Kyle Larson won Tuesday’s Warren CAT Qualifying Night, while Christopher Bell took top honors in the evening’s Vacuworx International Race of Champions (VIROC). With the victories, both have earned a spot in Saturday’s A Main feature at the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
Toyota-powered drivers have now captured each of the first two qualifying nights after Cannon McIntosh won Monday night’s feature event. In addition, the manufacturer has now won six of the last seven preliminary night features.
Starting Tuesday’s main event from the outside of the front row, Larson immediately moved into the lead over pole-sitter Jonathan Beason. From that point on, the only thing that could slow him was a series of yellow flags. Only once did he have to hold off a challenge for the lead from Beason, but then was able to maneuver through traffic and extend his lead back out. He would eventually pull out to two-second advantage in leading all 30 laps for the victory.
Behind him, Toyota-powered drivers Michael Faccinto charged from 11th to finish third, while Dillon Welch climbed from 16th up to fourth. Both will start in the B Main on Saturday. Rounding out the Toyota contingent in the feature were Roger Crockett in 11th and Zeb Wise finished 23rd.
For the night, Larson swept his heat, qualifying and feature races. He has now won his preliminary Qualifying Night feature each of the last three years and has six for his career.
In the VIROC, Bell started from the seventh spot and maneuvered up into second place in the first 10 laps, before using a big slider to overtake Sam Hafertepe Jr. for the lead on lap 12. He then stretched out a four-second lead on the way to his first VIROC title.
“This was pretty sweet,” said Bell, the three-time defending Chili Bowl Nationals champion. “The Race of Champions has eluded me for a long time. I finally got it. I feel good heading into the rest of the week. We have some really good cars at Tucker-Boat. We saw what Aaron Reutzel did yesterday (third-place finish after dropping to 21st after getting caught up in an early incident) and how we were able to run tonight.”
Rico Abreu captured the second spot after starting 14th, with Larson in fourth, Zach Daum tenth, Reutzel in 13th and Brad Sweet 14th.
This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals feature more than 350 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event. Through the first two nights of action, three Toyota drivers have now clinched their berth in Saturday’s feature. Qualifying continues for each of the next four nights with 10 more Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify on Wednesday.