Alex Bright wins a close one in Chili Bowl opener

BY Chase Wilhelm • January 13, 2016

Pennsylvania's Alex Bright held off Indiana's Joey Saldana at the finish line to win the 30th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals opener in Tulsa on Tuesday.

"Absolutely amazing," Bright said of his victory. "This possibly tops as one of the best wins of my career, if not it definitely ties the one big race in Australia I won, but Saturday would definitely top them all. This is big for me."

Starting from the eight spot, Bright worked his way up into the top five only six laps into the event. By lap 9, Bright took over the third position before the caution came out on Lap 11 for NASCAR driver Kyle Larson. Larson was leading when he spun to a stop after avoiding a stalled car off the exit of the second turn.

Bright would continue to hold his own up front throughout the race. The caution flew once again on Lap 21 for a flip in the fourth turn. After the restart, Jonathan Beason slammed the cushion in turn four, causing Spencer Bayston to also come to a stop. During the next restart, Beason would try the same move again, which allowed Saldana to move into second.

"I don't know how in the hell to drive these racecars to tell you the truth," Saldana said. "It's just an honor to race a midget with these guys.

Last year I finished fourth, so I missed it by one. Just putting yourself in the show, I've never done that before, so for me it's a huge honor to say I get to race the A Main on Saturday night."

2016 Chili Bowl opener results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 5D-Zach Daum[5]; 2. 4H-Tom Harris[3]; 3. 17J-Chase Johnson[7]; 4. 22E-Cameron Hagin[6]; 5. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[4]; 6. 30T-Larry Bratti[1]; 7. (DNF) 7W-Kory Schudy[8]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 1PW-Paul White[3]; 2. 3C-Raven Culp[1]; 3. 44X-Wesley Smith[8]; 4. 55-Nick Knepper[6]; 5. 35F-Michael Faccinto[7]; 6. 44J-Jared Sewell[2]; 7. 10-George White[5]; 8. 0B-A.J. Johnson[4]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 39B-Spencer Bayston[3]; 2. 3N-Jake Neuman[2]; 3. 7H-Darren Hagen[6]; 4. 45X-C.J. Johnson[7]; 5. 6C-Jeff Flesher[8]; 6. 17KT-Joe Janowski[5]; 7. 59-Richard Harvey Jr[4]; 8. 56Z-Mindy McCord[1]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 8J-Jonathan Beason[8]; 2. 5$-Danny Smith[1]; 3. 51J-R.J. Johnson[7]; 4. 12K-Zac Taylor[2]; 5. 99-Kevin Chaffee[5]; 6. 96-Cody Brewer[3]; 7. 19N-Nick O'Neal[6]; 8. 26-Dustin Golobic[4]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 0T-Tyler Brehm[2]; 2. 11C-Chett Gehrke[6]; 3. 00-Chase Briscoe[1]; 4. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[8]; 5. (DNF) 2S-Travis Scott[5]; 6. (DNF) 3M-Brent Rees[3]; 7. (DNF) 37T-Tim Kent[4]; 8. (DNF) 05-Brad Loyet[7]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 93-Dustin Morgan[1]; 2. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr[4]; 3. 17-Joey Saldana[3]; 4. 2-Ryan Hall[2]; 5. 23-Jimmy Light[7]; 6. 77X-Katlynn Leer[8]; 7. 14T-Tony Rossi[5]; 8. (DNF) 32A-Garrett Aitken[6]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 14W-Matt Westfall[2]; 2. 91A-Chris Andrews[1]; 3. 53H-Austin Archdale[4]; 4. 17E-Blake Edwards[5]; 5. 3T-Tim Barber[7]; 6. 5J-Jeff Crook[8]; 7. 76J-David Jones[6]; 8. 5BB-Bobby Brewer[3]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 57B-Chad Boespflug[1]; 2. 77B-Alex Bright[5]; 3. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[3]; 4. 11A-Andrew Felker[4]; 5. 4M-J.J. Ercse[7]; 6. 81-Jerry Hammock[2]; 7. 9H-Holly Porter[6]; 8. (DNF) 0K-Don O'Keefe Jr[8]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 2. 71K-Kyle Larson[7]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]; 4. 2D-Steve Davis[2]; 5. 7SS-Wade Seiler[5]; 6. 46-Kenney Johnson[3]; 7. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[6]

Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. 78-Nick Wean[1]; 2. 88T-Tyler Nelson[4]; 3. 7RS-Merril Lamb[7]; 4. (DNF)

35X-Zach Hampton[6]; 5. (DNF) 98-Jarid Blondel[2]; 6. (DNF) 0Z-Joe Rinne[3]; 7. (DNF) P40-Aaron Dromgoole[5]

Heat 11 (8 Laps): 1. 55B-Alex Bowman[4]; 2. 35M-Matt Sherrell[7]; 3. 73T-Trey Marcham[6]; 4. 9U-Doug McCune[1]; 5. 5C-Colten Cottle[5]; 6. 21T-Ty Hulsey[2]; 7. 3-Dustin Weland[3]

D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature.

D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 21T-Ty Hulsey[1]; 2. 0G-Glenn Styres[8]; 3. 10-George White[4]; 4. 32A-Garrett Aitken[9]; 5. 9H-Holly Porter[3]; 6. 37T-Tim Kent[6]; 7. 56Z-Mindy McCord[11]; 8. 19N-Nick O'Neal[2]; 9. (DNF) 26-Dustin Golobic[10]; 10. (DNF) 7W-Kory Schudy[7]; DNS P40-Aaron Dromgoole

D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 05-Brad Loyet[8]; 2. 14T-Tony Rossi[4]; 3. 76J-David Jones[2]; 4. 5BB-Bobby Brewer[10]; 5. 3-Dustin Weland[6]; 6. 30T-Larry Bratti[1]; 7. 0K-Don O'Keefe Jr[7]; 8. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[3]; 9. (DNF) 59-Richard Harvey Jr[5]; 10. (DNF) 0B-A.J. Johnson[9]

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 35F-Michael Faccinto[1]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[3]; 3. 2-Ryan Hall[4]; 4. 96-Cody Brewer[10]; 5. 3T-Tim Barber[2]; 6. 5C-Colten Cottle[8]; 7. 0G-Glenn Styres[14]; 8. 2S-Travis Scott[7]; 9. 9U-Doug McCune[6]; 10. 46-Kenney Johnson[11]; 11. 98-Jarid Blondel[9]; 12. (DNF) 21T-Ty Hulsey[13]; 13. (DNF) 77X-Katlynn Leer[5]; 14. (DNF) 44J-Jared Sewell[12]

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 23-Jimmy Light[1]; 2. 05-Brad Loyet[13]; 3. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[8]; 4. 99-Kevin Chaffee[6]; 5. 81-Jerry Hammock[12]; 6. 14T-Tony Rossi[14]; 7. 12K-Zac Taylor[3]; 8. 4M-J.J. Ercse[2]; 9. 5J-Jeff Crook[5]; 10. 17KT-Joe Janowski[9]; 11. 0Z-Joe Rinne[11]; 12. 7SS-Wade Seiler[7]; 13. (DNF) 2D-Steve Davis[4]; 14. (DNF) 3M-Brent Rees[10]

Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature.

Q1 (10 Laps): 1. 39B-Spencer Bayston[4]; 2. 57B-Chad Boespflug[1]; 3. 8J-Jonathan Beason[6]; 4. 17-Joey Saldana[10]; 5. 22E-Cameron Hagin[9]; 6. 4H-Tom Harris[7]; 7. 55B-Alex Bowman[5]; 8. 88T-Tyler Nelson[2]; 9. 7RS-Merril Lamb[3]; 10. (DNF) 5$-Danny Smith[8]

Q2 (10 Laps): 1. 7H-Darren Hagen[2]; 2. 77B-Alex Bright[4]; 3. 5D-Zach Daum[6]; 4. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 5. 0T-Tyler Brehm[3]; 6. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[10]; 7. 55-Nick Knepper[9]; 8. 91A-Chris Andrews[8]; 9. 45X-C.J. Johnson[7]; 10. (DNF) 11C-Chett Gehrke[5]

