Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Hometown Hank Davis Scores Chili Bowl Upset in Shambolic 2nd Prelim

Winning Moment: Oklahoman Hank Davis scored one of the biggest upsets in Chili Bowl history in controversial fashion thanks to a glaring no-call from race officials and a freak Buddy Kofoid accident.

Dramatic Moment: Kofoid, heavy Tuesday night favorite and top points getter, wrecked from the lead of the feature eight laps in trying to avoid another wreck at the back of the field, setting up a deep soup run Saturday for the trendy pick to win the week’s Driller.

In a Nutshell: Everything wrong with midget racing for most of the 2022 season came back with a vengeance Tuesday night in Tulsa.


What They’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

See also
This Day in Dirt: Cannon McIntosh Wins 2023 Chili Bowl Opening Night; Chase Briscoe Strong

Any claims to legitimacy the Chili Bowl likes to hang its hat on went out the window Tuesday night, with race winner Davis allowed to keep his position on track despite running over Robert Pickens and sending him into a flip early in the feature race. Earlier in the evening, that exact same type of slide job resulted in Damion Gardner being sent to the rear of the field during a qualifier after he all but murdered Brayton Lynch with a slide job that resembled a T-bone.

And that’s not even mentioning the free pass Kofoid got for running over Gardner on the first lap of the first heat. No, Davis’s move was nowhere near as dirty as Gardner’s. But the same Flo Racing commentators who were tripping all over themselves to celebrate Davis’s win were blunt in the moment, noting that Davis’s slide job left Pickens with absolutely no way to avoid the calamity that ended his race. Koen Shaw said it best, tweeting, “Hank Davis owes every @cbnationals official a hug and a kiss.”

I love a lot of what Flo Racing does for dirt racing, but peddling NFTs as a promotion is soooo 2022.

It’s been a long time since my days working in a warehouse setting, but yes, I can confirm the below is absolutely an OSHA violation. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyone else notice how Kaylee Bryson referred to Tim McCreadie as “that guy” when asked about the contact the two made in their qualifier race? Makes me wonder how many other people in the Expo Center don’t realize that the two-time defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion actually has a Driller back home. Cringeworthy. McCreadie went on to have a historic night (more on that later).

Equally cringeworthy was the attempt by Flo Racing to get an on-track interview with Colton Hardy mere seconds after he got out of his car from a scary B-main accident (more also on that later). The good and bad of racing on a tiny track like Tulsa is that any interview is almost instantaneous. That can lead to great quotes, but it definitely comes off as voyeuristic and questionable to stick a mic in someone’s face seconds after they’ve taken a nasty tumble.

It was very cool to see Tanner Thorson, defending Chili Bowl champ, working as a helping hand in the work area all evening long, doing everything from changing tires to pep talking Daison Pursley, the driver in the same ride that Thorson won this event with last year, after his lap one spin from the runner-up position.

Hero of the Day

I honestly want to get the taste of that cluster of a feature out of my mouth, so the hero of the day award is going to go to someone that really didn’t have much to say during it. AJ Bender gets a well-deserved pat on the back for going on the first soup run of the 2023 Chili Bowl, making it from the C to the A Tuesday. Bender’s 17th-place finish in the A-main Tuesday saved him five rungs to climb up the ladder on Saturday, when he’ll start in an E-main.

Victim/Villain of the Day

Gardner was undoubtedly the villain of the night, but having already discussed that episode, Pursley gets this dubious honor for being directly involved in two of the messiest episodes of Tuesday’s preliminary feature (and that was no short order).

First, Pursley spun on his own while running second, triggering a four-car pileup that eliminated NASCAR Cup Series regular Alex Bowman.

Less than 10 laps later, Pursley’s tangle with Gardner in turn 2 blocked the track and forced race leader Kofoid to climb the wall, damaging his car enough to end his night.

Pursley eventually finished 12th but will have some climbing to do if his Reinbold team is going to defend its Chili Bowl crown.

See also
Daytona to Dirt: Chase Briscoe Strong in Tulsa, Sheldon Creed Wins Millbridge

Shout Outs

  • Chili Bowl rookie Jade Avedesian set an all-time record for a woman in preliminary competition, finishing third in Tuesday’s prelim feature and locking into a B-main Saturday.
  • McCreadie was the hard charger of Tuesday’s race, improving from 21st to eighth, and in doing so setting an all-time record with his 16th consecutive top-10 finish in a preliminary night A-main. “That guy” indeed.
  • Hardy’s wreck was by far the nastiest crash the Chili Bowl has seen so far this year, though Devon Borden gave him a run for his money later in the evening.

Numbers Game


Dirt track that ran an oval-track racing program Tuesday night, the Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway.


Red flags requiring fence repair during Tuesday’s Chili Bowl program.


Highest national car count this evening, Chili Bowl night two in Tulsa.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be covering the third qualifying night of the Chili Bowl Nationals on Wednesday (Jan. 11), as well as racing out west with the Wild West Shootout and IMCA Winter Nationals also taking to the track. Streaming coverage can be found on Flo Racing and IMCA TV, respectively.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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