Conviction Justified for Logan Seavey, Kevin Swindell in Chili Bowl Triumph
Jan 15, 2023
In the closing stages of the 37th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, driving on an increasingly locked-down surface, Tanner Thorson had two choices to get around Logan Seavey.
The defending winner was either going to force the Swindell SpeedLab No. 39 into a mistake or nudge it off the bottom in a de facto bump-and-run similar to how Christopher Bell took the 2019 win away from Kyle Larson in the final corner.
With that said, under no circumstances would Thorson try to do anything that could be interpreted as dumping his friend, and a team he has a tremendous amount of respect for.
"I tried, I tried," Thorson said. "I wasn't going to dump him because I didn't want him wrecked and I didn't want to get sent to the back. I wasn't going to dump him but when I got in the middle and caught some rubber, I got a good run on him and definitely got into the back of him.
"I was definitely trying to get him off the bottom to get underneath him. I got close one time, but I tried it, but I don't know. If I could do it over again, no offense Logan, but I would do it again."
Seavey expected it too, leading to this comical exchange during the post-race press conferenceL
"I was surprised you didn’t."
"I didn’t think you would crash me, but I though you’d shove me."
"If you were Cannon (McIntosh), I would have dumped you." (a joke)
But seriously though, Thorson didn’t want to take this away from Seavey and Swindell in anything that would be considered untoward, especially considering his accomplishment last year. He gets how important this moment is to them.
"I have grown up with him and our families have been together since we were little kids in karts," Thorson said. "He’s one of the biggest badasses in motorsports and hasn’t been able to show it the last couple of years in a Midget.
"Now that he’s with Kevin (Swindell) in that car, he showed it."
That respect is mutual from Seavey too.
"We have a lot of respect for each other and we race really hard," Seavey said.
Thorson had a joke for that too.
"Except for Huset’s when you parked me."
Seavey sheepishly laughed and moved on.
"I was never worried about being crashed or getting hit in the back," Seavey said. "I was just trying to hit my marks like it was on a pavement track and keep my car loaded down, stepped out and let him sneak under me or get on the berm and get me out of the way.
"I was expecting a little more bumper, but never expected to be crashed. I was just focused on getting my car turned to where if I did get bumped, I could keep in the rubber."
Prior to the track locking down, a series of cautions negated every potential four-way battle between Seavey, Thorson, Cannon McIntosh and Shane Golobic.
McIntosh led laps 31-55 but had every surge of momentum negated by a caution after losing the lead.
"Logan made some great adjustments," McIntosh said. "When I got to traffic, I felt like I was in a good rhythm. Then I started to feel my tires start to fade. I should have dialed the shocks out quicker and pounded the top out earlier. Late in the race I was able to start to get back to them. I tried to maximize everything I could.
"I think I just made a couple of mistakes in the middle of the race. The track was a bit weird, and we really couldn’t find a consistent place to go. I’m not sure I ever would have had a chance to get by them, though. I was stronger in the long runs and would start to get to them."
Through it all, Seavey survived. How does it feel?
"I’ll let you know tomorrow," Seavey said. "For right now, it feels awesome. It didn’t really set in until I got the driller and got to talk to Kevin for a little bit. Man, I’m just so happy to do it for Kevin, he deserves it. He’d probably have a lot more if it wasn’t for his accident. It means a lot to win this race in general, but to win it in the 39 in my first try is really, really cool."