Defending champion Christopher Bell started from the pole and never relinquished the top spot on the way to leading all 25 laps in the John Christner Trucking A Main in the 32nd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway, Thursday night.  Toyota-powered cars have won each of the first three nights’ preliminary features, as well as Tuesday’s Race of Champions.
With the victory, Keith Kunz Motorsports becomes the first team in Chili Bowl history to win three consecutive preliminary features. The win also marks the third consecutive year that Bell has won his preliminary night feature and locks him into the top five for Saturday’s A Main.
“I’ve always said that you’re only as good as the race car you’re driving,” said a victorious Bell, who has now won 11 of his last 14 midget feature events. “I’ve been very fortunate to drive some great race cars with Keith Kunz. It’s pretty remarkable for the team to go three for three (in winning the first three preliminary night features). My teammates are really, really fast and it’s going to be tough to beat them on Saturday.  We’re all in very equal racecars, so may the best man win.
“This is the most enjoyable Chili Bowl I’ve had in a long time. To win another prelim night and to know I’m guaranteed a spot in the first three rows is really special and I’m going to try my hardest to get another win.”
Thursday’s feature was never really in doubt as Bell jumped to an eight-tenths of a second lead on the opening lap and stretched his advantage to more than four seconds on the quarter-mile race track before caution flags closed the gap. The field had one last shot to make a run at him after a lap 23 caution, but once again Bell pulled away from the field to take the checkered flag.
Overall, four Toyota-powered entries reached the A Main with 2005 Chili Bowl champion Tracy Hines finishing fourth, narrowly missing a direct pass to Saturday’s A Main.  He will start from the front row of one of the two B Main events.  World of Outlaws star David Gravel placed 12th, with Holly Shelton rounding out the Toyota contingent with a 17th-place showing. To date, 14 of 21 Toyota drivers have advanced to the A Main on their qualifying night.
Michael Faccinto, Paul McMahon and Dylan Westbrook all advanced to Thursday’s B Main, while Presley Truedson, Frankie Guerini and Mark Chisholm reached the C Mains.
This year’s Chili Bowl features more than 350 entries.  Each is fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s A Main feature event.  Qualifying continues tomorrow with six more Toyota-powered drivers, including Tuesday’s Race of Champions winner Chad Boat and 2017 USAC champion Spencer Bayston, expected to attempt to qualify on Friday.
# # #
Toyota Thursday Results
# Driver
#71W Christopher Bell
A Main – 1st
#24 Tracy Hines
A Main – 4th
#76G David Gravel
A Main – 12th
#67K Holly Shelton
A Main – 17th
#7F Michael Faccinto
B Main – 5th
#4P Paul McMahon
B Main – 9th
#47W Dylan Westbrook
B Main – 14th
#5T Presley Truedson
C Main – 5th
#15X Frankie Guerini
C Main – 6th
#56X Mark Chisholm
C Main – 12th
Remaining Toyota Qualifying Line-Up
#5H Jack Hawley
#25 Dave Darland
#52 Blake Hahn
#71K Tucker Klaasmeyer
#84 Chad Boat
#97K Spencer Bayston
Toyota Powered Drivers Saturday Qualifying Positions 
Car #
Christopher Bell
Norman, OK
A Main
Rico Abreu
Rutherford, CA
A Main
Kyle Larson
Elk Grove, CA
A Main
Tracy Hines
Wilkinson, IN
B Main
Logan Seavey
Sutter, CA
B Main
Ryan Robinson
Foresthill, CA
B Main
J.J. Yeley
Charlotte, NC
B Main
Zach Daum
Pocahontas, IL
C Main
David Gravel
Watertown, CT
C Main
Justin Allgaier
Riverton, IL
C Main
Kyle Jones
Kennedale, TX
C Main
Brady Bacon
Broken Arrow, OK
C Main
Holly Shelton
Gold River, CA
C Main
Michael Faccinto
Hanford, CA
E Main
Paul McMahon
Nashville, TN
F Main
Landon Simon
Brownsburg, IN
G Main
Dylan Westbrook
Scotland, Ont., Canada
H Main
Presley Truedson
Kennedy, MN
I Main
Frankie Guerini
San Rafael, CA
I Main
Mark Chisholm
Cheyenne, WY
K Main
Tanner Berryhill
Bixby, OK
K Main

Toyota Racing PR

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