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Bryan Clauson Takes Home a Huge Win at the 28th Chili Bowl Nationals

January 19th, 2014 at 3:09 AM
By Mark Eddinger

Five days of Midget Racing excitement came to a close Saturday night at Tulsa Expo Raceway with the A-Feature of the 28th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire. At the end of the 55-lap race Bryan Clauson entered victory lane as a first time Chili Bowl champion.

'7.8.12 Angell Park Speedway - Bryan Clauson 2012 USAC Midget Winner' photo (c) 2012, Royal Broil - license: earned the win against the best the business could offer. Kevin Swindell, the winner of the last four Chili Bowls, charged from 14th on the grid to finish second and Christopher Bell was third.

Caleb Armstrong, the winner of Wednesday night's qualifying, led the 24 car field to the green flag with Thursday night's winner Christopher Bell second, Friday night's winner Bryan Clauson third, and Tuesday night's winner Jonathan Beason fourth.

The 24-year-old Clauson immediately moved to second place and started putting pressure on Armstrong and on lap 5 was able to make the pass for the lead on the low side. The first caution would come out on lap 12 when Thomas Meseraull blew an engine. The race never completed a green lap when the second caution flew when the 2008 champion Damion Gardner flipped when he was running eighth.

Christopher Bell passed Armstrong on lap 13 for the second position and started to close in on Clauson in the lead. As things settled down up front Kyle Larson was the driver on the move through the field from his 15th starting position. He was up to seventh by lap 19.

Then trouble hit Larson when the five-time Chili Bowl Nationals champion Sammy Swindell and he made contact. Sammy Swindell ended up saving his car by cutting through the infield but fell a lap down. Larson though had his engine go up in flames after the contact which ended his night. The caution officially flew for Jerry Coons Jr's car which stopped on the track.

When the race went back green the running order was Clauson, Bell, Beason, Armstrong, Dave Darland, and Kevin Swindell was up to sixth. Danny Stratton suffered a flip that ended his night and with 24 laps to go Clauson led over Bell, Beason, and Swindell. On that restart Swindell made quick work of Beason and was up to third. On lap 37 Swindell was trying his all to get by Bell for second but was unsuccessful.

Caleb Armstrong then brought out a caution for a spin. When the race went back green on lap 38 Clauson maintained the lead with a heated battle ensuing behind him between Bell and Swindell. Their battle was interrupted on lap 43 when Michael Pickens flipped. The race went back green and this time Swindell felt pressure from Rico Abreu for third. On lap 45 Abreu grabbed the position but Swindell fought for it back on lap 46. Abreu would then spin on lap 47 to bring out the caution.

On that restart Swindell and Bell pulled slide job passes on each other for second as the laps clicked down with Clauson still leading. Swindell eventually won out for the second spot but Clauson had built a lead of 1.684 seconds with three laps to go. The 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Chili Bowl champ did not have enough time to catch the driver of the No. 63 machine and Bryan Clauson entered his name into the Chili Bowl Nationals history books as the man to end Kevin Swindell's run.

The complete finishing order was Bryan Clauson with the win, Kevin Swindell second, Christopher Bell third, Alex Bright fourth, Dave Darland fifth, Tim McCreadie sixth, Daryn Pittman seventh, Jonathan Beason eighth, Chris Windom ninth, and Chad Boat tenth. Rico Abreu was 11th, Tracy Hines 12th, Zach Daum 13th, Sammy Swindell 14th, and Brad Loyet was the last car running in 15th. Those with DNF's were Kevin Ramey in 16th, Alex Schutte 17th, Jerry Coons Jr 18th, Caleb Armstrong 19th, Michael Pickens 20th, Danny Stratton 21st, Kyle Larson 22nd, Damion Gardner 23rd, and Thomas Meseraull 24th.

There were three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that did not make the A-Feature. JJ Yeley won his D-Feature and then also advanced out of his C-Feature by driving from 15th to sixth. His run ended in his B-Feature when he finished 11th. Ricky Stenhouse Jr started second in an E-Feature that he won and then drove from 15th to win his D-Feature. His night ended in his C-Feature when he could only drive from 15th to seventh leaving him one spot from transferring. Kasey Kahne was driving the Jason Leffler Tribute car but had a rough day which started in the G-Feature from 11th. He finished second to advance to a F-Feature where he only drove from 14th to finish in tenth and did not advance.

Tags: Bryan Clauson, Caleb Armstrong, Chad Boat, Chili Bowl, Christopher Bell, Dave Darland, JJ Yeley, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Swindell, Kyle Larson, Motorsports, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Sammy Swindell, Tracy Hines, Tulsa Expo Raceway

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