Photo: Chili Bowl

Bell, NASCAR stars dominate Thursday prelims at Chili Bowl

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Christopher Bell dominated Thursday night’s preliminary feature ahead of Saturday’s Chili Bowl, in a flag-to-flag race win.

Bell started from pole in the 25-lap feature at River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa’s Expo Square and led the rest of the way, even despite a flurry of cautions and a wealth of action behind him. Bell, who won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora last year, earns a spot in Saturday night’s 55-lap feature.

Short track veteran Jerry Coons Jr. drove from 10th on the grid to second to make it to his 13th straight consecutive Chili Bowl final, while Shane Cottle grabbed third place from C.J. Leary on the final lap. Both of those two raced their way into the main event on Saturday.

Beyond Bell, fellow NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier and Tanner Berryhill all made the A Main. Stenhouse finished best of those three, finishing sixth after starting 13th.

NASCAR TIES: Allgaier, Stenhouse Jr., Berryhill and Bell all won in their respective eight-lap heat races. … Allgaier and Bell then proceeded to finish 1-2 in the second of four 10-lap qualifying races, while Berryhill and Stenhouse were 2-3 in the third to advance to the A Main.

NOTABLE: IndyCar owner Sarah Fisher finished sixth, and sports car veteran Chris Dyson fifth, in their respective heat races. … Both Dyson and Fisher then ended sixth in the first and second C Mains. Another competitor punted Dyson, while Fisher was reportedly behind two cars that tangled at the finish; Kip Hughes and Mark Chisholm both flipped but were OK. … Brady Bacon, a past driver for Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart, finished fifth in his qualifying race and second in the second B Main, by just 0.03 of a second to Justin Peck. … Short track veteran and 2005 Chili Bowl winner Tracy Hines captured a win in the fourth qualifying race.

NEXT: Friday’s qualifying races mark the last day of action before the Saturday feature race. Those of note set to run include Hendrick Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne, short track veterans Bryan Clauson, Dave Darland, Daryn Pittman, Cory Kruseman, John Heydenreich, Damion Gardner and Jac Haudenschild, 2006 Chili Bowl winner Tim McCreadie, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chad Boat and IndyCar crew member Anton Julian, among others. A full list is here.


FEATURE RACE RESULTS:

1-71-Christopher Bell
2-5-Jerry Coons Jr.
3-71X-Shane Cottle
4-2A-C.J. Leary
5-24-Tracy Hines
6-17R-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
7-5X-Justin Peck
8-38-Justin Grant
9-3B-Joe B. Miller
10-17H-Harli White
11-15D-Andrew Deal
12-76M-Brady Bacon
13-29S-Anthony Nocella
14-05S-Dominic Scelzi
15-17M-Paul McMahan
16-27H-Tanner Berryhill
17-47-Danny Stratton
18-7JA-Justin Allgaier
19-37B-Jake Blackhurst
20-37-Seth Bergman
21-7A-Scott Weir
22-56J-Sheldon Haudenschild
23-7XX-Gage Walker
24-91K-Kevin Bayer

Full results from Thursday’s races

Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.