For the third time in as many nights, the checked flag waved on a first time prelim winner at the 28th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bow Nationals presented by General Tire as Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell led flag-to-flag in Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night A-Feature.

Bell’s win marks the second of the week for an Oklahoma driver, as Jonathan Beason topped Tuesday’s qualifying feature.

Asked of the ease of his night, Bell replied, “I don’t know if that was easy or not, but Keith definitely had me dialed in and the car drove itself around there. It was avoiding the lapped cars and not getting involved in anything stupid.”

Given his home town, Bell was asked just how special the prelim win was to him. “The Chili Bowl is the race to me. If there was one race I could run, it would be here, especially with it being in my home state. I guess this is one of the few time I get to race in Oklahoma, which is around my home crowd; it really is something special to me.”

In a race that took under five minutes to complete, the Norman, Okla. native hit slower traffic by the ninth round with a 1.506 second advantage over Damion Gardner. Able to slip the Keith Kunz No. 67k through the back markers, the Toyota powered entry raced into a roadblock with 11 laps remaining and Garner closing the gap.

“There was one time I passed the first lapped car and then he (Damion) moved to the bottom because he had been running the top and then he started keeping up with me,” said Bell of Gardner closing in. “I kept seeing his nose down there and I was like ‘Aw crap, Damion is down there’.”

As the non-stop run continued, Kevin Swindell was clawing his way through the field. Racing from a C-Feature after a flat tire forced the No. 39 to the pits in his Heat Race, Swindell broke the top ten on Lap 8. Steadily through the field, Kevin snagged fifth from Andrew Deal on the fifteenth circuit.

Into the final four laps, the top two steps on the podium remained unchanged as the pair continued to weave through traffic with the race for the final transfer into Saturday’s A-Feature shaping up between Michael Pickens and Kevin Swindell.

Throwing slide jobs on Lap 21 through turns three and four, Swindell nearly slid through the cushion, allowing the New Zealand shoe to drive back under for the bronze position.

“I wasn’t totally comfortable with the car and settled for third and happy to be locked in and then all of the sudden Kevin comes up inside of me,” commented Pickens of the exchange. “I had to get going and was lucky we had another 10-percent left and was able to shake him off.”

On Pickens again with three to go, Swindell would remain fourth as the pair closed on Gardner.

Mired in slower traffic, Christopher Bell managed to cross 2.850 ahead of Gardner. Pickens held the final step on the podium, sending Kevin Swindell into a B-Feature on Saturday with a fourth place finish after a B-Feature win gridded the No. 39 seventeenth. Pennsylvania’s Steve Buckwalter completed the top five.

Ninth starting Danny Stratton crossed sixth with Andrew Felker, Tracy Hines, Andrew Deal, and nineteenth starting Kevin Ramey completing the top ten.

Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night saw 70 drivers draw in.

Four Chili Bowl Rookies started the A-Feature with Dominic Scelzi crossing fourteenth, followed by Chad Boespflug in fifteenth. Heath Duinkerken was nineteenth with James Eden twenty-third.

The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire continues with Friday’s Vacuworx Global Qualifying Night. Races begin at 6:00 P.M. (CT) with Hot Laps at 5:00 P.M. For additional information on the Chili Bowl, log onto http://www.chilibowl.com.

Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night Results

Heat Races: 8 Laps - Top 40 in Passing Points advance to Qualifiers.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[1]; 2. 8L-Harli White[4]; 3. 82H-Mike Hess[3]; 4. 23-Jimmy Light[7]; 5. 91B-Kevin Bayer[6]; 6. 7J-Shawn Jackson[5]; 7. 27C-Kip Hughes[2]; 8. 7S-Kory Schudy[8]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 47-Damion Gardner[3]; 2. 19S-Richard VanderWeerd[7]; 3. 43-Dakoda Armstrong[1]; 4. 37-Brady Short[6]; 5. 27R-Kyle O'Gara[8]; 6. 87C-Coby Hughes[2]; 7. 11XC-Steve Newman[4]; 8. (DNF) 4M-Andee Beierle[5]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Christopher Bell[8]; 2. 2B-Bill Balog[2]; 3. 21H-Ty Hulsey[3]; 4. 71S-Sheldon Haudenschild[4]; 5. 4A-Aaron Pierce[7]; 6. 8CK-David Garbo Jr.[5]; 7. (DNF) 39-Kevin Swindell[1]; 8. (DNF) 35T-Tyler Robbins[6]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 56L-Danny Stratton[1]; 2. 7M-Kevin Ramey[5]; 3. 25J-Matt Juhl[6]; 4. 2S-Stratton Briggs[2]; 5. (DNF) 6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[3]; 6. (DNF) 0G-Glenn Styres[4]; 7. (DNF) 31J-Jimmy Elledge[8]; 8. (DNF) 7N-D.J. Netto[7]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 11A-Andrew Felker[2]; 2. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[4]; 3. 81-Heath Duinkerken[3]; 4. 35S-Matt Sherrell[7]; 5. 77K-Kevin Olson[6]; 6. 33D-Lee Dakus[1]; 7. D6-Dakota Gains[5]; 8. 20B-Carey Becker[8]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 17S-Dominic Scelzi[2]; 2. 68M-Tyler Edwards[7]; 3. 57B-Chad Boespflug[3]; 4. 6A-David Gough[8]; 5. 69-A.J. Fike[6]; 6. 31E-Evan Sewell[4]; 7. 21D-Justin Dickerson[1]; DNS 73-Jason McDougal

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 15D-Andrew Deal[1]; 2. 7L-Layne Himebaugh[2]; 3. 19P-Patrick Stasa[4]; 4. 62-Taylor Simas[6]; 5. 75X-Landon Simon[5]; 6. 14D-David McIntosh[8]; 7. 7D-Michelle Decker[7]; 8. (DNF) 40-Andy Huston[3]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 11-Chase Stockon[3]; 2. 5E-James Edens[6]; 3. 56X-Mark Chisholm[1]; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]; 5. 33-Davey Ray[7]; 6. 85-Matt Johnson[2]; 7. 11C-Chett Gehrke[5]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 24-Tracy Hines[1]; 2. 93-Dustin Morgan[2]; 3. 05J-Jason Johnson[3]; 4. 3T-Tim Barber[4]; 5. 17-Michael Koontz[7]; 6. 11H-Garett Hood[6]; 7. 10C-Dalton Camfield[5]

C-Features: 12 Laps - Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 39-Kevin Swindell[13]; 2. 75X-Landon Simon[3]; 3. 77K-Kevin Olson[1]; 4. 35T-Tyler Robbins[14]; 5. 0G-Glenn Styres[6]; 6. 2S-Stratton Briggs[2]; 7. 40-Andy Huston[15]; 8. 87C-Coby Hughes[7]; 9. 10C-Dalton Camfield[10]; 10. 7S-Kory Schudy[11]; 11. 27C-Kip Hughes[12]; 12. (DNF) 8CK-David Garbo Jr.[5]; 13. (DNF) 7D-Michelle Decker[8]; 14. (DNF) D6-Dakota Gains[9]; 15. (DNF) 11H-Garett Hood[4]

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[3]; 2. 7J-Shawn Jackson[4]; 3. 69-A.J. Fike[1]; 4. 11C-Chett Gehrke[9]; 5. 14D-David McIntosh[2]; 6. 7N-D.J. Netto[12]; 7. 31E-Evan Sewell[6]; 8. 85-Matt Johnson[7]; 9. 21D-Justin Dickerson[13]; 10. 20B-Carey Becker[11]; 11. 31J-Jimmy Elledge[5]; 12. 33D-Lee Dakus[8]; 13. 4M-Andee Beierle[14]; 14. (DNF) 11XC-Steve Newman[10]; 15. (DNF) 73-Jason McDougal[15]

Qualifiers: 10 Laps - Top 16 in combined Heat Race and Qualifier points advance to A-Feature.

