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Tanner Carrick's Chili Bowl Prelim Breakthrough Was Overdue

The 20-year-old has always had fast cars in Tulsa but a lot more misfortune.


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Winning the Monday Night Prelim for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is immediately the biggest accomplishment yet for young Tanner Carrick.

That speaks volumes when you consider the 20-year-old also has victories in the USAC National Midget and POWRi National Midget championships. But this victory secured something Carrick had been working towards for four years.

He will finally start the main event on Saturday night.

"We’ve had some pretty cool wins, and had some taken away from us, but I would say this is the biggest win of my career," Carrick told Racing America after the race. "That’s especially true given the track we had tonight and the number of laps we had on it. I’ve always wanted to win here, and have always had speed, and just put myself into some bad spots."

To his point, this achievement is probably long overdue.

Carrick was running third in his preliminary feature last year when he was forced into the restart cone by Shane Golobic and was sent to the rear. In 2020, a mechanical failure during the qualifying night feature forced him to start Championship Saturday from a J feature. The year before that, Carrick won his B and was running in the top-10 when contact with the wall forced him to have to start Saturday from the D.

All of this is to say that Carrick probably should have made a Chili Bowl Main Event by now across starts for Keith Kunz Motorsports and Petry Motorsports.

He accepts it, too.

"When I hit the start cone, I didn't even want to run the rest of the race because I was so embarrassed," Carrick said. "I was bummed, but I had to fight for every spot from that. So, I told myself this year, 'I'm walkin’ into the main, and I'm not doing it by running second' and that was my goal going into tonight."

With a second place in his heat and a second place in the qualifier, Carrick started third and outlasted Michael Moles and Jerry Coons Jr. who both committed the kind of mistakes he used to make. Further, he held off perennial Tyler Courtney, who also locked into his sixth main event appearance.

For Courtney, this was simply business as usual, with his second prelim runner-up in a row in addition to his 2017 Tuesday night preliminary victory. With five straight main event finishes in the P6-P15 range, it just comes down to refining his package before Championship Saturday.

"It makes Saturday a lot simpler," Courtney said. "You don’t have to run the B and risk something crazy happening. We definitely need to make our car a little bit better before Saturday to compete with those guys up front. But at the end of the day, we’re in the show."

Chase Johnson completed the podium and will start his Championship Saturday from a B. 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner David Gravel and DIRTCar Modified champion driver and mega car builder Nick Hoffman were the remainder of the top-five.

Hoffman, making just his second Chili Bowl attempt, has impressed since making more occasional Midget starts over the past year. He’s adjusted his expectations as a result.

"We’re in the night show, which is all I wanted to accomplish this week," Hoffman said. "I feel like we have a legitimate shot to make the show now. We just have to have everything go our way. Everything went my way today."

Who didn’t have everything go his way was 2020 and 2021 Monday Night Prelim winner Cannon McIntosh, who suffered a stuck throttle during his heat race, forcing him to start featuring racing from the back of the C-Main.

C: P14-P1
B: P14-P2
A: P19-P6

For those uninterested in doing the math, that’s 13 passes in the feature and 33 on the night, to start his Championship Saturday from a B.

"The only thing we could do was keep our heads up, try to prevail, and all we could do was go forward from there," McIntosh said. "We all worked hard to make up for what happened and took it one race at a time."

Of note was 13-year-old Gavan Boschele in eighth, Alex Bowman in ninth and Chase Briscoe in 11th all giving them a realistic shot at the main event on Saturday.

For the first time, at last, Carrick has more than a realistic shot. He's in.

"I don't have to worry about the B now," Carrick said. "We just get to focus on the pole shuffle and see if we can gain a couple of spots. Put myself in good spots and avoid some of those things that happened the last couple of years."

A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday's A-Feature.

