Beason Vows Return After Tulsa Shootout Heartbreak

Jonathan Beason, seen here during last year's Chili Bowl, finished second Saturday at the Tulsa Shootout in a controversial finish. (Jacob Seelman photo)

TULSA, Okla. — Jonathan Beason looked to be on his way to a Golden Driller in the premier Winged Outlaw class during Saturday’s Tulsa Shootout finale until one restart changed the course of his race.

Beason charged past race-long leader Joe B. Miller following a lap-43 restart, with Mitchel Moles following him through amid a three-wide battle down the back straightaway.

However, moments before that move, officials ruled that Beason advanced his position on Miller prior to the restart cone. That led to Beason being docked two positions by Tulsa Shootout rules.

The penalty was assessed during the next caution, which waved with four laps to go because of debris on the track, putting Beason in third for the final green flag of the night.

The Oklahoma native rallied back to second, but was unable to run down Moles, who was Beason’s teammate for the week in the Ten-J Chassis stable.

While understandably frustrated, Beason explained his side of the situation in a statement posted to his social media accounts on Sunday morning.

“My thoughts on the ruling are that I broke a rule I didn’t know,” wrote Beason. “People were pulling out of line all weeks on restarts, and when Joe B. [Miller] didn’t go I had a split (second) decision to keep from running into (him) and also not [to get] run over from behind. I even lifted once I was next to him to not make it as blatant. I’ll accept it but would like to know how a guy can drive through the infield and improve his position and I can’t even begin to make a pass for position.

“Seems like the racing is being taking out of racing.”

It was a pragmatic view compared to his post-race interview Saturday night, where Beason directly challenged the call made by race control that ultimately helped decide the outcome.

“I think they made the wrong call. I think a lot of people will agree,” Beason said in the immediate aftermath of the feature. “They’ve got it out for me; I don’t know what it is. I thought I drove a great race. Joe B. clearly had a problem on that start, so I moved over to keep from running over him and I didn’t hit the cone. I thought everything I did is what any other race car driver would do.

“I don’t think they can make judgment calls. They missed a call (Friday) with people driving through the infield, and then they want to make a call like that. I don’t think it’s right, but we’re not going to change it.

Among those to come to Beason’s defense after the event was longtime midget owner Keith Kunz, who wrote a reply to Beason’s initial Sunday statement on Twitter Sunday.

“If they want cars to stay in line at (the) cone, then they should have to stay nose to tail coming to the cone,” Kunz said. “If someone wants to get out of line, then fill the gap, (it’s) their loss. In your (Beason’s) situation, after a couple laps, it was evident that Joe B. had an issue that began at the restart. At that point it should have been a no call and no yellow.”

In spite of his frustration with the penalty, Beason vowed a return to the Tulsa Shootout in the future.

“I’m going to come back and we’re going to kick ass again next year,” he said. “Two seconds in a row is a pretty sick feeling, but we’ve got what I think is the fastest car in the building. We’ve just got to figure out how to get 55 and a half laps, I’d call that, put together and do it right.”