TULSA, Okla. — Tuesday’s Warren CAT Qualifying Night came down to the wire with Oklahoma’s Hank Davis proving the underdog still has a shot at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire by fending off Spencer Bayston for his first preliminary night victory.
“I couldn’t have even dreamed of this day,” said Davis. “I’m here and I still can’t believe it, but Matt Seymour gave me an awesome racecar. I just can’t thank him and this team enough. I live 20 minutes from here, so my bed is not very far away, so I’m going to go home and cherish this for a long time.”
Taking his first green flag in a Chili Bowl preliminary A-Feature from the third starting spot, Davis and Michael Pickens battled with Kameron Key early. Contact through a close slide job from Pickens, Davis hit the brakes to let the No. 4x go. Trying to keep Pickens from being able to turn under him, the pair made contact again in the fourth turn, with Pickens, unfortunately, going over.
“I feel really bad for getting into Pickens there. I checked up earlier for him in the race, but I still want to apologize to him, Dave Mac, and all their guys,” Davis said. “I’m not here to destroy race cars and that was never my intention.”
Back to green flag, Buddy Kofoid was in command aboard the Keith Kunz No. 71 w. But disaster struck on lap seven when a crash occurred in front of the leader and Kofoid contacted the outside wall and damaged the front end of his machine.
Putting the lead in the hands of Davis, the No. 29s restarted with Spence Bayston chasing. Having already charged through from the 12th starting spot, the battle heated up with 14 laps to go.
Back to speed after a caution for Jake Bubak, Bayston slid to the lead off the second turn but could not fend off the slide at the opposite end of the track. Repeating the sequence through the next two laps, Kyle Jones and Jade Avedisian entered the fight. While Davis held point, Bayston would fall to second on lap 20.
Finally getting the position back with six laps to go, Bayston found himself trailing by a straightaway. Using small mistakes on the part of Davis to his advantage, Bayston was there at the white flag.
Turning low into the final two turns, the momentum wasn’t there to complete the slide, with Davis getting the upset win by .290 seconds.
With the runner-up finish, Bayston locked into the show for the fifth time. Winning the fight for third, Avedisian became the highest-finishing woman in preliminary night competition. Kyle Jones ended up fourth from 14th, with Jonathan Beason rolling to fifth from 11th.
Kaylee Bryson matched her 2022 preliminary night performance with a sixth-place run, followed by Chance Crum from 19th. The hard charger of the event, Tim McCreadie, made up 13 positions to finish eighth.
Tuesday’s field included 68 of the scheduled 70 entries, bringing the week to 134 so far. The World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count ballooned to 19, with everyone able to walk away.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 29S-Hank Davis; 2. 1S-Spencer Bayston; 3. 84-Jade Avedisian; 4. 7U-Kyle Jones; 5. 88J-Jonathan Beason; 6. 71-Kaylee Bryson; 7. 26-Chance Crum; 8. 39T-Tim McCreadie; 9. 47-Zach Daum; 10. 21J-Kameron Key; 11. 5LK-Jordan Kinser; 12. 19A-Daison Pursley; 13. 27B-Jake Bubak; 14. 1Z-Justin Zimmerman; 15. 71E-Mariah Ede; 16. 23P-Preston Lattomus; 17. 5V-AJ Bender; 18. (DNF) 7W-Brendon Wiseley; 19. (DNF) 71G-Damion Gardner; 20. (DNF) 71W-Michael Kofoid; 21. (DNF) 4X-Michael Pickens; 22. (DNF) 57W-Devon Borden; 23. (DNF) 55X-Alex Bowman; 24. (DNF) 3P-Darin Naida