Thursday Comeback Salvages Seavey’s Chili Bowl Hopes

Logan Seavey in action Thursday at Oklahoma's Tulsa Expo Raceway. (Adam Mollenkopf photo)

TULSA, Okla. — Logan Seavey salvaged his Saturday hopes with a 13th to sixth-place run during Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night feature at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Wheeling the famed No. 39 for Swindell Motorsports with Mike Curb, Seavey struggled through mediocre heat race and qualifier performances, but squeaked out enough passing points to lock into the 30-lapper and give himself a shot to move forward.

From there, it was about making up for a slow start, which Seavey did well enough to place himself into a B Main going into the alphabet soup program of feature races on Saturday at Tulsa Expo Raceway.

“I just got myself behind the 8-ball,” said Seavey. “We had decent heat. I felt like we got out of it OK and then we had a really ugly first lap of the qualifier. I started third and I feel like I made a good lap where I should have been leading … and I was fifth. Anyone who’s been here knows how big of a difference that makes. That took me from starting around the top five to 13th. I knew that as long as we were in the show and everything went smooth, we’d be able to race through there. Our cars are really, really good, and that’s all that really matters when it gets really slick.

“I think the bottom lasted a little bit longer than we thought it would tonight and that kind of hurt us a little bit because we’re really good late once the bottom comes back and it just took too long for the bottom to come back at the end,” Seavey added. “In that regard, I stuck on the bottom too long. I had to improvise a little bit and didn’t make the best decisions, but I knew as long as we were in contention for Saturday, we’d be good, and slotting into a B (Main) gives us that chance to be in the mix.”

Logan Seavey will look to race his way into the Chili Bowl Nationals finale on Saturday. (Jacob Seelman photo)

Seavey’s Chili Bowl run this week is the first time he’s been back with team owner Kevin Swindell since his debut with the team inside the River Spirit Expo Center one year ago.

Most of last season, Seavey was on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series trail with Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports and he didn’t get many chances to keep his midget driving skills fresh, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic scuttling many races that Seavey would have tried to run.

With that said, the Sutter, Calif., native believes a lot of what he learned last January in the Swindell No. 39 applied Thursday night during his preliminary — he just had to shake a little rust off, as well.

“I think a lot translates, but I also had a lot more practice in this thing coming into Chili Bowl last year, too,” Seavey noted. “Last year I got to run the Dome (Gateway Dirt Nationals) and then I got to go to New Zealand … obviously not in this thing, but I got to stay fresh with a midget. And I didn’t get that this year. I think I was eight or 10 races short, just from November to here. So I think that did cause me to be a little bit rusty.

“It was just that really bad lap on the first lap of the qualifier that kind of decided our fate for tonight. We had to salvage what we could instead of starting up front and racing for the win,” Seavey continued. “We had to start in the back and got as much as we could. The situation caused me to be too cautious and that’s why we didn’t get up far enough through the field. I was just a little bit too cautious at times.”

Seavey will look to transfer out of one of Saturday’s twin 22-lap B Mains in order to make his fourth straight feature start in the Super Bowl of Midget Racing. The top seven from each B Main will move on.

His best Chili Bowl finish of fourth came during last year’s race.

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