Zeb Wise
Zeb Wise

Zeb Wise
Angola, IN

CHILI BOWL NOTES: Misfortune Finds Wise & Others


Speed Sport

CHILI BOWL NOTES: Misfortune Finds Wise & Others

Brendon Bauman photo
TULSA, Okla. – While Kyle Larson and Jonathan Beason celebrated the feat of locking into the championship finale during Warren CAT Qualifying Night on Tuesday, others weren’t as fortunate.

In fact, several contenders ran into hard luck that has set them well back in the alphabet for the remainder of Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals week, leaving them with a lot of work still to do.

The most notable name to hit problems in Tuesday’s 30-lap preliminary feature was 17-year-old Zeb Wise, who was impressing in his debut with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports before disaster struck.

Wise was battling for a top-five spot with dirt modified ace Larry Wight when the two made contact, causing a puncture in the Angola, Ind., native’s left-rear tire that caused it to eventually go flat.

Heartbreakingly, Wise slowed to a crawl with 13 laps complete, bringing out a caution as his crew thrashed feverishly to get the tire changed and get him back out.

Unfortunately for Wise, he was trapped in the work area when racing resumed, ruling him out of action and leaving him with a 23rd-place finish – pinning him in an E-main for Saturday’s alphabet soup.

– As mentioned, Wise was far from the only driver who had a bad night Tuesday.

World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series competition director Mike Hess also appeared to be in a strong position, running as high as third in the feature and looking like a strong bet to challenge for a lock-in spot.

However, Hess’ night came to an end just one lap after Wise’s tire issue, as his Jim Neuman-prepared neon green No. 51 encountered terminal issues under caution that ended his stellar run.

“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be tonight,” Hess wrote on social media after the race. “We had a hell of a nice car, and I just pushed it a little too hard. The pistons hit the plugs and closed them up. It happens; that’s racing and we’ll get it fixed up and give it a go on Saturday!”

Hess finished 21st and, like Wise, will line up in an E-main for Lucas Oil championship day on Saturday.

– North Carolina’s Nick Drake was one of the surprises at the front of the field for much of the night, landing among the top four in passing points after heat races and then surviving his qualifier to earn a top-12 starting spot in the feature.

Drake ran as high as fifth in the second half of the feature, but got collected when Jake Bubak flipped and brought out the final caution flag with six to go, squelching what could have been a career night.

A 20th-place finish will put Drake at the back of a D-main on Saturday.

– Despite all of that, no one topped the misfortune list like Georgia’s Matt Linder did on Tuesday, after he found himself upside down three separate times during the course of the program.

Linder got over once in his heat race, again in his qualifier and finished off the hat trick with a spectacular ride down the backstretch in the second C-main that also involved Austin Shores as well.

Fortunately, both drivers walked away from that incident, one of the most violent of the night.

– In all, the World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count ballooned from nine after the opening night of action to a whopping 32 through two days of competition.

The all-time record for the Chili Bowl flip count is 75, set during the 2019 edition and capped off when Christopher Bell turned his car over during the celebratory donuts for his third Chili Bowl victory.

Article Credit: www.SpeedSport.com

Submitted By: Josh Holt

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