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[3]; 2. 97-Christopher Bell[6]; 3. 7L-Layne Himebaugh[1]; 4. 17S-Dominic Scelzi[4]; 5. 11-Chase Stockon[5]; 6. 81-Heath Duinkerken[8]; 7. 71S-Sheldon Haudenschild[10]; 8. 62-Taylor Simas[7]; 9. 23-Jimmy Light[2]; 10. (DNF) 56X-Mark Chisholm[9]

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 93-Dustin Morgan[1]; 2. 56L-Danny Stratton[3]; 3. 8L-Harli White[4]; 4. 57B-Chad Boespflug[8]; 5. 35S-Matt Sherrell[2]; 6. 27R-Kyle O'Gara[7]; 7. 7M-Kevin Ramey[5]; 8. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[10]; 9. 4A-Aaron Pierce[9]; 10. 19S-Richard VanderWeerd[6].....15H penalized at the finish for hitting the cone on a restart.

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 15D-Andrew Deal[3]; 2. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[4]; 3. 5E-James Edens[6]; 4. 19P-Patrick Stasa[1]; 5. 3T-Tim Barber[10]; 6. 33-Davey Ray[9]; 7. 05J-Jason Johnson[8]; 8. 82H-Mike Hess[7]; 9. (DNF) 6A-David Gough[2]; 10. (DNF) 68M-Tyler Edwards[5]....05J penalized at the finish for hitting the cone at the restart.

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 24-Tracy Hines[3]; 2. 47-Damion Gardner[6]; 3. 11A-Andrew Felker[5]; 4. 37-Brady Short[1]; 5. 2B-Bill Balog[2]; 6. 17-Michael Koontz[9]; 7. 91B-Kevin Bayer[10]; 8. 25J-Matt Juhl[4]; 9. 21H-Ty Hulsey[7]; 10. 43-Dakoda Armstrong[8]

B-Main: 15 Laps - Top 4 advance to A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 39-Kevin Swindell[13]; 2. 7M-Kevin Ramey[2]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[8]; 4. 81-Heath Duinkerken[4]; 5. 91B-Kevin Bayer[6]; 6. 27R-Kyle O'Gara[5]; 7. 75X-Landon Simon[14]; 8. 77K-Kevin Olson[15]; 9. 35T-Tyler Robbins[16]; 10. 21H-Ty Hulsey[11]; 11. 05J-Jason Johnson[7]; 12. 56X-Mark Chisholm[12]; 13. (DNF) 23-Jimmy Light[10]; 14. (DNF) 17-Michael Koontz[3]; 15. (DNF) 19P-Patrick Stasa[1]

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 35S-Matt Sherrell[3]; 2. 19S-Richard VanderWeerd[6]; 3. 62-Taylor Simas[8]; 4. 37-Brady Short[1]; 5. 6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[13]; 6. 71S-Sheldon Haudenschild[5]; 7. 33-Davey Ray[2]; 8. 25J-Matt Juhl[7]; 9. 43-Dakoda Armstrong[12]; 10. 4A-Aaron Pierce[11]; 11. 6A-David Gough[10]; 12. 82H-Mike Hess[9]; 13. 69-A.J. Fike[15]; 14. 7J-Shawn Jackson[14]; 15. (DNF) 2B-Bill Balog[4]; 16. (DNF) 11C-Chett Gehrke[16]

A-Feature: 25 Laps - Top 3 lock into Saturday's Championship Feature.

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 97-Christopher Bell[1]; 2. 47-Damion Gardner[2]; 3. 63NZ-Michael Pickens[4]; 4. 39-Kevin Swindell[17]; 5. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[7]; 6. 56L-Danny Stratton[9]; 7. 11A-Andrew Felker[8]; 8. 24-Tracy Hines[6]; 9. 15D-Andrew Deal[5]; 10. 7M-Kevin Ramey[19]; 11. 93-Dustin Morgan[11]; 12. 8L-Harli White[10]; 13. 11-Chase Stockon[14]; 14. 17S-Dominic Scelzi[13]; 15. 57B-Chad Boespflug[12]; 16. 19S-Richard VanderWeerd[20]; 17. 35S-Matt Sherrell[18]; 18. 62-Taylor Simas[22]; 19. 81-Heath Duinkerken[23]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 37-Brady Short[24]; 22. 3T-Tim Barber[16]; 23. 5E-James Edens[3]; 24. 7L-Layne Himebaugh[15]

Lap Leader(s): Christopher Bell (1-25)

Christopher Bell Unstoppable in Chili Bowl Qualifier
Bell the Third-Straight First-Time Prelim WInner in Tulsa
Chili Bowl press release