By Patrick Stephan
Well, Friday was a little on the long side (like most of my race days), but certainly a lot of fun and very interesting. I initially wrote this in pretty much chronological order, but, then things got weird and long, so I’ll put out the news first and save some other pieces for later.
Let’s start on a positive note: Bryan Clauson won Friday’s qualifying night races, locking him in to Saturday’s A-main. Clauson will again run the Indy 500 in 2016 for Jonathan Byrd’s Racing in partnership with Dale Coyne. On top of that, he’s planning to run a couple hundred other events, winning on Friday night gets that off to a good start.
The full results from tonight are at the bottom of this story.
Ok, now the weird parts.
The Tulsa Expo Center raceway tractor driver got in to a confrontation with a fan who was heckling him. The tractor driver in this case was Tony Stewart, who isn’t running short track events these days (he will resume in 2017 after concluding his full-time NASCAR career in 2016). Stewart went in the stands to chat with the fan (who appears in the video to be a little on the tipsy side), and as words were exchanged, it looks like Tony puts his hands on the guy, who reciprocates. At that point a security guard who was on scene pushed the guy a little harder and he leaned back (kinda sat, kinda fell) on to his grandstand seat.
Stewart moved closer to chat with the guy further and then it appears the situation resolved and Tony went back to working on the race track.
More on this one (including a couple videos) at: NBCSports.com
My opinion on this confrontation, which I did not witness in person: First, Tony shouldn’t go in to the stands ever, even if he is smiling as he walks up the grandstand to chat. BUT!!! People shouldn’t yell stuff repeatedly at someone, either. And word is he also showed my Stewart the “bird.”
The real bottom line though is that WAY more will be made of this incident than it deserves. Really doesn’t seem like a big deal, except its Tony Stewart. That brings out people that love him and hate him and with his past “anger” issues, it’s just not good for Tony, so again, he just has to avoid the situation, even though the rest of us would probably not hear much flack if we were to be involved in something similar.
Now, the next crazy thing that happened can be filed under, “huh?”
Just before the Friday night feature, the car #20a that was assigned Alex Shanks as the driver turned out to have been driven by Shane Cockrum. That of course got Cockrum disqualified from tonight’s results and he’s out for the rest of the 2016 Chili Bowl.
Cockrum had already raced in Wednesday’s qualifying night and you don’t get to race more than one car here (if that were allowed, they’d have 600 entries). Not sure on the “why?” for Cockrum and Shanks came tried this plan, but it didn’t work. And that’s not surprising. Even with the large field, it seems like everyone here knows everyone else, or knows someone that knows someone, so this didn’t seem like a great idea in the first place. We can start with its just plain wrong, but the idea really goes downhill due to the low probability of it actually working.
Now, maybe there is some other explanation that makes more sense (though it’s still wrong), but I haven’t seen that anywhere just yet.
Update: We did get the explanation from Shane this morning on his twitter account, “I sincerely apologize for my actions this evening. It was solely my decision and just in fun to create Chili Bowl excitement”
And ok, that is just as good an explanation as you’d expect here where crazy things not only happen, but to some degree they are pretty much expected. And next….
On the track, the racing was great as usual here, and the show moved along pretty well. They did stop a few times as is expected to re-work the surface and they seemed to have it fairly well handled on Friday. I’d heard Tuesday and Wednesday they did that even more often, and the track stayed super fast all night, which actually made it even harder for passing. Which led to even more bumping and wheel banging. It’s a tough decision for the promoters. They need to let the track wear out a little to get decent passing, but too much and they’ll “lose it” and then we get dry-slick and no passing. Gotta say though they do a good job for the most part making it about as fair as possible given the situation.
Now, some of the background stuff (partial listing, I have a notebook full of stuff on who I saw, talked with, talked about, etc.)
First off, I got on the plane in Denver and got my first pleasant surprise of the day – a Southwest plane with just 83 passengers. That was way undersold, and probably the least crowded flight in recent memory. Last time I saw this many open seats was a flight to Japan (for the IndyCar Series race) during the SARS outbreak.
