From Bryan Hulbert / chilibowl.com
Counting it down from his first preliminary A-Feature appearance in 2020, California's Michael "Buddy" Kofoid was third the first time, second the last time, and the winner this time in the Keith Kunz Motorsports-Curb-Agajanian No. 67.
Breaking a four-year streak of Larson prelim night wins, Kofoid earned the win during Tuesday's Warren CAT Qualifying Night.
Delivering Keith Kunz win No. 31 at the Tulsa Expo Raceway, the fight for the victory was nearly nonstop as Buddy chased defending Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Champion Kyle Larson through the opening 24 revolutions.
A few early race cautions, Larson held the No. 67 at bay on each restart. Changing up lines in pursuit of the FloRacing.com No. 01, Larson found traffic on Lap 14. Able to pull in on Kyle a couple times, the chance to use slower traffic to his advantage never presented itself.
"I was trying to stay close to him in traffic. All the lappers were running their own race side by side, so you kind of had to pick through and be able to be there," stated Kofoid of the chase through traffic. "The opportunity never really came in traffic like I thought, and the top side started getting really treacherous in three and four."
Caution on Lap 20, Kofoid dove low on the restart, but was unable to advance before caution lights came on again working Lap 23. Back to Lap 22, the pair traded lines at both ends of the Tulsa Expo Raceway only to have the caution halt the action once more.
Taking the bottom for the final run, Kofoid railed the cushion to the lead off the second turn. Coming after the No. 67, Larson threw a barrage of slide jobs at Buddy. Clearing the nose of the No. 67 a couple times, each time Kofoid was able to turn and run. Slamming off the turn-two cushion on Lap 28, that gave Kofoid the room he needed to secure the win.
Victorious by 1.738-seconds, the race for second saw Windom taking it on the white, but Larson retaking it at the checkered flag. Chris Windom settled for third, with Jake Swanson moving up seven spots to fourth. Racing from 13th, Thomas Meseraull completed the top five. Muskogee's Kaylee Bryson was sixth, followed by Jake Bubak. Eighth went to Jonathan Beason, with Kyle Hones ninth. Hard Charger from 23rd, Tim McCreadie completed the top ten.
Tuesday added 73 more drivers to the 2022 event for 142 checking in so far. The World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count made it to 18 with everyone able to walk away.
A Feature (30 Laps):
1. 67-Michael Kofoid; 2. 01-Kyle Larson; 3. 89-Chris Windom; 4. 55A-Jake Swanson; 5. 7X-Thomas Meseraull; 6. 71K-Kaylee Bryson; 7. 27B-Jake Bubak; 8. 8J-Jonathan Beason; 9. 7U-Kyle Jones; 10. 9T-Tim McCreadie; 11. 45X-Roger Crockett; 12. 73H-Hunter Schuerenberg; 13. 19K-Riley Kreisel; 14. 19B-Alex Bright; 15. 15-Donny Schatz; 16. 47-Zach Daum; 17. 27-Briggs Danner; 18. 29S-Hank Davis; 19. 40-Colton Hardy; 20. 7T-TJ Smith; 21. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 22. 3N-Jake Neuman; 23. 96-Cody Brewer; 24. (DNF) 57W-Kaidon Brown
Lap Leader(s): Kyle Larson 1-24; Michael "Buddy" Kofoid 25-30
Hard Charger: Tim McCreadie +13
Racing continues Wednesday, January 12, 2022 with Hard Rock Hotel Casino Qualifying Night. The SageNet Center opens at 9:00 A.M. Hot Laps are at 4:00 P.M. with racing at 5:00 P.M. Reserved Seats for Pit Passes are sold at the event and never sell out.
Live coverage can be found on http://www.floracing.com.
For continued updates on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, follow the event on Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.
(Image Credit: Michael Fry)
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