quick yellow for Chad Boat's stalled mount in turn four just four laps shy of the checkered flag deter his pace.

Clauson took the checkered flag with a 1.083-second advantage over Pickens, who settled for runner-up honors in the Loyet Motorsports Esslinger-powered Loyet Landscape Maintenance/Meramec Heights Collision No. 05p Spike.

Pickens explained of his first outing in one of the familiar No. 05 Midgets, "To begin with, you're uncomfortable because it's unfamiliar, but you just have to get a few laps under your belt. We got that in hot laps and I was more comfortable."

Kuhn and then Beason both pressured for that critical third position, but Stanbrough proved to be up to the task in Spike-powered F&F Mechanical/DMS No. 51x Spike wrenched by Rusty Kunz.

"I don't run the Midgets very often at all throughout the year," Stanbrough explained. "So to come here and be with a guy like Kunz that knows what he's doing obviously gives me a lot of confidence. It showed tonight, we're in the show."

Beason just missed out on locking into his first Chili Bowl finale by finishing fourth in the BA Lawn & Garden No. 36, with Kuhn rounding out the top five in the Rotondo Weirich No. 17b.

Caleb Armstrong crossed the stripe sixth, with 15th-starter Tony Roney, Mike Hess, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Jac Haudenschild completing the top ten. Mike Goodman turned in the feature's top passing performance by climbing from 22nd to 12th.

Brady Bacon, Hess, Beason, Roney, Kuhn, Pickens, Clauson and Stanbrough topped the night's heat race action, with Beason, Clauson, Armstrong and Andy Shouse winning the qualifying races.

Chris Coker and J.T, Imperial topped "C" Mains, with Boat and Josh Wise winning the "B" Mains.

After winning the first race of the week, Broken Arrow's Bacon was leading his qualifier when engine woes occurred as the white flag flew. Bacon bounced back to transfer from a "B" Main and then finished 14th in the main event.

California's Kyle Larson had the night's eighth and final heat race well in hand until he tripped over the turn one cushion and flipped just as the yellow lights flickered for a Chad Frewaldt tumble in turn three. Rather than a solid position in a qualifying race, Larson punched a quick ticket to a Saturday "K" Main when forced to scratch for the rest of the night.

Choctaw, Oklahoma's Cody Brewer was the week's first official flip victim when he got upside down entering turn one in the second heat race. Mario Clouser also flipped in the second heat, Nick Chivello tumbled in the first "C" Main, Sean Dodenhoff went for a wild ride down the backstretch in the first qualifier and Dean Franklin tipped over in the second "B" Main.

In VIROC III, the Third Annual Vacuworx International Race of Champions, five-time Chili Bowl champion Sammy Swindell drew the pole position and made the most of it by leading all the way in the non-stop 20-lapper aboard the Swindell Motorsports Esslinger-powered John Christner Trucking No. 1 Spike.

Swindell was joined on the VIROC podium by Wilke-Pak rep Dave Darland and Kasey Kahne Racing shoe Jason Leffler, with J.J. Yeley and Clauson rounding out the top five. Clauson was the only of the 16 VIROC competitors to also mix it up in the Tuesday qualifying portion of the event.

Tuesday Night's Warren CAT Qualifier Results from the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals:

Heat Races (8 Laps -- Top 40 in passing points to A Qualifiers; Balance to twin C Mains)

Heat 1: 1. #67 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 2. #43 Brent Beauchamp, Indianapolis, IN; 3. #37F Tanner Berryhill, Bixby, OK; 4. #7BX Joe Boyles, Greenwood, MO; 5. #9M Cory Mallo, Cheyenne, WY; 6. #44X Dean Franklin, Tulsa, OK; 7. #2 Mark Bush, Cumming, GA; 8. #11 Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA; 9. 38 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA

Heat 2: 1. #4H Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 2. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 3. #21T Eric Todd, Falcon, MO; 4. #93X Ronnie Gardner, Whittier, CA; 5. #98 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 6. #20 Shon Deskins, Waddell, AZ; 7. #06 Mario Clouser, Auburn, IL; 8. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK

Heat 3: 1. #36 Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, OK; 2. #93 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK; 3. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 4. #0S Ryan Smith, Kunkletown, PA; 5. #01 Orval Zane Burke Jr., Salinas, CA; 6. #33H Cameron Hagin, Broken Arrow, OK; 7. #1TX Paul White, Temple, TX; 8. #76 Kellen Conover, Sumner, IL

