Lots Of Big Names Finish Up Front On Opening Night
Missouri’s Danny Lasoski scored a wire-to-wire victory as the 20th Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals kicked off with Wednesday night's 25-lap Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Night main event at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Lasoski fought off the battling duo of Steve Kinser and Jerry Coons, Jr., to snare the win, with Tim McCreadie making a last lap pass of 15-year-old Brady Bacon to snare the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday's championship main event.
Just two weeks shy of his sixteenth birthday, Broken Arrow, OK, shoe Bacon gridded on Lasoski’s outside shoulder, with Kinser and Johnny Rodriguez in the second row. Lasoski gunned into the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Kinser taking second from Bacon in the opening two corners.
Lasoski paced the field in front of Kinser, Bacon and Coons, surviving a pair of cautions in the opening seven rounds including Stan Yockey’s hard turn one flip with seven laps in the books. Yockey, one of three drivers (along with Michele Miller and Donnie Lehmann) to climb from Last Chance racing action to the main event, emerged shaken but otherwise uninjured.
Lasoski and Kinser continued to lead the way, with Coons disposing of Bacon for third on twelfth circuit. A lap later, ARDC Midget kingpin Ray Bull charged past Bacon for fourth, just moments before Craig Carey’s turn one tumble on the 14th lap.
Piloting Jerry Russell’s Esslinger-powered American Compressed Steel No. 33d Eagle, the victory marked the second trip to victory lane in Chili Bowl qualifying action for the three-time event runner-up and Sprint Car standout.
“I didn’t have any idea if anyone was close to me or not, all I knew was that I wasn’t getting off the bottom of the track in turns three and four,” Lasoski commented at the post-race press conference.
Lasoski earned the pole position for the feature by accumulating the most passing points among Wednesday night’s 87 competitors by virtue of a charge from fifth to first in his heat race and a sixth to second run in his qualifying race.
Back under way, Bacon regained fourth on the 17th circuit following a turn one Bull bobble, with McCreadie advancing to fifth.
Following the race’s final caution after 17 laps for a turn one tangle involving Danny Stratton and Paul White, Kinser took to the top side in turns three and four to try to mount a challenge on Lasoski.
“I started working the top because I’ve raced with Danny way too long and I knew he wouldn’t leave the bottom,” Kinser commented afterward.
But as Kinser nearly reeled Lasoski in, 2005 Belleville Midget Nationals champion Coons threw his hat into the mix, dicing with Kinser for second. With Kinser and Coons dicing for second, Lasoski slipped away in the final rounds to secure the victory.
Piloting the Keith Kunz Motorsports Fontana-powered No. 67k Advanced Racing/Kwik Change Bullet-chassis, Kinser held Coons off for second. Coons took the show position in Karl Warnke’s No. 23 Stealth.
Late Model and DIRT Modified ace McCreadie battled wheel-to-wheel with Bacon over the final two rounds before getting the advantage in the final corner aboard Steve Smith’s Hawk-powered No. 1a Spike-chassis.
“I look at the three guys that finished ahead of me and all that they’ve accomplished, I’m just thrilled to be a part of the game,” McCreadie commented after just his second outing in a Midget. “It was great just making the show last year, and now being locked into Saturday’s feature is just awesome.”
Danny Lasoski kicked off the 20th Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals by topping Wednesday night's qualifer.
Danny Lasoski (white car) and Brady Bacon pace Wednesday night's Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Night feature field before a packed house at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.
In addition to the feature tumblers, other flip victims for the night included Jasiel Randolph, Robert Marfia, Tyler Brown, Sparky Howard, Billy Alley, Ashley Swanson, Ryan Kaplan, Scott Milan and Seth Wilson. There were no injuries.
Tony Stewart scratched from the night after a wild flip in hot laps. Uninjured, Stewart has been rescheduled for Friday night's Warren CAT qualifying action.
Bacon settled for fifth, with Don Droud, Jr., advancing from 11th to claim sixth. Rodriguez snared seventh, with 17th-starter Bud Kaeding, Bull and Davey Ray completing the top ten.
Heat race victories were claimed by Kinser, Aaron Fike, Droud, Bacon, Rodriguez, Lasoski, R.J. Johnson, Joey Montgomery, Carey and Tony Elliott.
Yockey, Wayne Johnson, Kyle Rayburn and Lehmann each scored Last Chance Race wins, with Coons, Kinser, Ray and McCreadie victorious in Qualifying Race action.
The top four finishers in Wednesday night's Chili Bowl included, from left to right, Tim McCreadie, Jerry Coons, Jr., Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski.