TULARE, Calif. – Cory Eliason led the final six laps of the main Friday to claim victory in the second preliminary night for the 24th annual Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway.
Battling fellow front row starter Tanner Thorson, Eliason overcame a large deficit while chasing the leader for many laps to enable his winning move.
An 83-car field returned from opening night action, switching the two qualifying groups and reversing the order within each group. A much quicker track than Thursday led to Terry McCarl (13.909) and Dominic Scelzi (13.952) claiming fast time honors and the accompanying 150 points.
Eight heat races invert six by points and moved the winner and highest point car directly to the night’s 30-lap main. For the second night, two talent filled B mains offered excellent racing while moving the top four to the finale.
Inverting 12 by points worked well for Thorson and Eliason with their front row assignments while Carson Macedo and Jonathan Allard filled row six due to being the top point cars.
A track that was rough in areas added a further challenge but the front row plus Jason Meyers were able to hold a top three spot for all 30 laps. Eliason led a lap before Thorson used a low side drive out of turn two to lead from the second lap until Eliason’s winning pass.
Meyers shuffled Eliason back to third for a while until a top side drive leaving turn four put the eventual winner back in the runner-up spot. Thorson had a sizable lead at the halfway point, but Eliason steadily closed over the next nine laps until they nearly collided coming to the line to end lap 24.
As the lead duo raced out of turn two on the following lap, Eliason got the drive to beat Thorson to turn three and make his winning pass. Thorson held off Meyers to finish second while Meyers was third ahead of D.J. Netto and Steven Tiner.
Saturday will have no qualifying as heats will be lined up by points. The top 48 cars will race fully inverted heats, awarding more points. The top 20 in points following the heats go directly to the 50-lap finale to determine Cup champion.
Top-10 in points (uses the better of the two prelim nights): Jason Solwold 277, Joey Saldana 274, Cory Eliason 271, Dominic Scelzi 271, Tanner Thorson 268, Carson Macedo 268, Jason Meyers 268, Shane Golobic 267, D.J. Netto 266, Steven Tiner 266.
Cory Eliason, Tanner Thorson, Jason Meyers, D.J. Netto, Steven Tiner, Michael Kofoid, Jonathan Allard, Willie Croft, Sean Becker, Carson Macedo, Tony Gualda, Jason Statler, Chase Goetz, Colton Hardy, Ryan Bernal, Tim Crawley, Gio Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Kyle Hirst, Trey Starks, Jake Morgan, Jason Solwold.