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Ray is in the Green in Chili Bowl Nationals Creek Nation Casino Qualifier

 

TULSA, Okla. (January 10, 2007) – It was a pair of Badgers atop Wednesday night's Creek Nation Casino Qualifying event at Tulsa Expo Raceway's 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, with Davey Ray cashing in the biggest stack of chips after outdueling Brad Kuhn in the 25-lap "A" Main event.

 

Ray, a former Badger Midget Auto Racing Association (BMARA), and reigning BMARA king Kuhn diced in such heated fashion over the middle portion of the race that third-generation teenage shoe Donnie Ray Crawford snuck into the mix and nearly posted a monumental upset in his Midget racing debut.

 

But in the end, it was Ray slipping away after the race's final caution with five laps to go to snare the win in front of Kuhn, with Casey Shuman making a late move around Crawford to claim the show position.  Moving up from the Micro ranks, Crawford netted the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday night's 50-lap Chili Bowl championship main event.

 

Of the epic mid-race slide job battle with Kuhn, Ray commented, "It's fun when you can race with a guy that you know is not aiming to take you out.  Yeah, we rubbed there a little bit but that's pretty hard racing so I know nothing's intentional between Brad and I.  It's fun and it comes down to getting hairy like that."

 

While Ray took the limelight in the finale, 2006 National Midget Driver of the Year Kuhn was without question the star of the evening much of the way.  Kuhn charged from eighth to finish second in his heat race, ranking number one in passing points among 69 entries after heat race action.

 

Kuhn backed it up in his qualifying race, advancing from sixth to take the win and put the clamps on the pole position for the feature in the process.

 

But Ray was nearly matching him step for step.  Ray raced from fifth to win his heat race, then picked off four more positions by advancing from sixth to second in his qualifier to earn the front row outside starting slot for the feature.

 

Ray broke into the feature lead at the drop of Roger Slack's green flag and paced the early rounds in front of Kuhn, Thomas Meseraull, Shuman and Danny Lasoski.  Ray and Kuhn slipped away from the rest of the field and were encountering lapped traffic when the race's first caution flew after eleven laps for Turkey Night winner Billy Wease's turn four spin.

 

Following a tangle involving Damion Gardner and Mike Hess two laps later, the battle for the point intensified as Kuhn executed a bold slide job entering turn one to take command.  Ray rallied right back, recapturing the lead with a similar slide a lap later.

 

Kuhn tried to return the favor a half lap later and got crossed up, allowing a low riding Crawford to race by and suddenly enter the mix for the win.  Crawford had cracked the top five by disposing of Lasoski moments after the lap eleven interruption.  The young gun had then climbed to fourth by the time the Gardner-Hess tangle occurred.

 

With Ray riding the rim and Crawford on the low side, the young gun began challenging Ray for the lead when his pace was interrupted by a lap 18 stoppage for Russ Harper, who came to a stop in turn one.

 

With Ray leading the way, Kuhn battled past Crawford to reclaim second before the final caution appeared for Evan Sewell's turn one trouble with just five laps remaining.

 

Ray raced the cushion to perfection over the final laps to secure the win, popping a crowd-pleasing wheelie as he took the checkered flag in the Mecum Racing Chevy-powered No. 33x Mecum Auctions/DMI No. 33x Spike.

 

Kuhn, who raced from 15th to fourth in last year's Chili Bowl championship feature event, settled for second aboard Dr. Kenneth Love's Stanton Mopar-powered No. 71x Spike.

 

"I kinda felt bad for the guys, I thought we had a better car and I plowed into the cushion and bent the Jacobs ladder pretty bad," Kuhn explained afterward.  "We were just kinda hangin' on and tried to make a go at Davey there, but he's a class act and I just got outdrove, almost spun out trying to get back by him.  We'll just take our second and move on and try to get that trophy on Saturday."

 

Shuman's late move aboard the Thornell Racing Sesco Mopar-powered No. 52s James Development General Contractors Stealth netted third.

 

Of his last gasp pass of Crawford, Shuman explained that, "I was really just trying to be a little more aggressive on the cushion to make sure I didn't get passed by somebody on the bottom.  I'm tickled to death with third, but fourth would have had us locked us in.  I was more trying to protect my position and it worked out, we got it at the end.

 

Crawford opened the racing world's eyes with his fourth place finish in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Fontana-powered No. 71k John Christner Trucking Bullet.

