TULSA, Okla. – At the end of his preliminary night on Friday night, former World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion Daryn Pittman was scrambling to find an engine so he would be able compete during General Tire Championship Day at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
Veteran team owner Dan Harris came through on Saturday morning in the 11th hour to keep Pittman’s dream of racing into Saturday night’s A-Main alive.
Harris loaned Pittman an Ilmor/Mopar motor after Pittman ran into trouble following the Friday night feature. Pittman finished seventh in the 25-lap contest, but the crew later found metal shavings in the oil, signifying a major problem within the motor itself.
“That’s been our entire week,” Pittman noted. “If something could go wrong, it seems like, it has found a way to. We had to scramble here, but I’m grateful to Dan for helping us out here. Hopefully now we can get everything put back together and go out and run back into the big show tonight.”
Harris is the car owner for multiple entries at this year’s Chili Bowl – including Weston Gorham, Matt Sherrell and Jeb Sessums – and said it was a no-brainer to help out a fellow competitor in his mind.
“We run all Mopar stuff like Daryn does, and we had a spare motor that we decided to loan to him,” Harris told SPEED SPORT. “He’s running later in the evening, and that was a really good motor for us last year as well. Matt Sherrell put that bullet in the B, so now Daryn will have a shot to put it in the A.
“Here, if you have something and you can help someone else who’s in need to get to the next level, you want to loan that to them,” he added. “Everyone here remembers things like that and where they come from, and if you ever need help they’ll be there for you also. That’s always been what we try to do.”
Pittman starts 12th in the second 20-lap B-Main Saturday night. The top seven make the 55-lap finale.
– J.J. Yeley’s miracle run through the alphabet soup ended after four races on Saturday. He won his O-Main and his N-Main, while finishing third in his M-Main to move into the first L-Main of the day.
However, Yeley ultimately flipped during the L-Main while in a transfer spot to move on, ending his Chili Bowl after four races.
“I was just adjusting on the race car trying to make it better, and it got away from me,” Yeley noted. “I had to run the top, which was not the preferred lane, but if you have to pass you have to pass. The pace right there was slower than I had seen. I got a transfer, lost it and then was in it again when I caught fourth and about ran into the back of him because I misjudged the closing rate.
“I figured once I jumped his wheel, it was better to turn it into the fence instead of hanging it in the fence like I did on my preliminary night. It was a cool day though, for sure. We could have made it a few more, I think, but just got knocked out a little prematurely.”
– The intensity as the day goes on at the Chili Bowl increases exponentially, but for some drivers, they’re just happy to be in the positions that they’re in on finale Saturday.
One of those is Denver, Colorado’s Luke Icke, who started fifth in Friday night’s preliminary feature and ended up 12th to lock into a C-Main for the Saturday night program.
Icke is driving for Mark Chisholm and was all smiles when found by SPEED SPORT in the pit area.
“This deal was really last minute; Mark called us a few days before and we made it happen,” Icke said. “This has been beyond anything we could have ever expected.”
– The final entry count for this year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals capped out at 350 drivers officially drawing in of the 362 entered, as of the conclusion of Friday night’s preliminary program.
That number is up slightly from the 2018 entry count of 345 drivers who signed in for Chili Bowl action.
– Entering Saturday’s finale, the Chili Bowl flip count sat at 49, with all drivers able to walk away unhurt.
SPEED SPORT’s Chili Bowl coverage is presented by MyRacePass, the official timing and scoring app of the 2019 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Fans can download the MyRacePass app on their phones to follow all the action during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. For more information on MyRacePass, visit www.myracepass.com. All of SPEED SPORT’s Live From The Chili Bowl presented by MyRacePass coverage can be found by clicking here.
Watch The Chili Bowl Live: The Chili Bowl will be shown live online on www.racinboys.com. The online PPV experience will run from Monday through Saturday’s qualifiers. At the time of opening ceremonies (6 p.m. local time) on Saturday, Racinboys PPV coverage will cease as the final features will be shown live on MAVTV (more information here).