Heat 4: 1. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, MO; 2. #71B Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH; 3. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 4. #91K Kevin Bayer, Bixby, OK; 5. #8B Bud Kaeding, Campbell, Ca; 6. #10F Nick Foster Jr., San Jose, CA; 7. #12 Chris Gurley, Crown Point, IN; 8. #19N Nick O'Neal, Wagoner, OK

Heat 5: 1. #17B Brad Kuhn, Avon, IN; 2. #77H Mike Goodman, Broken Arrow, OK; 3. #6R Jody Rosenboom, Rock Rapids, IA; 4. #73S Aaron Pierce, Daleville, IN; 5. #12K Rick Hendrix, Palmdale, CA; 6. #7C Pat Schudy, Springfield, MO; 7. #18 Floyd Alvis, San Carlos, CA; 8. #99 Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo, CO

Heat 6: 1. #05P Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 2. #27S Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, OK; 3. #7CA Caleb Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 4. #9D Sean Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA; 5. #45 Chris Coker, New Braunfels, TX; 6. #85J Matt Johnson, Edmond, OK; 7. #67X Britton Bock, Angwin, CA; 8. #27 Nick Chivello, Manteca, CA

Heat 7: 1. #39C Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN; 2. #3 Rickey Stenhouse Jr., Olive Branch, MS; 3. #86R Bill Rose, Plainfield, IN; 4. #91T Bob Ream Jr., Glendale, AZ; 5. #36DD J.T. Imperial, Mesa, AZ; 6. #15B Jackie Burke, Houston, TX; 7. #19JR Chad Shields, Grain Valley, MO; DNS -- #3A Dustin Arnall, Hartville, MO

Heat 8: 1. #51X Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 2. #33A Steven Arnold, Seymour, IN; 3. #0TN Bill Stines, Dover, TN; 4. #14AZ Mike Daniels, West Valley, UT; 5. #40 Andy Huston, Roseville, IL; 6. #4F Chad Frewaldt, Kansas City, KS; 7. #38 Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA; 8. #5F Ryan Cole, Porter, OK

C Mains (10 Laps -- Top 4 in each transfer to back of corresponding B Main)

C Main 1: 1. #45 Chris Coker, New Braunfels, TX; 2. #11 Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA; 3. #10F Nick Foster Jr., San Jose, CA; 4. 37C Pat Schudy, Springfield, MO; 5. #33H Cameron Hagin, Broken Arrow, OK; 6. #2 Mark Bush, Cumming, GA; 7. #12 Chris Gurley, Crown Point, IN; 8. #19JR Chad Shields, Grain Valley, MO; 9. #99 Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo, CO; 10. #27 Nick Chivello, Manteca, CA; 11. #5F Ryan Cole, Porter, OK; DNS -- #38 Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA; #3A Dustin Arnall, Hartville, MO

C Main 2: 1. #36DD J.T. Imperial, Mesa, AZ; 2. #06 Mario Clouser, Auburn, IL; 3. #67X Britton Bock, Angwin, CA; 4. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK; 5. #85J Matt Johnson, Edmond, OK; 6. #8 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA; 7. #18 Floyd Alvis, San Carlos, CA; 8. #76 Kellen Conover, Sumner, IL; 9. #15B Jackie Burke, Houston, TX; 10. #19N Nick O'Neal, Wagoner, OK; DNS -- #4F Chad Frewaldt, Kansas City, KS; #1TX Paul White, Temple, TX

A Qualifiers (10 Laps -- Top 16 in combined passing points to A Main; Balance to twin B Mains)

A Qualifier 1: 1. #36 Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, OK; 2. #4H Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 3. #91K Kevin Bayer, Bixby, OK; 4. #51X Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 5. #98 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 6. #86R Bill Rose, Plainfield, IN; 7. #33A Steve Arnold, Seymour, IN; 8. #9M Cory Mallo, Cheyenne, WY; 9. #67 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 10. #9D Sean Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA

A Qualifier 2: 1. #39C Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN; 2. #05P Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 3. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 4. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, MO; 5. #8B Bud Kaeding, Campbell, CA; 6. #12K Rick Hendrix, Palmdale, CA; 7. #37F Tanner Berryhill, Bixby, OK; 8. #21T Eric Todd, Falcon, MO; 9. #01 Orval Zane Burke Jr., Salinas, CA; 10. #93 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK

A Qualifier 3: 1. #7CA Caleb Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 2. #71B Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH; 3. #17B Brad Kuhn, Avon, IN; 4. #3 Rickey Stenhouse, Olive Branch, MS; 5. #43 Brent Beauchamp, Indianapolis, IN; 6. #93X Ronnie Gardner, Whittier, CA; 7. #6R Jody Rosenboom, Rock Rapids, IA; 8. #7BX Joe Boyles, Greenwood, MO; 9. #44X Dean Franklin, Tulsa, OK; 10. #14AZ Mike Daniels, West Valley, UT

A Qualifier 4: 1. #27S Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, OK; 2. #0S Ryan Smith, Kunkletown, PA; 3. #91T Bob Ream Jr., Glendale, AZ; 4. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 5. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 6. #40 Andy Huston, Roseville, IL; 7. #20 Shon Deskins, Waddell, AZ; 8. #0TN Bill Stine, Dover, TN; 9. #77H Mike Goodman, Broken Arrow, OK; 10. #73S Aaron Pierce, Daleville, IN

B Mains (15 Laps -- Top 4 in each transfer to A Main)

B Main 1: 1. #98 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 2. #43 Brent Beauchamp, Indianapolis, IN; 3. #93X Ronnie Gardner, Whittier, CA; 4. #21T Eric Todd, Falcon, MO; 5. #86R Bill Rose, Plainfield, IN; 6. #45 Chris Coker, New Braunfels, TX; 7. #40 Andy Huston, Roseville, IL; 8. #6R Jody Rosenboom, Rock Rapids, IA; 9. #10F Nick Foster Jr., San Jose, CA; 10. #20 Shon Deskins, Waddell, AZ; 11. #7C Pat Schudy, Springfield, MO; 12. #33A Steve Arnold, Seymour, IN; 13. #11 Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, Ca; 14. #14AZ Mike Daniels, West Valley, UT; 15. #0TN Bill Stines, Dover, TN; DNS -- #01 Orval Zane Burke Jr., Salinas, CA

B Main 2: 1. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 2. #67 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 3. #77H Mike Goodman, Broken Arrow, OK; 4. #8B Bud Kaeding, Campbell, CA; 5. #12K Rick Hendrix, Palmdale, CA; 6. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, OK; 7. #93 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK; 8. #73S Aaron Pierce, Daleville, IN; 9. #06 Mario Clouser, Auburn, IL; 10. #37F Tanner Berryhill, Bixby, OK; 11. #36DD J.T. Imperial, Mesa, AZ; 12. #67X Britton Bock, Angwin, Ca; 13. #9M Cory Mallo, Cheyenne, WY; 14. #44X Dean Franklin, Tulsa, OK; 15. #7BX Joe Boyles, Greenwood, MO; DNS -- #9D Sean Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA

VIROC III -- Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions (20 Laps)

1. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 2. #4X Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 3. #91X Jason Leffler, Long Beach, CA; 4. #1J J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 5. Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN; 6. #24 Tracy Hines, Wilkinson, IN; 7. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 8. #39M Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY; 9. #21K Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 10. #71 Cole Whitt, Alpine, CA; 11. #05G Damian Gardner, Concord, CA; 12. #39 Kevin Swindell, Germantown, TN; 13. #15M Jay Drake, Val Verde, CA; 14. #35 Johnny Heydenreich, Indianapolis, IN; 15. #47X Garrett Hansen, Manhattan Beach, CA; 16. #15H Scott Hatton, Roscoe, IL

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

1. #39C Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN; 2. #05P Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 3. #51X Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 4. #36 Jonathan Beason, Broken Arrow, OK; 5. #17B Brad Kuhn, Avon, IN; 6. #7CA Caleb Armstrong, New Castle, IN; 7. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, MO; 8. #4H Mike Hess, Springfield, IL; 9. #3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Olive Branch, MS; 10. #71B Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH; 11. #0S Ryan Smith, Kunkletown, PA; 12. #77H Mike Goodman, Broken Arrow, OK; 13. #43 Brent Beauchamp, Indianapolis, IN; 14. #67 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 15. #8B Bud Kaeding, Campbell, CA; 16. #27S Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, OK; 17. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 18. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 19. #91K Kevin Bayer, Bixby, OK; 20. #91T Bob Ream Jr., Glendale, AZ; 21. #93X Ronnie Gardner, Whittier, CA; 22. #21T Eric Todd, Falcon, MO; 23. #98 Chad Boat, Phoenix, AZ; 24. #17W Josh Wise, Riverside, CA

-source: lw/cbn

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