 

Joe Boyles made an impressive charge through the field by racing from 15th to round out the top five, with 13th-starter Jon Stanbrough, Meseraull, USAC Midget champion Jerry Coons, Jr., Matt Westfall and Lasoski completing the top ten.

 

Heat races were topped by Sammy Swindell, Ray, Don Droud, Jr., Brady Bacon, Gardner, Johnny Rodriguez, Boyles, Chris Rahe and Coons.  Mike Hess, Nick Knepper, Brian Ramstack and Cody Brewer won the 8-lap Last Chance races, with Kuhn, Shuman, Meseraull and Lasoski victorious in the 10-lap Qualifying races.

 

Swindell wired the field in the first 15-lap "B" Main, with Levi Jones emerging a top a dicey second "B" Main.  Swindell, a four-time Chili Bowl champion, was 20th in the main event with Jones climbing to 14th.

 

A total of 110 green flag laps were completed before the night's first flip occurred when New York's Jessica Zemken got upside down in turn four during the first Qualifying race.  Other Qualifying Race flippers included Jones, Rick Hendrix and Randy Hannagan, with Rodriguez toppling in the first "B" Main.  There were no injuries.

 

The 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals continues with Thursday night's Bass Pro Shops Qualifying event, with heat races slated to go green at 6:15 p.m.

 

Wednesday Night's 21st Annual Chili Bowl Nationals Creek Nation Casino Qualifier Results:

 

Heat Races (8 Laps - Top 40 in passing points to four A Qualifiers; Balance to four Last Chance races)

 

Heat 1: 1. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, Tenn.; 2. #71X Brad Kuhn, Avon, Ind.; 3. #71P Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind.; 4. #22E Evan Sewell, Jenks, Okla.; 5. #91K Kevin Bayer, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 6. #39X Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, Ind.; 7. #1C Chad McDaniel, Concordia, Kan.; 8. 33M John Wolfe, Winchester, Ind.

 

Heat 2: 1. #33X Davey Ray, Love’s Park, Ill.; 2. #12W Billy Wease, Noblesville, Ind.; 3. #21A Jon Stanbrough, Brownsburg, Ind.; 4. #95K Rik Forbes, Omaha, Neb.; 5. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, Ill.; 6. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, Okla.; 7. #F1 French Grimes, Madison, Va. DNS - #16 Tom Bigelow, Winchester, Ind.

 

Heat 3: 1. #44D Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, Neb.; 2. #71K Donnie Ray Crawford, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 3. #20J Levi Jones, Olney, Ill.; 4. #91 Bugs Norbury, Prescott Valley, Ariz.; 5. #22T Mike Woodruff, Satanta, Kan.; 6. #20C Carey Becker, Reading, Pa.; 7. #2K Kyle Wissmiller, Saybrook, Ill.; 8. #85J Matt Johnson, Oklahoma City, Okla.

 

Heat 4: 1. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 2. #5L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, Mo.; 3. #14 Matt Westfall, Ludlow Falls, Ohio; 4. #12H Rick Hendrix, Canoga Park, Calif.; 5. #25K Nick Knepper, Belleville, Ill.; 6. #33A Stephen Arnold, Seymour, Ind.; 7. #1M Mike Miller, Reading, Pa.; 8. #15N David Prickett, Fresno, Calif.

 

Heat 5: 1. #67 Damion Gardner, Concord, Calif.; 2. #9H Russ Harper, Watkins, Colo.; 3. #5C Joey Montgomery, Fredericktown, Mo.; 4. #17T Thomas Meseraull, Avon, Ind.; 5. #02R Brian Ramstack, West Bend, Wis.; 6. #19W Troy Rutherford, Ojai, Calif.; 7. #74 Ernie Bartley III, El Cajon, Calif.; 8. #5AZ Shon Deskins, Waddell, Ariz.

 

Heat 6: 1. #7R Johnny Rodriguez, Elk Grove, Calif.; 2. #F4 Jessica Zemken, Sprakers, N.Y.; 3. #8E Tony Elliott, Warsaw, Ind.; 4. #125 Teddy Beach, Donnelsville, Ohio; 5. #18 Tony Bruce Jr., Liberal, Kan.; 6. #57 Brian Gard, Clovis, Calif.; 7. #31T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, Mo. DNS - #83 Kurt Blackaby

 

Heat 7: 1. #7B Joe Boyles, Greenwood, Mo.; 2. #69 Darren Hagen, Riverside, Calif.; 3. #21M Andy Martin, Gordonville, Pa.; 4. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, Ariz.; 5. #07 Shannon McQueen, Bakersfield, Calif.; 6. #5T Randy Timms, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 7. #24H Brent Beauchamp, Fairland, Ind.