1. 98-Tanner Carrick[3]; 2. 7C-Tyler Courtney[4]; 3. 87-Chase Johnson[6]; 4. 1D-David Gravel[12]; 5. 2H-Nick Hoffman[14]; 6. 08-Cannon McIntosh[19]; 7. 32-Gary Taylor[18]; 8. 5G-Gavan Boschele[7]; 9. 55X-Alex Bowman[8]; 10. 32T-Trey Marcham[10]; 11. 5-Chase Briscoe[5]; 12. 8-Alex Sewell[13]; 13. 22M-Carson Kvapil[22]; 14. 81G-Anton Hernandez[21]; 15. 97X-Jesse Love[11]; 16. 15E-Kinzer Edwards[20]; 17. 22-Sean McClelland[15]; 18. 80-Josh Hawkins[16]; 19. 45K-Kyler Johnson[24]; 20. (DNF) 07W-Mitchel Moles[1]; 21. (DNF) 85-Jerry Coons Jr[2]; 22. (DNF) 28K-Kory Schudy[17]; 23. (DNF) 7MR-Jadon Rogers[23]; 24. (DNF) 61J-Jacob Denney[9]

Lap Leader(s): Mitchel Moles 1-5, 20-21; Jerry Coons, Jr. 6-19; Tanner Carrick 22-30
Hard Charger: Cannon McIntosh +13 B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 28K-Kory Schudy[9]; 2. 08-Cannon McIntosh[12]; 3. 81G-Anton Hernandez[1]; 4. 7MR-Jadon Rogers[5]; 5. 31K-Cole Bodine[11]; 6. 11J-Justin Melton[7]; 7. 116-Scott Evans[6]; 8. 9E-Chase Elliott[3]; 9. 2X-Michael Magic[10]; 10. 18L-Logan Scherb[14]; 11. 38-Jake Andreotti[13]; 12. 18N-Alex Nalon[8]; 13. 86X-Joshua Hodges[4]; 14. 74D-Xavier Doney[15]; 15. (DNF) 91K-Kevin Bayer[2]; 16. (DNS) 7F-Roy Entze II

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 32-Gary Taylor[1]; 2. 15E-Kinzer Edwards[2]; 3. 22M-Carson Kvapil[7]; 4. 45K-Kyler Johnson[6]; 5. 12X-Steven Snawder[3]; 6. 17Z-Zac Moody[8]; 7. 4C-Cody Jessop[13]; 8. 6K-Michael (Mike) Snider[4]; 9. 21E-Emilio Hoover[10]; 10. 4-Taylor Ferns[14]; 11. 0W-Kevin Woody Jr[11]; 12. 5F-Danny Frye III[9]; 13. 42K-Kevin Battefeld[12]; 14. 5H-Casey Hicks[16]; 15. 44R-Branigan Roark[15]; 16. (DNF) 8M-Kade Morton[5]

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 38-Jake Andreotti[2]; 2. 08-Cannon McIntosh[12]; 3. 74D-Xavier Doney[7]; 4. 18L-Logan Scherb[8]; 5. 88S-Scott Orr[3]; 6. 15G-Dennie Gieber[5]; 7. 28Q-Sean Quinn[9]; 8. 4K-Kayla Roell[10]; 9. 2R-Adyn Schmidt[15]; 10. 19Z-Hayden Reinbold[11]; 11. 121-Steve Glover[4]; 12. 79-Ryan Hall[1]; 13. (DNF) 47K-Kevin Brewer[13]; 14. (DNF) 7K-Kolton Gariss[6]; 15. (DNS) 26-Kevin Rudeen

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 4-Taylor Ferns[5]; 2. 4C-Cody Jessop[3]; 3. 44R-Branigan Roark[1]; 4. 5H-Casey Hicks[8]; 5. 71A-Ayrton Olsen[6]; 6. 8S-Kala Keliinoi[2]; 7. 8L-Colin Deming[10]; 8. 86C-David Camfield Sr[4]; 9. 44L-Ryan Leavitt[11]; 10. 15K-Evan Garvy[7]; 11. 17D-Raymond Panella[9]; 12. (DNF) 7J-Shawn Jackson[12]; 13. (DNS) P1-Paul White; 14. (DNS) 87C-Austin Garrett