Kyle Larson wins first career Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

The heartbreak makes it all worth it.

NASCAR star Kyle Larson finally put 55 laps together to win his first Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals on Jan. 18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The pain of losing on the final lap a year ago stuck with Larson for 365 days. He started his own team, paired with one of dirt racing’s brightest minds in Paul Silva, and finally took the checkers in Tulsa.

“The Chili Bowl to me is so big, obviously it’s not the crowd and the purse that the Daytona 500 is, but on a personal level and how close I’ve been, this means so much to me,” Larson said. “Maybe the Daytona 500 is next and hopefully I can transition this to a good year in NASCAR.”

A year ago, on lap 55 of the Chili Bowl, Larson made a mistake that cost him a race he’s coveted for so long. It gave Christopher Bell his third golden driller, and Larson will never forget the pain.

“It feels really good, I told Christopher to smile on stage because it sucks, just a totally different feeling than last year,” Larson said. “Christopher is so good; he didn’t make any mistakes I just felt like I was a little better.”

Bell took command of the race early. After a few cautions, Bell stretched his lead to a straightaway and it seemed he was destined to win his fourth straight golden driller.

On lap 37 things changed when a caution came out to bunch up the field and Larson started nose-to-tail with Bell and took advantage on the restart.

Larson completed a lap 38 slide job and took the lead for the first time on the evening and never looked back.

“I don’t know if my tire bled down on the restart, or if I got worse, I started to bobble a little before the caution,” Bell said. “The last 10 or eight laps we were pretty equal, and he didn’t make a mistake this year.

“I don’t know if losing is going to drive me harder, because I love this race so much. I’m just really proud of the effort, me and Chad (Boat) have come along when since running in December at St. Louis.”

Both Bell and Larson took a massive risk entering the building this week here in Tulsa. The two of them left Keith Kunz Motorsports after having the best cars in the building for three years straight.

“I saw Keith and Pete walk to the stage and I started to tear up, that’s how much they mean to me.” Larson said. “I wish we would have won last year because I felt like we deserved it. It’s obviously a big joy to win and a big relief to win in my own car, I’ve been doing this a long time and I finally got it done.”

Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby didn’t leave Tulsa empty handed though. After developing talent like Bell and Larson, Kunz got back to work to find their next talent and found it. 17-year-old Oklahoma native Cannon McIntosh won Monday’s Prelim night for KKM, and tonight, the tall slender talent drove to his best finish ever in this building.

“It’s special to run third to them, you don’t know what to expect when you change teams” McIntosh said “I got comfortable quick though, I hope one day I can race with them and maybe race some pavement stuff with them.

“I had a lot fun, I learned a lot in that race, the car just got better and better as the race went on. The car was really good, I thought I was going to have a run at Bell at the end and the car was really good, I am so happy with third. It’s just really special to sit here right now and sit on the podium with some of the best drivers in the world.”

The building erupted when Larson took the lead on lap 38. You could feel that the Tulsa crowd sensed Larson’s heartbreak from years past.

“My confidence was not very high coming into tonight; I mean we won our prelim but watching the video I didn’t think we looked good.” Larson said. “Paul Silva worked his magic and figured it out, without great people I wouldn’t be Kyle Larson and winning big races like this.

“I’ve been trying to win this race for almost as half as long as I’ve been alive and I’m still young. I think Chris trying to go for four was a big feat, he wanted it really bad. After all the times I’ve left this building upset maybe it made me want it a little more.”

Kokomo Speedway releases 2020 slate

The Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo has released their 2020 race schedule. The O’Connor Family will again be promoting the quarter-mile dirt track.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Chili Bowl Results” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

1. Kyle Larson 2. Christopher Bell 3. Cannon McIntosh 4. Logan Seavey 5. Rico Abreu 6. Jonathan Beason 7. Michael Kofoid 8. Blake Hahn 9. Ryan Bernal 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer 11. Tyler Courtney 12. Thomas Meseraull 13.Sammy Swindell 14. Chris Windom 15. Jason McDougal 16. Zach Daum 17. C.J. Leary 18. Spencer Bayston 19.-Shane Golobic 20. Michael Pickens 21. Justin Allgaier 22.Tanner Thorson 23. Aaron Reutzel 24. Colby Copeland

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”2020 Kokomo Speedway Schedule” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

April 24 – Kokomo Grand Prix – USAC National Midgets & Kokomo Sprint Cars

April 25 – Kokomo Grand Prix – USAC National Midgets & Kokomo Sprint Cars

May 3 – King of Kokomo – Sprint Cars, Thunder Cars & Hornets

May 17 – All Star Winged Sprint Cars & Kokomo Sprint Cars

May 24 – BC’s Indiana Double – Sprint Cars, Midgets & UMP Modifieds

May 31 – Kokomo Klassic – Sprint Cars, RaceSaver Winged Sprint Cars & Thunder Cars

June 7th – Indiana Midget Week – USAC National Midgets & Kokomo Sprint Cars

June 21 – Darland Memorial – Sprint Cars, 600 Winged Micros & Thunder Cars

July 3 – FIREWORKS!!! – Dave Crow Classic – Sprint Cars, UMP Modifieds, Thunder Cars & Hornets

July 25 – Indiana Sprint Week – USAC Sprint Cars & ASCoC TQ Midgets

August 26 – #GYATK Night – FREE GENERAL ADMISSION – USAC Sprint Cars

August 27– Sprint Car Smackdown 9 – USAC Sprint Cars

August 28 – Sprint Car Smackdown 9 – USAC Sprint Cars

August 29 – Sprint Car Smackdown 9 – USAC Sprint Cars & BOSS Sprint Cars

September 6 – Vince Osman Season Championship & FIREWORKS!!! – Sprint Cars, UMP Modifieds, Thunder Cars & Hornets

September 25– Late Model Shootout – Lucas Oil Late Models & UMP Modifieds

October 16 – Kokomo Klash XIV – Sprint Cars, RaceSaver Winged Sprint Cars, Midgets & Thunder Cars

October 17 – Kokomo Klash XIV – Late Models, Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks & Hornets

October 24 – World of Outlaw Sprint Cars


No posts to display