Friday Night was the night of NOS Energy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as Justin Grant and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. secured the two remaining guaranteed spots in Saturday’s A-Main, by finishing in the top-two spots on their prelim night.
By virtue of being Friday’s high-point scorer, Stenhouse started on the pole for the 30-lap feature, with Sam Johnson on his outside. However, a bad restart on the race’s second start attempt lost Stenhouse the race lead to Sam Johnson, who would pace the first 15 laps.
As the leaders approached the tail-end of the field, Grant was able to strategically put himself in the lead, when the tempo of the race completely changed, with a rash of cautions starting with Kasey Kahne’s spin on Lap 16.
Through a series of restarts, Stenhouse was able to snipe the runner-up spot from Johnson and focus his efforts on getting around Justin Grant. At one point, Stenhouse had gotten alongside Grant, before a caution destroyed his progress.
Ultimately, it was Grant taking the win, but it wasn’t without some excitement, as both of the top-two made mistakes in the final set of corners, nearly throwing away a shot at the golden driller trophy.
Although he dodged the bullet while the race was in progress, he must have used all of his luck up. While doing celebratory donuts post-race, he ended up flipping his NOS Energy Drink vehicle.
— FloRacing (@FloRacing) January 15, 2022
“That yellow doesn’t come out I’m pretty sure Ricky [Stenhouse Jr.] wins that race,” Grant said in a post-race interview with FloRacing. “We caught a really, really big break there getting back to the lead and then knowing the bottom was there.”
For Grant, it’s the fifth time in the last six seasons that he’s claimed the top step on the podium on his prelim night, which provides him another opportunity to chase after the elusive Chili Bowl Nationals title.
Zeb Wise finished the A-Feature in third, after starting 17th-place, with Bryant Wiedeman, and Sam Johnson rounding out the top-five.
Of the familiar NASCAR names that raced on Friday Night, Kasey Kahne recorded an eighth-place finish in the A-Feature, while Ryan Newman grabbed 13th-place. Ryan Ellis was eliminated after finishing eighth in the second C-Main.
Santino Ferrucci was originally scheduled to compete on Friday Night but was sidelined for the weekend after a massive crash in hot laps on Friday sent him to the hospital for further evaluation.
Ferrucci was diagnosed with a concussion, forcing him to sit out Saturday’s ‘Alphabet Soup’.