IndyCar: A.J. Foyt pulling for California Chrome in today’s Belmont

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In addition to winning four Indianapolis 500s, current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt has experienced success on a different kind of track.

As IndyCar.com helpfully points out, “SuperTex” was the former record holder at Churchill Downs for victories during the track’s Spring/Summer meet.

His horses earned 27 wins over the 93-day meet back in 1984, and that mark stood until last season, when Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s horses chalked up 32 wins in 38 days.

Foyt knows a thing or two about thoroughbreds (he has a trio of 2-year-olds that have begun training). And while he’s certainly focusing on tonight’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), you can probably assume that he’ll be keeping tabs on this afternoon’s Belmont Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra).

With a victory today in New York state, California Chrome (pictured, with jockey Victor Espinoza) will become the first winner of horse racing’s Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Foyt is among those hoping to see history, but worries about the Belmont’s grueling 1.5-mile distance.

“He’s no Secretariat. I don’t know if he can go that far,” Foyt said to the IndyCar website. “A mile and a half is a long way and the way it’s set up [two weeks between the Derby and Preakness Stakes, then three weeks until the Belmont] knocks a horse down. That’s the reason why you didn’t see a lot of them [continue] at the Preakness.”

However, Foyt would be glad to see California Chrome pull it off for owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn.

“Because they turned down a lot of money before they ran the Derby and took a big gamble,” he added. “I hope they do it but they have their work cut out.”

California Chrome will start from the second post position this afternoon at the Belmont. Foyt’s driver, Takuma Sato, is starting 16th on the grid for tonight’s IndyCar race at TMS.

Christopher Bell survives caution-filled Chili Bowl Prelim

TeeJay Crawford
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Christopher Bell survived the most caution-filled Feature of the week to win Thursday’s preliminary night at the 33rd Annual Chili Bowl. His ability to hold the lead on restarts helped lock Bell into his seventh Saturday A-Feature since 2013.

“I pretty much suck on restarts. I do better when I get into a rhythm,” said Christopher Bell on twitter.

Bell started the feature in third place behind Danny Stratton and Jerry Coons Jr. He took the lead on the first official lap of the race, but not until after two Lap 1 cautions.

The Oklahoma native held the lead through the remaining 24 laps and eight cautions until being challenged by Shane Golobic and CJ Leary on the final laps. Golobic briefly made it past him though Turns 3 and 4 of the final lap. Bell regained control in 1 and 2 to claim the checkers.

“It was a lot busier than what I wanted them to be. Shane definitely made a race out of it and I hope the last four laps were a good show. It was a lot of fun … well it was fun because I won but if I hadn’t won it wouldn’t have been much fun,” Bell said regarding the final laps.

Golobic earned the second transfer into Saturday’s A-Main after starting to the outside of Bell.

Leary completed the podium with the pole sitter Stratton finished fourth.

Josh Most battled through the B after a hard crash in his heat. He rebounded to transfer to the A and drove from 22nd to fifth.

With the throng of cautions at the start and finish of the race, the goal quickly became survival. Only 15 of 24 entries completed the full feature. Notable DNF’s included Ryan Bernal who started fifth, Coons, who started on the front row and Thomas Meseraull in 15th.

NASCAR’s Justin Allgaier finished 13th and will have a long day ahead of him on Saturday.

Friday Jan. 18 will be the final Qualifying night for the 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals.

Thursday’s Results

1. Christopher Bell
2. Shane Golobic
3. CJ Leary
4. Danny Stratton
5. Josh Most
6. Austin Brown
7. Tracy Hines
8. Casey Shuman
9. Kyle Cummins
10. Andrew Felker
11. Austin O’Dell
12. Seth Carlson
13. Justin Allgaier
14. Chase Johnson
15. Johnny Herrera
16. Ryan Bernal
17. Jerry Coons Jr.
18. Matt Sherrell
19. Thomas Meseraull
20. Jake Morgan
21. Andrew Deal
22. Kevin Bayer
23. Kaleb Currie
24. Joe B. Miller