TULSA, Okla. – Justin Grant drove past top-seeded Cannon McIntosh and went on to earn the pole for the 35th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals finale during Saturday’s #DoItForGrady Pole Shuffle presented by Pizza Express.
Grant, the No. 2 seed coming into the final four-lap dash, powered around McIntosh on the top side of Tulsa Expo Raceway and then survived a bump from behind by the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports driver before pulling away.
The Ione, Calif., native and reigning USAC Silver Crown Series champion led all four laps and beat runner-up Kyle Larson – the defending Chili Bowl winner – to the finish line by .449 seconds in the No. 2j NOS Energy Drink Spike-Toyota for RMS Racing.
He’ll be in prime position to chase his first Chili Bowl title later Saturday night when the 55-lap grand finale hits the quarter-mile temporary dirt oval inside the River Spirit Expo Center.
Larson crossed second in the final scramble and will join Grant on the front row for the headliner.
Christopher Bell and McIntosh will share row two of the starting grid after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the pole-deciding dash.
Rico Abreu and Tyler Courtney were eliminated in the penultimate round and roll off fifth and sixth for the main event. Meanwhile, the second round saw Alex Bright and Buddy Kofoid fall by the wayside, giving them fourth-row starting positions in seventh and eighth.
Thomas Meseraull and Kyle Cummins were the two drivers eliminated during the opening four-lap sprint, placing them ninth and 10th on the grid for the Super Bowl of Midget Racing.
The remaining 14 open positions in the A-Main starting field will be determined through a pair of 20-lap B Mains. The top seven finishers in each of those contests will advance into the feature.
Saturday’s remaining alphabet soup action – two C Mains, two B Mains and the Chili Bowl A Main – begins at 8:30 p.m. CT, live on MAVTV.
For those who don’t have access to MAVTV through their television provider, the network is providing a free stream of Saturday night’s live telecast to the MAVTV Facebook page as part of Lucas Oil Racing TV’s transition to the new MAVTV Plus app.
SPEED SPORT’s LIVE From the Chili Bowl coverage is supported by MyRacePass, KICKER, Curb Records and Swann Communications! To find out more about each of our partners and to check out all of SPEED SPORT’s Chili Bowl coverage, visit our Chili Bowl Index Page! DON’T MISS SPEED SPORT’S LIVE From the Chili Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. ET on MAVTV and watch the Chili Bowl finale LIVE Saturday, Jan. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on MAVTV!