Why Kyle Larson was a Frustrated Chili Bowl Prelim Winner and More
Image credit: DB3 Imaging
It was one of the most unorthodox victory roads imaginable.
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Kyle Larson captured the preliminary feature of the Chili Bowl Tuesday night at the Tulsa Expo Center and advanced into the main event but was completely stoic when he got out of his car.
He held Thomas Meseraull back over a pair of green and white stones, but had little interest in celebrating.
By now, you'd have thought Meseraull was the winner, and its exuberance more than made up for the emptiness that emanates from the winning streak.
So what was it that annoyed Larson so powerfully?
For one thing, his car didn't react the way he wanted it to for most of the night, neither in its heats nor in the Chili Bowl Invitational Race of Champions. This is a brand new car and not the one that Larson put on the winning streak here last year.
"I am sure that one day we will look back on this car when it is in my store or wherever I put it and we will remember that it has a lot of history," added Larson. "But Paul (Silva, crew chief) and I agreed to park the car and open the Kyle Larson Hall of Fame or whatever you want to call it."
The biggest problem for Larson was that the track was too dry, too closed and just not conducive to good racing.
Larson didn't learn much to prepare him for Saturday's Pole Dash and Main Event.
"I've been here a lot and I don't think I've ever been on a track like this," said Larson. "I don't think I'll ever see a track like this again. I'm sure they'll do a much better job for the rest of the week making sure no rubber is used."
"It was good to get the win and to lock us in."
Here is the explanation from the course groundskeeper.
With so much rubber on the track everyone was stuck on the ground and the best way to get past was to run into the back of a leading car.
That was the choice before which Meseraull stood on each of these green and white stones on Tuesday evening.
TMez took one shot and he had considered taking another but decided to drive Larson clean.
"I wanted so badly to get Larson out of the way, but that's not the way to go and I wouldn't want to continue like this," said Meseraull.
CARRICK VERUS GOLOBIC
Meseraull was only in this position because of a series of incidents between Tanner Carrick and Shane Golobic.
Carrick hit the selected cone on a restart from third place on a restart on lap 6, resulting in a penalty for the finish point, and felt Golobic push him in from behind.
The video evidence did not fully support the argument.
Carrick was trapped at the back of a stretch that was using too much rubber. It couldn't pass and was involved in an incident with Gloobic when the leaders lapped him late in the race.
Larson led Golobic, but Carrick came down and clashed with the runner-up, eliminating both of them from the competition. The entire series of events was costly for both of them as both were sent to the back of the B-Main on Saturday when they were ready to find easy ways to get to the main event.
They were predictably upset.
"We were just kind of cruising in rubber and just trying to keep ourselves right behind Kyle in second place," said Golobic. "I don't know if we had a shot because it just crossed the floor and I wasn't really ready to do anything too crazy to win it - the second would be good enough. But Kyle got under a lapped car , and cars usually lapped know the guides are coming in and not completely hacking to the bottom.
"I knew I was out of T-Mez, so I humped it in there ... nothing crazy, I didn't try to run anyone over, but I was just trying to at least keep second place, which is it important. The B-Mains aren't things you wanna be in. But I got under Tanner Carrick there and he decided to hack them up I think. And that was it. Looking back, I should really have thought Who I've raced with and need to know. Such a driver will do things like that.
"I'll put that on myself and say that maybe I should have just driven through and tried to make my car as wide as possible. In hindsight it's of course 20/20, but I wanted to keep second place. So it is on me and I should be driving smarter with some of these guys, especially some. "
Carrick didn't apologize either.
"On the early reboot I got a little help from behind and got pushed into the cone. It doesn't take much on these reboots. If you barely get knocked from behind you are already pointing in the wrong direction. No harm, no feelings there, but that really ruined my whole race, honestly, "said Carrick. "Backing up on a stretch that is just a lane from where you can't pass is not what you want it to be.
"Then when Kyle passed me I tried to get behind him and I was absolutely run over by Golobic. He tried to blame me I think but if they watch the replay they will Realize what happened. "Carrick added." There isn't much you can do there if you're the guy in front. It's different when you're the guy who runs through someone from behind, but that's racing.
"You will see it and get over it."
One feature (30 rounds): 01.01-Kyle Larson ; 2. 7X-Thomas Meseraull ; 3. 5D-Zach Daum ; 4. 39B-Cole Bodine ; 5. 68W-Danny Stratton ; 6. 9JR-Derek Hagar ; 7. 72-Chase Johnson ; 8. 14E-Hank Davis ; 9. 9P-Daison Pursley ; 10. 19-Frank Flud ; 11. 7U-Kyle Jones ; 12. 55D-Nick Drake ; 08K-Michael Faccinto ; 14. 8J-Jonathan Beason ; 15. 20H-Noah Harris ; 16. 21F-Anton Hernandez ; 17. 56D-Mitchell Davis ; 18. 98K-Tanner Carrick ; 19. 57D-Aiden Purdue ; 20. 45H-Shane Cottle ; 21. 2MD-Carson Kvapil ; 22. (DNF) 17W-Shane Golobic ; 23. (DNF) 73X-Brody Fuson ; 24. (DNF) 51-Curtis Jones 
Flip Count: 23
Thrown out because no masks were worn Number: 2
LARSON AND BELL AGAINST THE WORLD
Unless otherwise stated, the current state of play at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals continues to be Kyle Larson versus Christopher Bell.
They teamed up to win the last four Golden Drillers and the race was decided between each year during that time span.
Larson won his Tuesday for the fourth time in a row tentatively and for the seventh time in the last decade. Bell has tentatively won its Thursday for six of the past seven years.
Larson won his feature film and Christopher Bell won the Invitational Race of Champions on Tuesday night - a prelude that puts previous winners and touring champions in a short sprint to whet the appetite for the rest of the week.
Bell finished a race on the same closed track on lap 10 of 25 with a slider and drove off unchallenged to a 4.5-second victory.
"This place is awesome, man," said Bell. “I haven't been able to stand on this winning streak in a long time. It was basically a year, but my first night in this building a year ago was the last time I was up here or on a winning streak in a dwarf. It was really nice to be able to win again and hopefully we can do that again later in the week. "
VIROC XIII (25 rounds): 1. 84x-Christopher Bell , 2. 71k-Cannon McIntosh , 3. 01-Kyle Larson , 4. 5d-Zach Daum , 5. 2y -Justin Grant , 6. 21h-Brady Bacon , 7. 08-Tanner Thorson , 8. 1r-Brad Sweet , 9. 21-Daryn Pittman , 10. 87 -Aaron Reutzel , 11. 97-Rico Abreu , 12. 3n-Jake Neuman , 13. 1s-Spencer Bayston , 14. 89-Chris Windom .
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