Tanner Thorson’s journey to capture back-to-back victories in the Chili Bowl Nationals is off to a pretty convincing start, after putting on a dominating performance in Thursday’s Prelim Night A-Main Feature.
The 26-year-old started from the pole position in Thursday’s 30-lap feature event, leading every single lap, with challenges from the remainder of the field being pretty much non-existent.
In fact, the tensest moments of the feature event came when Thorson was attempting to maneuver through lapped traffic, a problem that quickly resolved itself through a rash of caution flags for on-track incidents.
Should Thorson be successful in going back-to-back on Saturday, he’ll become the fifth driver in the history of the Chili Bowl Nationals to capture back-to-back victories in the event – Kevin Swindell, Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, and most recently, Kyle Larson.
Emerson Axsom started the feature on the front row but was unable to mount a charge on Thorson, who had scurried away from the pack quickly after each restart. However, much like Thorson, Axsom was essentially unchallenged for a position, allowing him to come home in the runner-up spot.
From a fifth-place starting spot, Brady Bacon was able to advance to third, with Tim Buckwalter, and Tanner Carrick completing the top five.
Karter Sarff, Chase Johnston, Ryan Bernal, Dominic Gorden, and Joe B. Miller completed the top-10 finishers in Thursday’s Prelim A-Main. Bernal, finishing eighth, was the race’s biggest mover, gaining nine positions.
Also gaining a total of nine spots in the A-Main was NASCAR Cup Series veteran JJ Yeley, who finished the event from 13th, after starting 22nd place of the race’s 24 starters.
With Thursday’s Prelims in the books, the 2023 Chili Bowl Nationals will see one more night of preliminary action, which will include the likes of NTT IndyCar Series full-time competitor Santino Ferrucci.
Then, it’s onto the Alphabet Soup on Saturday, where drivers will look to overcome – or back up – their runs from Prelim nights, in order to give themselves a shot at competing for the Golden Driller, awarded to the winner of Saturday’s A-Main.