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Bell Comes Out on Top in Late-Race Duel to Win Chili Bowl Thursday Night Feature


Toyota Racing

TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 17, 2019) – Toyota driver Christopher Bell led the first 22 laps, then gave up the lead on lap 23 of 25, only to retake the lead on lap 24 on the way to winning Thursday night’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night feature at the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. With the win, Bell advances directly to Saturday night’s A Main feature event.

The triumph is the fourth consecutive preliminary night feature victory for Bell and is his 52nd national midget car victory – all coming with Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) and Toyota. He is one of just four drivers ever to win five preliminary night features.

In a race marred by caution flags, Bell took the lead from the inside on the green flag and would consistently pull away from the field, only to see a yellow flag fly. Following a re-start, Shane Golobic was able to use a slider to get past the two-time defending champ into turn three on lap 23, with Bell countering a lap later when he was able to go back under and win a drag race going into turn one and go on to the victory.

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell (Photo: Dave Biro III via Toyota Racing)

“Shane definitely made a race out of it and I hope the last four laps was a good show,” said Bell, a Norman, Oklahoma native. “It was a lot of fun because I won, but it wouldn’t have been much fun if I had lost. I think running later in the week was a benefit with what we were able to learn from my teammates, but it seemed like I had the hardest time winning among my teammates – Kyle (Larson), Rico (Abreu) and Logan (Seavey). They all seemed to make it look easy, but that definitely wasn’t the case tonight. I had a lot of competition all night. I’m going to do my best to try to figure out why I didn’t feel as good as I normally do and why I didn’t run as good a race as I normally do. Going into Saturday, I’m in a really good spot, but these guys are all hungry for a Driller.”

Jerry Coons Jr. also advanced to Thursday’s A Main where he ran in the top two early with Bell before slipping back and was eventually caught up in a mid-race incident that ended his night early with a 17th-place finish.

This year’s Chili Bowl features more than 360 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s A Main feature event. Qualifying concludes on Friday night with seven Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify including 2018 POWRi champion Tucker Klaasmeyer and 2017 USAC champ Spencer Bayston. Through the first four nights of qualifying, seven Toyota-powered have clinched a berth in Saturday’s A Main.chili bowl

Toyota Thursday Results



Remaining Qualifiers

71W Christopher Bell

A Main – 1st


25 Jerry Coons

A Main – 17th

1S Flick

72K Sam Johnson

B Main – 6th

2G Buckwalter

5R Ryan Foster

B Main – 8th

5S J. Elledge

56X Mark Chisholm

B Main – 10th

27 Klaasmeyer

83 Karsyn Elledge

B Main – 11th

94X Boat

71x McKenzie Haase

B Main – 12th

97K Bayston

 Toyota Powered Drivers Saturday Qualifying Positions  

Car #





Kyle Larson

Elk Grove, CA

A Main


Landon Simon

Brownsburg, IN

F Main


J.J. Yeley

Charlotte, NC

O Main


Zach Daum

Pocahontas, IL

A Main


Kyle Craker

Lewisberry, PA

E Main


Ryan Foster

Anderson, CA

F Main


Presley Truedson

Kennedy, MN

M Main


Cannon McIntosh

Broken Arrow, OK

B Main


Paul Nienhiser

Chapin, IL

C Main


Dennis Gile

Glendale, AZ

I Main


Jason McDougal

Broken Arrow, OK

E Main


Jerry Coons Jr. 

Tucson, AZ

D Main


Zane Hendricks

Stillwater, OK

O Main


Sterling Cling

Tempe, AZ

H Main


Blake Hahn

Sapulpa, OK

C Main


Mark Chisholm

Cheyenne, WY

G Main


Logan Seavey

Sutter, CA

A Main


Holley Hollan

Tulsa, OK

D Main


Jesse Colwell

Cottonwood, CA

B Main


Tanner Carrick

Lincoln, CA

D Main


Christopher Bell

Norman, OK

A Main


McKenna Haase

Des Moines, IA

H Main


Sam Johnson

St. Peters, MO

F Main


David Gravel

Watertown, CT

A Main


Brady Bacon

Broken Arrow, OK

A Main


Karsyn Elledge

Mooresville, NC

H Main


Colby Copeland

Roseville, CA

B Main


Tanner Berryhill

Bixby, OK

C Main


Chris Andrews

Sandusky, OH

I Main


Tyler Thomas

Collinsville, OK

E Main


Hayden Williams

Auckland, NZ

E Main


Rico Abreu

Rutherford, CA

A Main