It is interesting that even with a whole bunch of race fans and race teams here (over 330+ entries alone), my rental car was a TOTAL of $28.00 for the weekend (including tax), and the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport was right at $100.00 a night (pretty reasonable for that chain).
Now, once you get to the Tulsa Expo Center some of the low price stuff goes away. My two day pit pass was also a nice even $100.00.
After plopping that money down and signing the release, I walked into the 448,000 square foot Expo Center and found myself in the middle of the trade show. Of course, I’d planned to be on the lookout for something IndyCar related and it took all of 5 seconds to find it. The immediate winner was a Pippa Mann firesuit hanging at the Hinchman display.
Then, walking another 20 feet, I ran in to the PXP Racewear booth – being manned by PXP owners Terri and Dave “Poppy” Popielarz. Terri is a racer, and she’s married to one also. Poppy is a veteran IndyCar mechanic/crew chief and all around good guy is the team manager of Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights program. When not at the shop or the race track, clearly, you can find the Polielarz at the shop or a race track. Dave races a dirt modified and Terri herself has an extensive racing background in addition to running the safety clothing company.
As Steve noted in his Indy Light’s run down, Andretti will run two full-time entries in 2016 for Shelby and Dalton Kellett, and it looking at additional entries if possible. Poppy confirmed that the team does have three Dallara IL-15 chassis now.
After a nice conversation with “Poppy” and looking over the very nice fire-resistant clothing available at PXP Racewear I walked through the gate in the pits and immediately to my left were the Sarah Fisher Racing development cars for Sarah and Kyle O’Gara. I didn’t see Sarah at that time, but my Indy related chance meetings continued anyway.
I ran in to Chris Jones, staff photographer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar, and he is filing a blog and shooting pictures this week at the Chili Bowl. Go to http://blog.ims.com/
I would also run in to veteran open wheel reporters Dave Argabright and Robin Miller in the pit area.
Later in the day I was able to talk with Sarah Fisher and she told me that she was having a fun running the dirt midget, but she still didn’t have much experience in the car. This was just her second time in the dirt midget (the first was here last winter). She thought she was too timid last year and might have gone too aggressive this year. Interesting in that I remember seeing Sarah running the pavement midget back in the day at PPIR and she was wicked fast. That led in part to her making the move to IndyCar’s – first at Texas Motor Speedway. I think I still have the T-shirt I bought from her mom at that race.
Sarah ran in the Thursday night qualifying program, finishing 6th in her heat race after starting 7th and then 7th in the C-main.
Now might be a good time to explain how this works. First, there are 300+ entries so clearly everyone can’t race on the same day (well, until tomorrow). 80+ entries run each of the four qualifying nights (Tuesday through Friday nights).
There is a draw each night, which slots the drivers in to their heat race starting positions. And this may be one of the most important parts of week for many. How the rest of your week goes starts with how many passing points you can earn in your heat race. There will be 10-12 heat races a night, so figure around 8 cars in each heat. Start last and pass a five cars and you have picked up considerable passing points. The sweet spot seems to be starting something like fourth and winning your heat.
What you don’t want is what happened to the TSO sponsored entry of Chris Sheil. He ran Wednesday and got spun and then hit in his heat race – breaking a radius rod and picking up a DNF. Negative passing points – ouch!
The top 40 in passing points in the heat races go to the four qualifying races later in the night. The remainder of the field is assigned (based on points) to a pair of D and C-mains. From there, you have to race your way forward, with a two cars from each D moving on to the respective C features, and the remainder of the field then left to see what points they picked up as that will apply to Saturday night’s “seeding”. The top two from the C’s move to the B feature’s.
The B’s and most of the A is the remainder of the drivers who scored better points in their heats.
See it’s simple. EXCEPT there are 300+ cars here! That means Saturday’s racing program will start promptly well before noon with the first of 2 N-mains. If you had a bad qualifying night, or even just bad luck that night (Chris Sheil told me he got spun in every race he ran, including the D), then you can make it all better by finishing in the top 4 in the N main, then doing it again in the M main and so on until you can just finish in the top 6 in the D, C, and B-main’s. And bingo – you are in the feature along with the 12 drivers that locked in earlier in the week. Easy as a Frito Pie – yes, I had one of these. Yes, it was yummy! No, it’s not good for you!
