Chili Bowl Nationals
Doty Takes First Prelim Victory
Tulsa, OK (Jan. 9, 2002) - Saying the top groove was going to be ``tricky’’ Chili Bowl veteran Kevin Doty decided to run the low side of the Tulsa Expo Raceway on Wednesday night and it paid off with a victory on the first qualifying night of the 16th Annual O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
Doty, who started fifth, battled throughout the 25-lap main event with Kasey Kahne, one of racing’s top young stars. On a Lap 17 restart Doty took the lead for good driving under Kahne in Turn 2 to secure his third preliminary feature in a Chili Bowl career that spans much of the event’s history. Doty, of Burlington, Iowa, was driving the No. 12 Wilke PAK Motorsports/Kwik Change Products Stealth, powered by a SESCO Mopar.
Kahne finished second, with Greg Lueckert, of Kansas City, MO, finished third and Chad Farmer drove from 11th to fourth. Doty, Kahne, Lueckert and Farmer are locked into Saturday night’s 50-lap championship Main event.
We were setting up for the bottom or the top, I could get an excellent start on both,’’ said Doty, who has started 12 of the 15 Chili Bowl championship main events since 1987. I figured would stay down (on the bottom) and see what happens. I kept picking them guys off.’’
Because of the added night of qualifying, though, the four drivers’ positions are not determined. The three preliminary winners will draw to determine their starting position on Saturday, while the other three will also draw.
Doty drove from fifth to first on the low side to lead the first two laps, but Kahne took the lead for the first time on lap 3, which was the first of six lead changes the two had throughout the event. Kahne led laps 3 and 4, but Doty took the lead on a Lap 5 restart as Kahne regained it one lap later.
The race’s third caution came out on Lap 7 when outside pole starter Bud Kaeding jumped the berm in Turn 3 and did not restart the race. On the restart, Kahne regained the lead and stayed on the high side of the race track while Doty remained on the low side. Kahne held the lead until Lap 15, when Doty took the lead inside of Turn 2 when Kahne jumped the cushion.
I was kind of struggling with the cushion and it was a pretty hard cushion,’’ said Kahne. A few times I got my right rear up there and it pulled my front end over. I was thinking the top was the place to be, so I just stayed there.’’
One lap later, Kahne drove around Doty on the outside of Turn 4 to retake the lead. But on Lap 17, Floyd Alvis spun in Turn 3, bringing out the race’s fifth caution. On the ensuing restart, Davey Ray, who was running fifth, jumped the cushion in Turn 1 and spun out, slowing the field again.
When the race resumed, Doty stayed on the low side and Kahne the high side, and Doty powered by Kahne coming out of Turn 2 for the final lead change of the race on Lap 17. Doty stayed on the low side the rest of the race, while Kahne remained high with Greg Lueckert remaining in the hunt trying to find a way around Kahne.
Lueckert hung on for third, while Farmer held off Richard Griffin, who started ninth. Griffin finished fifth, with A.J. Fike coming from 17th to take sixth.
Four-time Chili Bowl champion Sammy Swindell moved into the top four on Lap 20, but on Lap 21 Swindell and Griffin made contact and Swindell stopped on the front stretch. He did not restart the race.
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