TULSA, Okla. – Logan Seavey put on a driving clinic during Monday’s opening night of the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway, taking home a clean sweep of the on-track activities.
Seavey won his heat race and his qualifier, then led all 25 laps of the A-main from the pole to collect the victory on Cummins Qualifying Night, his first preliminary night victory in three Chili Bowl appearances.
The 21-year-old from Sutter, Calif., was never seriously challenged en route to the win for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports in his No. 67 Mobil 1 Bullet by Spike/Toyota.
Seavey is now locked into Saturday’s pole shuffle and will make his second-career start in the championship A-main at the Chili Bowl.
“This is a bit relieving, because it’s so hard to make the finale here and you definitely don’t want to be in that B-main come Saturday, because it’s just as tough as the feature,” said Seavey. “To have the night we had … everything just fell into place, and that’s kind of what it takes with this race is for stuff to go your way. Everything went our way tonight.
“We didn’t run into any trouble, and obviously I had a great race car,” he added. “This is what these (KKM) cars are supposed to do and I’m glad we were able to get the job done tonight.”
Despite the box score, Seavey’s road to victory wasn’t completely effortless. He nearly ran into disaster while working traffic on the white-flag lap.
“That last lap was pretty scary for me,” Seavey said. “I took the white and dove to the bottom, because I thought that was the more clean lane — everybody was lined up on the top — but as soon as I went to the bottom, there was a car that had just broken.
“I had to swerve back to the top, and I didn’t know how far the guys were behind me. Then I had to follow another lapper into the last corner, and like I said, I didn’t know where the guys were behind me, so I didn’t know if they were ready to throw a slider and maybe hit the bottom real good on that last lap. Fortunately, we had a big enough lead that that little mishap didn’t cost us anything.”
With Seavey’s win Monday night, team owner Keith Kunz has now won four of the last five Chili Bowl preliminary features.
Seavey took off like a rocket from the drop of the initial green flag, running away from an early battle for second between Brad Sweet and Chase Briscoe that eventually saw Sweet gain the upper hand.
The feature’s first caution waved on lap eight for the stopped car of Hayden Williams in turn one, wiping out a one-second advantage for Seavey, but the leader was unfazed. He quickly dashed back away from Sweet on the ensuing restart, as Bacon began to apply pressure to Sweet for the runner-up position.
With only the top two finishers guaranteed to make the Saturday night finale, that battle took center stage as the race wore on.
Following a red flag at the halfway point for a multi-car accident in turns one and two, during which Tanner Carrick and Williams both got upside down, Bacon began to find his groove. He steadily closed on Sweet’s back bumper once racing resumed and was all over the No. 1R with five to go in the feature.
Finally, coming off turn four to the two-to-go signal, Bacon was able to pounce.
Bacon soared around the reigning Knoxville Nationals winner’s outside and never looked back, going on to secure second at the finish and earn a spot in the Saturday finale for the first time since 2013.
“I just got a good enough run off (turn) 2 from the bottom that I was able to slide up in front of him going into (turn) three and hold on from there,” noted Bacon. “This race has always been kind of a curse for me. Obviously, I grew up 25 minutes from here, and it’s one of the most important races of the year for me. I’ve always had really good luck at the Shootout … but I could never catch a break here.
“It’s just a relief to get through this night without any misfortune.”
Brad Sweet completed the podium but missed the cut to lock in, meaning he will start up front in one of Saturday’s twin B-mains. Jake Neuman and Briscoe trailed Sweet in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Trey Marcham, Travis Rilat, Zeb Wise, Paul Nienhiser and Sean McClelland completed the top 10.
To view complete results, advance to the next page.