Bryan Clauson wins final Chili Bowl qualifier, Kasey Kahne locked in

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Bryan Clauson, the 2014 Chili Bowl champion and seven time USAC champion, started from the pole and finished there in the final qualifying feature for Saturday’s main event for the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Clauson was followed by 2006 Chili Bowl winner Tim McCreadie and Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne in the 25-lap A-feature. All three drivers locked themselves into the main feature.

The race was slowed by only one caution for an incident involving D.J. Natto.

NASCAR TIES: Kahne started and finished third in the A-feature after finished second in his heat race and fourth in his qualifier … NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chad Boat won both his heat race and his qualifying races. Boat then started the A-Feature in 11th before finishing eighth.

NOTABLE: Driver Shane Cockrum was disqualified after he was caught posing as another driver after having already competed in his qualifying race.  Cockrum was found to be impersonating Alex Shanks … IndyCar crew member Anton Julian was a DNF in his heat race and finished seventh in the C-Feature … 2006 Chili Bowl winner McCreadie finished third in his heat, second in his qualifier and second in the A-Feature … Dave Darland finished second in his heat race, 10th in his qualifier, fourth in the B-Feature and then 14th in the A-Feature.

NEXT: Saturday night features the championship night and the main event of the Chili Bowl, which will include the top three finishers from all four A-Features. Winners of the four A-features were Alex Bright, NASCAR drivers Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell and Clauson.

FEATURE RACE RESULTS:

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
Chris Jones/IndyCar
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”