Q3 (10 Laps): 1. 71K-Kyle Larson[6]; 2. 44X-Wesley Smith[5]; 3. 78-Nick Wean[1]; 4. 14W-Matt Westfall[3]; 5. 73T-Trey Marcham[2]; 6. 17J-Chase Johnson[4]; 7. 53H-Austin Archdale[8]; 8. 17E-Blake Edwards[10]; 9. 3N-Jake Neuman[7]; 10. 35X-Zach Hampton[9]

Q4 (10 Laps): 1. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr[3]; 2. 35M-Matt Sherrell[6]; 3. 1PW-Paul White[5]; 4. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[1]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[4]; 6. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[8]; 7. 93-Dustin Morgan[2]; 8. 6C-Jeff Flesher[9]; 9. 00-Chase Briscoe[10]; 10. 3C-Raven Culp[7]

B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[14]; 3. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[2]; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[5]; 5. 91A-Chris Andrews[8]; 6. 00-Chase Briscoe[11]; 7. 55B-Alex Bowman[3]; 8. 3N-Jake Neuman[10]; 9. 96-Cody Brewer[16]; 10. 4H-Tom Harris[4]; 11. 88T-Tyler Nelson[7]; 12. 35F-Michael Faccinto[13]; 13. 7RS-Merril Lamb[9]; 14.

35X-Zach Hampton[12]; 15. (DNF) 53H-Austin Archdale[6]; 16. (DNF) 2-Ryan Hall[15]

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[2]; 2. 0T-Tyler Brehm[1]; 3. 55-Nick Knepper[5]; 4. 17J-Chase Johnson[4]; 5. 73T-Trey Marcham[3]; 6. 93-Dustin Morgan[6]; 7. 11C-Chett Gehrke[8]; 8. 23-Jimmy Light[13]; 9. 05-Brad Loyet[14]; 10. 3C-Raven Culp[12]; 11. 6C-Jeff Flesher[7]; 12. 99-Kevin Chaffee[16]; 13. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[15]; 14. 5$-Danny Smith[11]; 15. 17E-Blake Edwards[10]; 16. 45X-C.J. Johnson[9]

VIROC VIII

VIROC VIII (20 Laps): 1. 67-Tanner Thorson[4]; 2. 71K-Kyle Larson[5]; 3. 24-Tracy Hines[1]; 4. 63-Bryan Clauson[12]; 5. 71-Christopher Bell[16]; 6. 15X-Chad Boat[9]; 7. 6K-Dave Darland[7]; 8. 67Z-Kasey Kahne[8]; 9. 47-Danny Stratton[2]; 10. 47X-Tim McCreadie[3]; 11. 5-Jerry Coons Jr[6]; 12. 97-Rico Abreu[17]; 13. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[10]; 14. 21K-Cory Kruseman[14]; 15. 4-Damion Gardner[13]; 16. 05-Brad Loyet[19]; 17. 22H-John Heydenreich[11]; 18. (DNF) 1-Sammy Swindell[18]; 19. (DNF) 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr[15]

A-Feature: Top 3 advance to Saturday's A-Feature.

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 77B-Alex Bright[8]; 2. 17-Joey Saldana[11]; 3. 5D-Zach Daum[5]; 4. 8J-Jonathan Beason[2]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[16]; 6. 57B-Chad Boespflug[12]; 7. 35M-Matt Sherrell[3]; 8. 11A-Andrew Felker[19]; 9. 71K-Kyle Larson[1]; 10. 99P-Dillon Welch[17]; 11. 14W-Matt Westfall[14]; 12. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[18]; 13. 17J-Chase Johnson[24]; 14. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr[7]; 15. 39B-Spencer Bayston[4]; 16. 78-Nick Wean[13]; 17. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[21]; 18. 55-Nick Knepper[22]; 19. 0T-Tyler Brehm[20]; 20. 1PW-Paul White[10]; 21. (DNF) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[23]; 22. (DNF) 7H-Darren Hagen[9]; 23. (DNF) 22E-Cameron Hagin[15]; 24. (DNF) 44X-Wesley Smith[6]

Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson 1-11; Alex Bright 12-25

Hard Charger: R.J. Johnson +11



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