For the second season, Bryan Clauson swept his races leading into the Chili Bowl Nationals finale.
Starting with the third Heat Race to the second A Qualifying Race and to the A Main Feature, Clauson was dialed in throughout Friday night at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Clauson, who won the inaugural Pole Dash, will share the front row for the Saturday’s A Main with Christopher Bell.
“This thing’s been a rocket ship all night long,” said the 2014 CBN champ after climbing from his midget. Earlier in the week I thought we’d have to be a little bit better to win but they got in dialed in tonight and I feel like I have a winning car for tomorrow.”
Clauson checked out early. By Lap 10 of the 25-circuit event, Clauson had extended his lead over Tim McCreadie by 2.752-seconds. A flat tire on the No. 88n driven by D.J. Netto triggered the second caution of the feature on Lap 11. When the race returned to green, Clauson moved up to the high groove. Within two laps, he gained a second over McCreadie and padded his lead to 1.851-seconds at the finish.
“We’ll see what we got, there’s a lot of good guys up front,” Clauson added. “We’ve been here before. My one (Golden) Driller is a little bit lonely. I think he needs a friend.”
TMac, who won the 2006 Chili Bowl Nationals, held onto finished second with Kasey Kahne coming in for the third and final transfer spot for Saturday’s A Main.
“We really worked on this car to get I could be maneuverable and show our ability as a race team,” McCreadie said. “I saw Bryan get tight on the bottom where he kind of lost the right front. I thought, ‘Damn, give me another half a lap.’ He either saw me on the video or heard me out there and he was just too good. We’ll take a second and be happy.”
Kasey Kahne makes it through to the feature
For Kahne, Saturday marks his seventh appearance in the A Main Feature.
“It feels great, I’ve been missing it,” said Kahne who hasn’t raced in the finale since 2010. “It’s such a cool event, such a great race. To come here tonightand have a great car, we were really prepared.
“The car was great. We were pretty quick all night long. We’ll just keep working on it and try to get better for Saturday.”
Prior to the start of the feature, officials disqualified Alex Shanks after discovering that Shane Cockrum was actually behind the wheel of the No. 20a Midget. Checkroom ran the second B Main on Wednesday night and finished seventh.
Despite multiple cautions, Danny Faria Jr. found his rhythm — and the front of the field in the first B Main. Ronnie Gardner and polesitter Danny Sheridan battled for second as Faria extended his lead. With two to go, Dave Darland passed Tyler Edwards for the fourth and final transfer spot to the A Main.
Officials called off the start for the second B Main. Once the drivers regrouped, Tucker Klaasmeyer took the lead from second. Klaasmeyer held the point and extended his lead to a 2.289-second advantage over Kyle Schuett when the caution came out on the last lap. On the final restart, Clinton Boyles passed Schuett for second while David Budres earned the fourth and final transfer spot. Cory Elliott, who ran second through the majority of the first 14 of 15 laps, was shuffled out to 14th.
Chad Boat started from the pole and despite two cautions, held off a late race charge by Cory Kruseman to win the first qualifying race. Damion Gardner and Tanner Thorson rounded out the top four.
Bryan Clauson came from sixth to first in four laps to take the lead and the win in the second qualifying race. The 2014 Chili Bowl champ topped Hunter Schuerenberg, D.J. Netto, and Josh Hawkins.
A last lap caution set up a green-white-checker finish in the third qualifying race but Shane Golobic maintained the lead — and the win. 2006 Chili Bowl champ Tim McCreadie was second followed by polestar Trevor Kobylarz and Kasey Kahne, who started sixth.
Jac Haudenschild jumped to the lead from second on the first lap and kept the point for 10 laps. Alex Shanks battled Daryn Pittman and polesitter Kyle Schuett who finished fourth.