Kyle Larson took the lead from Thomas Meseraull on lap nine and went on to win Tuesday night’s Warren CAT Qualifying Night feature and advance to Saturday’s A Main feature event at the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals with Meseraull placing second and Zach Daum coming home third. It marked Larson’s fourth consecutive preliminary night feature win.
With Cannon McIntosh winning on Monday night, Toyota-powered drivers have now won each of the week’s first two feature events and six of the last seven preliminary nights.
Starting from the pole position, Meseraull moved to the front quickly and led the first eight laps before Larson was able to master the low-side to take over the point position.
Shane Golobic would eventually move past Meseraull for second as the top three battled for much of the race in between frequent yellow flags. As the race hit the final laps, the leaders would enter lapped traffic nose-to-tail, but Golobic would get together with a lapped car bringing out another yellow as Meseraull moved into second and Daum climbing to third.
On the final restart, Meseraull closed on Larson’s tail, but didn’t have enough to pass him as Larson and Meseraull finished one-two to claim the two transfer positions directly into Saturday’s A Main.
Overall, eight Toyota-powered cars advanced to Tuesday’s A Main. After getting caught up in an incident during his qualifying race, Daison Pursley was forced to come up through the back of the B Main where he went from 11th to third. The 16-year-old followed that up by charging from 22nd to earn a ninth-place finish in A Main in his Chili Bowl debut.
Michael Faccinto would place 13th, followed by Jonathan Beason in 14th, Noah Harris was 15th and Tanner Carrick finished 18th to round out the Toyota contingent in the A Main.
Three-time Chili Bowl champion Christopher Bell captured the top spot in Tuesday’s Vacuworx International Race of Champions (VIROC). Bell overtook Tanner Thorson for the lead on lap 11 and led the final 15 laps on the way to the victory. It is his second straight VIROC title.
“It’s nice to win here again,” said Bell, who will run in Thursday’s preliminary event. “The track’s been really gnarly this week. We were able to go anywhere out there. Now we need to stay with the racetrack throughout the rest of the week.”
McIntosh would place second, Larson was third, with Daum and Justin Grant rounding out the top five in fourth and fifth.
This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features more than 310 entries - each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event. Qualifying continues for each of the next three nights with 14 Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify on Wednesday.