On the show today we get into Chili Bowl night three, we talk the wild finish at Vado last night, and a Kerry Madsen update. Let's go!
Today is Thursday, January 13th, two thousand and twenty two. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.
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Last night was the third of five prelim nights at the Chili Bowl and we have our first repeat winner of the week. I said on yesterday's show that I thought if everything went like it should, Rico Abreu was the favorite for Wednesday, and that's exactly how it played out. He had a second to first run in his heat race to make the qualifiers, followed by a third to the win run in his qualifier to make the night's feature. That put him inside row two for the start. Jason McDougal ended up high point man for the night with a seventh to first heat race performance, and sixth to first showing in his qualifier. That put him on the pole with Colby Copeland to his outside. In the feature, McDougal was good early on, jumping out to the lead and staying there through the opening 13 laps. But following a mid race restart, Rico snagged the lead on lap 14 and took control. A few late cautions kept things tight, and Rico ended up having to fend off a challenge from seventh starting Chase Randall. The young Texas driver, driving for Reinbold-Underwood, threw a slider at the 97 into turn one with five to go, but just like Kyle Larson the night before, Randall banged off the cushion hard and Rico was able to drive back by. Over the final few laps, Kevin Thomas Jr. also tried to track down Rico, but to no avail. The victory for the California driver was his fifth straight prelim night win, and he's locked into Saturday along with KTJ. Blake Hahn ended up third, Copeland was fourth, and McDougal faded to fifth at the end. Randall made some mistakes late and ended up seventh. Keith Kunz Motorsports bringing 15 cars to the Chili Bowl has been a topic of conversation, and it's easy to see why so many want to drive for KKM. Through three nights so far, a KKM car has been in victory lane in all of them. Tanner Carrick Monday, Buddy Kofoid Tuesday, and Rico last night. And with Christopher Bell going tonight, there is a very strong possibility that KKM can go four-for-four.
As expected last night, we also had some young drivers show up and show out. I mentioned Randall, but we also had strong performances from Chance Crum, who went 16th to 8th in the feature, and Corey Day who bagged a top ten driving for Clauson Marshall. Things didn't go to plan for Ryan Timms. He had plenty of speed, but ended up in a B-Main, and in the closing stages of that race just couldn't clear Tony Bruce Jr. for the transfer. Timms will have some work to do come Saturday.
At the opposite end, it wasn't a great night for the five time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell. Damage in his heat race led to a D-Main appearance, where he went sixth to second to make the C. But late in that second C-Main, Sammy was battling Caleb Saiz for the final transfer spot, and Saiz went around into turn one off Sammy's front bumper. The 1 was DQd from the race and Sammy was done for the night. The incident didn't appear to be super egregious, and I think if that happens at any other point, Sammy isn't DQd. But when it's on the last lap of a race, for the transfer spot, a driver is going to get the boot for that move. You can't have guys crashing each other for transfer spots like that. Unfortunately for Sammy, it will mean an early start to his Saturday racing.
The other wild moment from last night came in the sixth heat with CJ Sarna. Mike Woodruff got squirly out of turn two and Sarna got turned broadside in front of him. Sarna than got hit by Woodruff which sent him spinning into the air, but somehow the 20C didn't flip, it landed on all four wheels, and Sarna got back in the gas and kept driving. Definitely the save of the night and maybe of the week so far.
With two prelim nights still to go, your Saturday lock-ins are Tanner Carrick, Tyler Courtney, Buddy Kofoid, Kyle Larson, Rico Abreu, and Kevin Thomas Jr. Thursday's program has belonged to Christopher Bell going back to 2016 and he'll look to continue that KKM hot streak tonight. The lineup also includes Tanner Thorson, Logan Seavey, Emerson Axsom, Shane Golobic, Brady Bacon, CJ Leary, and a whole bunch more. I'm going to pick Bell here, and will continue to do so until he proves me wrong. The schedule for the building is the same today as yesterday. Draw at 2PM central, hot laps at 4, heat races at 5. The broadcast continues to be on FloRacing.
In the Chili Bowl picks department, last night was an improvement, and I jumped 60 spots in the standings, But I'm still only 497th and 154.5 points out of the money. I had Rico, Copeland, RJ Johnson, Chance Crum, and Billy VanInWegen in the feature. Ryan Timms didn't make it out of his B main, and Daniel Adler missed the feature transfer by two. Tonight is my platinum group pick in Christopher Bell, and I've got Thorson in group one, Golobic in group two, Danny Stratton in group three, Matt Sherrell in group four, Brody Fuson in group five, Blake Edwards in group six, and Cody Hays in group seven. Let's see if we can make another big jump in the rankings.
We've now had three late model features at Vado Speedway Park during the Wild West Shootout, and two of them have been decided right at the checkered flag. Things were so crazy last night, we didn't even realize Garrett Alberson had won until after the race was over. It looked for much of the race like Mike Marlar was going to cruise to a $5000 win, but things got interesting late in the 40 lapper. Bobby Pierce worked his way into second inside ten laps to go and began to reel the 157 in. On the white flag lap, Marlar was out front, but lap traffic was just ahead of the two front runners. Pierce rolled the top to the lead down the backstretch, but then we had calamity into turn three. Two lap cars were up top racing side-by-side, and Marlar and Pierce both dove low for the same piece of real estate. They collided and ended up sideways. Marlar was able to recover and drive away, but Pierce got turned around. On the initial watch, it looked like Marlar got the win, and even Ben Shelton on the broadcast said as much. But what we almost missed was third place Garrett Alberson sneaking by on the high side, behind a lap car, beating Marlar back to the line. Alberson had lost some ground to the lead duo, but the incident in three slowed them enough to allow him to get by for the victory. Marlar finished second, Tyler Erb came on late to finish third, Earl Pearson Jr. was fourth after another solid run, and Brandon Sheppard completed the top five. Pierce ended up sixth after the spin. So with three races complete and three more to go, the $300k bonus from Penske is off the table. Sheppard can still win the $100,000 bonus for five wins, or the $25k bonus for four wins. If Alberson were somehow able to sweep the remaining nights, he'd also be in line for the $25k. The field of late models was a little light last night at 27 cars. We lost a few from the opening weekend, like Cade Dillard and Austin Kirkpatrick. Dillard posted on social media that he wouldn't be back to Vado after testing positive for covid. The event now goes quiet again today, and will finish out with three more programs, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
A quick update about Kerry Madsen with Roth Motorsports and Toyota Racing Development. When we talked about the Mad Man signing with Roth a few weeks ago, the TRD part of the agreement wasn't completely finalized yet. But as of yesterday, things are signed and sealed, and Madsen is set to race 40 or 50 times this season and help push that TRD engine program along. The Toyota 410 has been slowly working it's way into sprint car competition, with Speedway Engine Development leading the way. As we mentioned previously, TRD has worked with KCP Racing and Gio Scelzi, Ridge & Sons and Aaron Reutzel, and Lucas Wolfe and Allebach in Pennsylvania. Madsen and the 83JR team will debut during the spring west coast swing with the World of Outlaws, and they plan on hitting the big races like the Knoxville Nationals and Kings Royal. Fellow Australian Paul Baines is set to crew chief, after significant run with Tarlton Racing.
There are three shows on the streaming schedule today. FloRacing has night four of the Chili Bowl and FloRacing 24/7. Speed Sport TV has another night of the IMCA Winter Nationals from Cocopah Speedway. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
That's it for the show today, hope you have a good Thursday. If you have thoughts about the topics on today's show, leave them in the comments below or tweet at me.
Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you tomorrow for more DIRTRACKR Daily!