Chili Bowl: Wednesday prelim results

Kevin Doty takes first prelim victory Tulsa, OK, January 9, 2002 - Saying the top groove was going to be 'tricky' Chili Bowl veteran Kevin Doty decided to run the low side of the Tulsa Expo Raceway on Wednesday night and it paid off with a...

Kevin Doty takes first prelim victory

Tulsa, OK, January 9, 2002 - Saying the top groove was going to be 'tricky' Chili Bowl veteran Kevin Doty decided to run the low side of the Tulsa Expo Raceway on Wednesday night and it paid off with a victory on the first qualifying night of the 16th Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

Doty, who started fifth, battled throughout the 25-lap main event with Kasey Kahne, one of racing's top young stars. On a Lap 17 restart Doty took the lead for good driving under Kahne in Turn 2 to secure his third preliminary feature in a Chili Bowl career that spans much of the event's history. Doty, of Burlington, Iowa, was driving the No. 12 Wilke PAK Motorsports/Kwik Change Products Stealth, powered by a SESCO Mopar.

Kahne finished second, with Greg Lueckert, of Kansas City, MO, finished third and Chad Farmer drove from 11th to fourth. Doty, Kahne, Lueckert and Farmer are locked into Saturday night's 50-lap championship Main event.

"We were setting up for the bottom or the top, I could get an excellent start on both," said Doty, who has started 12 of the 15 Chili Bowl championship main events since 1987. "I figured would stay down (on the bottom) and see what happens. I kept picking them guys off."

Because of the added night of qualifying, though, the four drivers' positions are not determined. The three preliminary winners will draw to determine their starting position on Saturday, while the other three will also draw.

Doty drove from fifth to first on the low side to lead the first two laps, but Kahne took the lead for the first time on lap 3, which was the first of six lead changes the two had throughout the event. Kahne led laps 3 and 4, but Doty took the lead on a Lap 5 restart as Kahne regained it one lap later.

The race's third caution came out on Lap 7 when outside pole starter Bud Kaeding jumped the berm in Turn 3 and did not restart the race. On the restart, Kahne regained the lead and stayed on the high side of the race track while Doty remained on the low side. Kahne held the lead until Lap 15, when Doty took the lead inside of Turn 2 when Kahne jumped the cushion.

"I was kind of struggling with the cushion and it was a pretty hard cushion," said Kahne. "A few times I got my right rear up there and it pulled my front end over. I was thinking the top was the place to be, so I just stayed there."

One lap later, Kahne drove around Doty on the outside of Turn 4 to retake the lead. But on Lap 17, Floyd Alvis spun in Turn 3, bringing out the race's fifth caution. On the ensuing restart, Davey Ray, who was running fifth, jumped the cushion in Turn 1 and spun out, slowing the field again.

When the race resumed, Doty stayed on the low side and Kahne the high side, and Doty powered by Kahne coming out of Turn 2 for the final lead change of the race on Lap 17. Doty stayed on the low side the rest of the race, while Kahne remained high with Greg Lueckert remaining in the hunt trying to find a way around Kahne.

Lueckert hung on for third, while Farmer held off Richard Griffin, who started ninth. Griffin finished fifth, with A.J. Fike coming from 17th to take sixth.

Four-time Chili Bowl champion Sammy Swindell moved into the top four on Lap 20, but on Lap 21 Swindell and Griffin made contact and Swindell stopped on the front stretch. He did not restart the race.

Wednesday Night News and Notes

B Main action ^Å In the first B Main, A.J. Fike and Gary Wright battled for the lead throughout the 15-lap event. On Lap 13, Fike took the lead for good when he passed Wright on the outside of Turn 2. Sammy Swindell took the third and final transfer spot on Lap 14 after starting 12th.

In the second B Main, Davey Ray drove around Matthew Neely on Lap 9 and led the rest of the race. Aaron Kirk finished third, outracing Joe Boyles at the end. On Lap 7, Mike Hess, Kirk and Ray were battled for third, but Hess ended up on the outside looking in and spun in Turn 3, taking him out of contention.

C Main action ... Scott Sawyer, of Broken Arrow, OK, took the lead from the pole on the first lap and led all 12 laps of the race. Johnny Miller took second, with Chris Wagner third and Jeff Parga taking fourth.

Heat race action ^Å In the first heat, Greg Lueckert drives from fourth to first, passing pole starter Gary Wright on the first lap. Wright and Lueckert battle throughout the race, with Lueckert taking the victory and Wright finishing second.

In the second heat, Bryan Stanfill and A.J. Fike battled for the last half of the race and swapped the lead several times. But on Lap 10, Fike jumped the cushion in Turn 2 and spun out and Stanfill took the victory.

Kasey Kahne took the lead from pole starter Matthew Rossi on the ninth lap to win the third heat race.

Don Lehmann led all 10 laps of the fourth heat race, with Richard Griffin taking second and Floyd Alvis third.

In the fifth heat race, Bud Kaeding drove from fifth to first in five laps. Kaeding passed Mike Leslie for the lead on Lap 5.

Kevin Doty led all 10 laps from the front row of the sixth heat race.

In the seventh heat race, Ron Gregory drove to the inside of pole starter Kenny Brown and took the lead on Lap 3 and led the rest of the 10-lap event.

Wally Pankratz led all 10 laps from outside the front row of the eighth heat, but edged Robert Marfia for the victory on the final lap.

In the ninth heat race, Randy Nigg led all 10 laps from the pole, as A.J. Anderson edged John Wolfe for second on the final lap.

-len ashburn-

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Series Midget
Drivers Johnny Miller , Kasey Kahne , Bud Kaeding , Sammy Swindell , Richard Griffin , A.J. Fike , Ron Gregory , Davey Ray , Wally Pankratz , Robert Marfia , Mike Leslie , Aaron Kirk , Kenny Brown , Bryan Stanfill , Joe Boyles , Floyd Alvis