Carrick, Toyota Take Top Honors On Opening Night of 2022 Chili Bowl

Tanner Carrick took the lead with nine laps remaining and went on to win the 30-lap Cummins Qualifying Night and advance to Saturday’s A Main feature at the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

The victory is the first Chili Bowl preliminary night triumph for Carrick and his fifth national midget feature win. Toyota-powered drivers have now won six consecutive Chili Bowl qualifying night feature events. 

Starting from the inside of row two, Carrick was able to maintain the third position through the early going and by lap 10 the leaders began to encounter lapped traffic. After running the high side early, Carrick adjusted to run the bottom of the track and begin his charge toward the front of the field. 

As the race passed the midway point, he would overtake second place Jerry Coons Jr. and then began to close on Mitchell Moles for the top spot. Carrick would go low and overtake Moles for the lead on lap 22. Shortly afterward, Moles would get into the wall, moving Tyler Courtney up to second and Toyota driver Chase Johnson into third.

As the leaders stayed intact down the stretch, things were heating up further back as Cannon McIntosh was charging through the field. McIntosh had suffered a throttle problem in his opening heat race, which would send him to the C Main. He would advance through the C and B Mains and begin the A Main from the 19th position.

As the laps began to wind down, Carrick would lead them to the checkered flag with Courtney finishing second, followed by Johnson in third and David Gravel in fourth. McIntosh would claim the sixth position to give Toyota four of the top six finishers.

Overall, Toyota drivers earned seven top-10 finishing positions as Gary Taylor placed seventh, 13-year-old Gavan Boschele was eighth and Trey Marcham came home in tenth.

In addition to winning the night’s feature event, Toyota driver Justin Grant took home the victory in Monday’s Vacuworx International Race of Champions (VIROC). Grant led wire-to-wire, but had to hold off a late charge from Kyle Larson, with Christopher Bell placing third.

This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features 395 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event.  Qualifying continues for each of the next four nights with 13 more Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify on Tuesday.

Quotes:

Tanner Carrick, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “Tyler (Courtney) and I were stuck in traffic behind two lapped cars and they were going at it. One guy in front of me got into the wall, then the other almost hit the flag man and I look down and I see Tyler rolling the bottom and I knew I had to get around one of them or Tyler was going to get around me. So, I moved back to the bottom and we had a yellow come out and that kind of saved me. By that point, I decided I was just going to stick to the bottom because I wasn’t going anywhere up top. I wasn’t better than the guy in front of me. Then I closed in on Jerry (Coons) and Mitchell (Moles) while they were going at it. I was able to get around Jerry first and then right as I got around Mitchell, he got into the wall in turn four. This is a huge win. I’ve struggled here the past few years. We’ve always been fast, but we didn’t have the finishes to show the speed that we’ve had. My whole goal this weekend was just to lock into Saturday, and I didn’t want to do it by running second.”

TRD PR