Ok, check out the Friday night results, and the Saturday line-ups and I’ll be back sometime after midnight with the full rundown of Saturday’s action.
Chris is starting today in the M-main, and Sarah Fisher will go off 6th in an I-main, followed by her teammate Kyle O’Gara in 8th, and IndyCar mechanic Anton Julian in 9th.
Other IndyCar related notables include, Davey Ray who told me his Freedom 100 bid is progressing (more on that in a later update), as he starts 9th in an F-Feature. Dillon Welch had a pretty good qualifying night and he’ll start 14th in B-Feature #1. Getting to 6th will be tough, but there are sure to be lots of cautions – he just has to stay out of them as he tries to make it to one of the 6 spots that will get him in to the A-main.
1/15/2016 at Tulsa Expo Raceway
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 63-Bryan Clauson; 2. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 3. 67Z-Kasey Kahne; 4. 21-Daryn Pittman; 5. 17G-Shane Golobic; 6. 71G-Damion Gardner; 7. 67-Tanner Thorson; 8. 15X-Chad Boat; 9. 73X-Jac Haudenschild; 10. 05H-Hunter Schuerenberg; 11. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 12. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 13. 14-Trevor Kobylarz; 14. 11AG-Dave Darland; 15. 27T-Tucker Klaasmeyer; 16. 35S-Danny Faria Jr; 17. 51W-Danny Sheridan; 18. 15-Tim Siner; 19. 9K-Kyle Schuett; 20. 31B-David Budres; 21. 80-Josh Hawkins; 22. 98D-Clinton Boyles; 23. (DNF) 88N-D.J. Netto; DNS 20A-Alex Shanks…The 20a was found out to be Shane Cockrum, not Alex Shanks. Because of this, Shane has been DQ’d for the 2016 Chili Bowl Nationals.
B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 35S-Danny Faria Jr; 2. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 3. 51W-Danny Sheridan; 4. 11AG-Dave Darland; 5. 57T-Tyler Edwards; 6. 37F-Bill Balog; 7. 20-Tadd Holliman; 8. 20S-Shon Deskins; 9. 7E-Cory Eliason; 10. 33-Davey Ray; 11. 25M-Derrick Myers; 12. 77D-Dean Drake Jr; 13. 88D-Rusty Dukes; 14. 13W-Tommy White; 15. 75X-Matt Mitchell; 16. (DNF) 5F-Rik Forbes
B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 27T-Tucker Klaasmeyer; 2. 98D-Clinton Boyles; 3. 9K-Kyle Schuett; 4. 31B-David Budres; 5. 100-Shane Stewart; 6. 51JR-Ryan Jamison; 7. 87F-Brian McClelland; 8. 1A-Kevin Ramey; 9. 32D-Danny Jennings; 10. 24F-Hunter Fischer; 11. 11K-Gavin Harlien; 12. 6-Bill Rose; 13. 19-Jake Bubak; 14. (DNF) 11E-Cory Elliott; 15. (DNF) 19P-Alex Hill; 16. (DNF) 2ND-Jeb Sessums
C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 77D-Dean Drake Jr; 2. 7E-Cory Eliason; 3. 20S-Shon Deskins; 4. 75X-Matt Mitchell; 5. 15F-Aaron Farney; 6. 57M-Landon Simon; 7. 7M-Anton Julian; 8. 14S-Steve Schaberg; 9. 5B-Andee Beierle; 10. 48-Taylor Forbes; 11. 9D-Sean Dodenhoff; 12. 1B-Chris Windom; 13. 22D-David Stephenson; 14. 22H-John Heydenreich
C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 6-Bill Rose; 2. 11K-Gavin Harlien; 3. 51JR-Ryan Jamison; 4. 24F-Hunter Fischer; 5. 15B-Danny Burke; 6. 01J-David Ferguson; 7. 0-Johnny Murdock; 8. 1P-Terry Nichols; 9. 74-Zach Merritt; 10. 83S-Shane Weeks; 11. 04-Marcus Thomas; 12. 101-Chuck McGillivray; 13. 83G-Matt Gilbert; 14. (DNF) 20X-Noah Harris
