COLUMBUS, Indiana (Jan. 15, 2017) – Toyota Racing Development driver Tanner Thorson raced his way into the 31st Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals from the C-Main event before finishing fourth in the main feature Saturday evening.
“I’m happy I could give my team a decent finish. We had some bad luck Friday, so to make it up through the A-Main was pretty neat,” Thorson stated.
The 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma hosted approximately 372 cars, which is the largest number of entrants in the history of the race.
Thorson had quite an undesirable qualifying night Friday, in which contact with another car on lap two of the feature resulted in a flat left rear tire and a restart from the tail of the field. His 13th place finish was not enough to secure him a spot in Saturday’s A-Main, which meant he would have to advance via the ‘alphabet soup.’
“I felt great every time I was in the car throughout the week, so I knew it would just be up to me on Saturday,” Thorson recalled.
Come Saturday, Thorson won the second C-Main event from the fifth spot, which advanced him to the second B-Main where he would start 15th. Only the top six cars would then have a chance to race for the desired Golden Driller. This proved to be no problem for Thorson as he passed 11 cars, finishing fourth, and secured his No. 67 Keith Kunz Motorsports, JBL Audio, Toyota-powered midget into the big show.
“The track really played into my driving style in the B-Main and my car allowed me to go wherever I needed to pass cars,” Thorson stated.
Thorson started in the 20th position for the prestigious event alongside 24 other drivers. He passed five cars within the first three laps and finished the race in the fourth position, scoring his second top five in the last three Chili Bowl Nationals.
Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell won the event, giving the Toyota Racing team their third-straight Golden Driller.
“I’m really excited for my team and for Christopher,” said Thorson. “Our team works so hard and for it to show in front of that many teams and fans is really awesome. Hard work really does pay off.”
The 2018 Chili Bowl dates have been released and are set for January 9-13.
“I already can’t wait for next year,” Thorson concluded. “I always love the atmosphere and the fans. Winning the Chili Bowl is something that would be really special to me.”