From Bryan Hulbert / chilibowl.com
Becoming the 22nd driver to top the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson wheeled the Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports No. 19t to Victory Lane on Saturday night.
“I knew I had to step it up from Thursday night,” stated Thorson on his thoughts going into the day. “Bell was obviously better than me, and I knew they were going to bring the same car if not better. It helped having Kasey [Kahne] there running another car that was set up nearly identical. It brought a lot to my attention and the car ended up feeling pretty good.”
Chasing Christopher Bell, traffic came into play quickly but would prove ineffective at giving him a shot at the pass. Slowed on Lap 17, the restart saw several drivers start stepping their line up the track. Top by bottom just past Lap 25, traffic was again in the mix until Lap 36 when Justin Grant biked the cushion and tipped over in the second turn.
Stalking the iRacing No. 71w, Thorson threw the slide on Lap 37; taking the lead off the fourth turn. Back after Thorson as the pair sliced through traffic, Bell retook the lead for a moment through the first and second turns with six laps to run. Splitting the slower car of Brady Bacon, the No. 21h ended up going to a ride right between the leaders as he battled for position.
Back to green, Bell was set on attack, but contact with the wall let the No. 19t get away. Nearly dropping to third in the process, Bell regrouped and quickly gained ground. Picking up momentum to the final lap, time would run out as Thorson crossed with a 0.688-second advantage.
On the late-race move, Thorson said, “I knew it was getting late in the race and when they said how many laps were down, it was just like Turkey Night where I had to break Bell’s momentum a little bit because it not, it was going to be hard to beat him, so I just had to get going. Buddy was there and he was pressing me a little bit, but my car actually seemed to get better throughout the run and used what I learned off Thursday night.”
Christopher Bell crossed second with Rico Abreu working back to third in the closing laps. Buddy Kofoid crossed fourth with Tanner Carrick fifth in his first A-Feature appearance.
Kyle Larson in sixth was followed by C.J. Leary from 16th. Kevin Thomas, Jr. crossed eighth, followed by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Thomas Meseraull to complete the top ten.
The 2022 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire drew in 381 drivers over the six nights of racing. The Saturday run of events was slated, to begin with, double Q-Features, but drivers scratching put the first events at double P-Features. Including the four rounds of Pole Shuffle, there were 35 races total on Saturday. The World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count made it to 66 with drivers able to walk away. The biggest run through the Soup came from Sammy Swindell who advanced through six rounds before damage to his car sidelined him in the first I-Feature.
A Feature (55 Laps):
1. 19T-Tanner Thorson; 2. 71W-Christopher Bell; 3. 97-Rico Abreu; 4. 67-Michael Kofoid; 5. 98-Tanner Carrick; 6. 01-Kyle Larson; 7. 55V-CJ Leary; 8. 5T-Kevin Thomas Jr; 9. 47S-Ricky Stenhouse Jr; 10. 7X-Thomas Meseraull; 11. 7C-Tyler Courtney; 12. 52-Blake Hahn; 13. 17W-Shane Golobic; 14. 89-Chris Windom; 15. 97W-Zeb Wise; 16. 2J-Justin Grant; 17. 47Z-Corey Day; 18. 71K-Kaylee Bryson; 19. 29-Tim Buckwalter; 20. 8J-Jonathan Beason; 21. 27W-Colby Copeland; 22. 81X-Dillon Welch; 23. (DNF) 87-Chase Johnson; 24. (DNF) 21H-Brady Bacon
Lap Leaders: Christopher Bell 1-36; Tanner Thorson 37-55
Hard Charger: C.J. Leary +9
The 37th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire takes place January 9-14, 2023, at the Tulsa Expo Raceway, located inside the SageNet Center in Tulsa, Okla. Ticket renews, and new orders begin on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. More information on prices will be posted soon.
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.
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