D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 57M-Landon Simon; 2. 15F-Aaron Farney; 3. 1TS-Tyler Shoemaker; 4. 59E-Dex Eaton; 5. 50LP-Michael Sosebee; 6. 69P-Colby Estes; 7. 71.5-Robert Bell; 8. 9M-Cory Mallo; 9. 5M-Sean Murphy; 10. (DNF) 53-Brett Thomas; DNS 76-Brad Noffsinger
D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 04-Marcus Thomas; 2. 24F-Hunter Fischer; 3. 10X-Danny Smith; 4. 17S-Ryan Secrest; 5. 7T-Jack Hawley; 6. 11Y-Travis Young; 7. D6-Dakota Gaines; 8. 6B-Brad Kraus; DNS 85H-Shane Hollingsworth; DNS 52C-Isaac Chapple
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 17G-Shane Golobic; 2. 31B-David Budres; 3. 11E-Cory Elliott; 4. 32D-Danny Jennings; 5. 83S-Shane Weeks; 6. 51JR-Ryan Jamison; 7. 69P-Colby Estes; 8. 71.5-Robert Bell
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 71G-Damion Gardner; 2. 9K-Kyle Schuett; 3. 1A-Kevin Ramey; 4. 2ND-Jeb Sessums; 5. 6-Bill Rose; 6. 1P-Terry Nichols; 7. 9M-Cory Mallo; DNS 76-Brad Noffsinger
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 63-Bryan Clauson; 2. 05H-Hunter Schuerenberg; 3. 88D-Rusty Dukes; 4. 14-Trevor Kobylarz; 5. 14S-Steve Schaberg; 6. (DNF) 7E-Cory Eliason; 7. (DNF) 85H-Shane Hollingsworth; 8. (DNF) 04-Marcus Thomas
Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 73X-Jac Haudenschild; 2. 87F-Brian McClelland; 3. 25M-Derrick Myers; 4. 15B-Danny Burke; 5. 101-Chuck McGillivray; 6. 20X-Noah Harris; 7. 11Y-Travis Young; 8. (DNF) 59E-Dex Eaton
Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 27T-Tucker Klaasmeyer; 2. 20-Tadd Holliman; 3. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 4. 51W-Danny Sheridan; 5. 9D-Sean Dodenhoff; 6. 0-Johnny Murdock; 7. 6B-Brad Kraus; 8. (DNF) 7T-Jack Hawley
Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 15-Tim Siner; 2. 67Z-Kasey Kahne; 3. 19P-Alex Hill; 4. 13W-Tommy White; 5. 01J-David Ferguson; 6. 83G-Matt Gilbert; 7. 57M-Landon Simon; 8. (DNF) 24F-Hunter Fischer
Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 5F-Rik Forbes; 2. 80-Josh Hawkins; 3. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 4. 100-Shane Stewart; 5. 74-Zach Merritt; 6. 48-Taylor Forbes; 7. 10X-Danny Smith; 8. 17S-Ryan Secrest
Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 21-Daryn Pittman; 2. 57T-Tyler Edwards; 3. 88N-D.J. Netto; 4. (DNF) 5B-Andee Beierle; 5. (DNF) 7M-Anton Julian; 6. (DNF) 5M-Sean Murphy; 7. (DNF) 53-Brett Thomas
Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 15X-Chad Boat; 2. 67-Tanner Thorson; 3. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 4. 77D-Dean Drake Jr; 5. 22D-David Stephenson; 6. 11K-Gavin Harlien; 7. D6-Dakota Gaines; 8. 1TS-Tyler Shoemaker
Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. 19-Jake Bubak; 2. 35S-Danny Faria Jr; 3. 33-Davey Ray; 4. 22H-John Heydenreich; 5. 1B-Chris Windom; 6. (DNF) 75X-Matt Mitchell; DNS 52C-Isaac Chapple
Heat 11 (8 Laps): 1. 37F-Bill Balog; 2. 11AG-Dave Darland; 3. 20A-Alex Shanks; 4. 98D-Clinton Boyles; 5. 20S-Shon Deskins; 6. 15F-Aaron Farney; 7. (DNF) 50LP-Michael Sosebee
Q1 (10 Laps): 1. 15X-Chad Boat; 2. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 3. 71G-Damion Gardner; 4. 67-Tanner Thorson; 5. 51W-Danny Sheridan; 6. 15-Tim Siner; 7. 20-Tadd Holliman; 8. 13W-Tommy White; 9. 57T-Tyler Edwards; 10. 11AG-Dave Darland
Q2 (10 Laps): 1. 63-Bryan Clauson; 2. 05H-Hunter Schuerenberg; 3. 88N-D.J. Netto; 4. 80-Josh Hawkins; 5. 27T-Tucker Klaasmeyer; 6. 19-Jake Bubak; 7. 98D-Clinton Boyles; 8. 32D-Danny Jennings; 9. 1A-Kevin Ramey; 10. (DNF) 100-Shane Stewart
Q3 (10 Laps): 1. 17G-Shane Golobic; 2. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 3. 14-Trevor Kobylarz; 4. 67Z-Kasey Kahne; 5. 35S-Danny Faria Jr; 6. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 7. 5F-Rik Forbes; 8. 2ND-Jeb Sessums; 9. 31B-David Budres; 10. 88D-Rusty Dukes
Q4 (10 Laps): 1. 73X-Jac Haudenschild; 2. 20A-Alex Shanks; 3. 21-Daryn Pittman; 4. 9K-Kyle Schuett; 5. 37F-Bill Balog; 6. 11E-Cory Elliott; 7. 25M-Derrick Myers; 8. 33-Davey Ray; 9. 87F-Brian McClelland; 10. 19P-Alex Hill
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Lucas Oil Championship Night
Car Count: 335
A Feature 1: Line-up
6-Jerry Coons Jr-5
B-Feature: Top 6 advance to the A-Feature
B Feature 1: Line-up
11-Joe B. Miller-3B
B Feature 2: Line-up
5-Ricky Stenhouse Jr-17R
C-Features: Top 6 advance to the corresponding B-Feature
C Feature 1: Line-up
C Feature 2: Line-up
4-Tony Bruce Jr-18
8-Kevin Thomas Jr-39S
11-Danny Faria Jr-35S
D-Features: Top 6 advance to the corresponding C-Feature
D Feature 1: Line-up
D Feature 2: Line-up
8-Sam Hafertepe Jr-15H
E-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding D-Feature
E Feature 1: Line-up
E Feature 2: Line-up
F-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding E-Feature
F Feature 1: Line-up
4-Don Droud Jr-44
F Feature 2: Line-up
G-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding F-Feature
G Feature 1: Line-up
12-Chris (Critter) Malone-7CH
G Feature 2: Line-up
5-Dean Drake Jr-77D
H-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding G-Feature
H Feature 1: Line-up
H Feature 2: Line-up
I-Features: Top 4 advancing to the corresponding H-Feature
I Feature 1: Line-up
I Feature 2: Line-up
J-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding I-Feature.
J Feature 1: Line-up
8-David Camfield Jr-16C
J Feature 2: Line-up
K-Features: Top 4 advance to the corresponding J-Feature
K Feature 1: Line-up
K Feature 2: Line-up
2-Dave Camfield Jr.-86C
L-Features : Top 4 advance to corresponding K-Feature
L Feature 1: Line-up
L Feature 2: Line-up
M-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding L-Feature
M Feature 1: Line-up
M Feature 2: Line-up
11-Don O’Keefe Jr-0K
*N-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding M-Feature *
N Feature 1: Line-up
N Feature 2: Line-up
6-Richard Harvey Jr-59