 

Heat 8: 1. #3C Chris Rahe, Placentia, Calif.; 2. #52S Casey Shuman, Indianapolis, Ind.; 3. #2M Frank Polimeda, Fort Lee, N.J.; 4. #1W Paul White, Temple, Texas; 5. #27B Neil Shepherd, Warsaw, Ind.; 6. #51 Mike Hess, Riverton, Ill.; 7. #19N Nick O’Neal, Wagoner, Okla.

 

Heat 9: 1. #11 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, Ariz.; 2. #37M Rip Williams, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 3. #85X Matt Covington, Glenpool, Okla.; 4. #2 Danny Stratton, Riverside, Calif.; 5. #13 Jason Sides, Bartlett, Tenn.; 6. #73E Foster Landon, Collinsville, Okla.; 7. #18G Rickie Gaunt, Torrance, Calif.

 

Last Chance Races (Top 2 in each transfer to back of corresponding A Qualifier)

 

Last Chance 1: 1. #51 Mike Hess, Riverton, Ill.; 2. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, Ill.; 3. #07 Shannon McQueen, Bakersfield, Calif.; 4. #20C Carey Becker, Reading, Pa.; 5. #85J Matt Johnson, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 6. #F1 French Grimes, Madison, Va. DNS - #24H Brent Beauchamp, Fairland, Ind.; #83 Kurt Blackaby, Bentonville, Ark.

 

Last Chance 2: 1. #25K Nick Knepper, Belleville, Ill.; 2. #73E Foster Landon, Collinsville, Okla.; 3. #33A Stephen Arnold, Seymour, Ind.; 4. #15N David Prickett, Fresno, Calif.; 5. #2K Kyle Wissmiller, Saybrook, Ill.; 6. #19N Nick O’Neal, Wagoner, Okla.; 7. #19W Troy Rutherford, Ojai, Calif. Note - Rutherford was penalized to the end of the field after passing before the cone on a restart

 

Last Chance 3: 1. #02R Brian Ramstack, West Bend, Wis.; 2. #39X Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, Ind.; 3. #18G Rickie Gaunt, Torrance, Calif.; 4. #57 Brian Gard, Clovis, Calif.; 5. #1M Mike Miller, Reading, Pa.; 6. #5AZ Shon Deskins, Waddell, Ariz.; 7. #74 Ernie Bartley III, El Cajon, Calif.

 

Last Chance 4: 1. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, Okla.; 2. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, Mo.; 3. #18 Tony Bruce Jr., Liberal, Kan; 4. #5T Randy Timms, Oklahoma City, Okla.; 5. #3M John Wolfe, Winchester, Ind.; 6. #16 Tom Bigelow, Winchester, Ind.; 7. #1C Chad McDaniel, Concordia, Kan.

 

A Qualifiers (Top 16 in combined passing points to A Main; Balance to twin B Mains)

 

A Qualifier 1: 1. #71X Brad Kuhn, Avon, Ind.; 2. #51 Mike Hess, Riverton, Ill.; 3. #71K Donnie Ray Crawford, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 4. #21A Jon Stanbrough, Brownsburg, Ind.; 5. #21M Andy Martin, Gordonville, Pa.; 6. #9H Russ Harper, Watkins, Colo.; 7. #2 Danny Stratton, Riverside, Calif.; 8. #5C Joey Montgomery, Fredericktown, Mo.; 9. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, Ill.; 10. #85X Matt Covington, Glenpool, Okla.; 11. #95K Rik Forbes, Omaha, Neb.; 12. #F4 Jessica Zemken, Sprakers, N.Y.

 

A Qualifier 2: 1. #52S Casey Shuman, Indianapolis, Ind.; 2. #33X Davey Ray, Love’s Park, Ill.; 3. #37M Rip Williams, Yorba Linda, Calf.; 4. #7B Joe Boyles, Greenwood, Mo.; 5. #25K Nick Knepper, Belleville, Ill.; 6. #125 Teddy Beach, Donnelsville, Ohio; 7. #73E Foster Landon, Collinsville, Okla.; 8. #22T Mike Woodruff, Satanta, Kan.; 9. #44D Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, Neb.; 10. #91 Bugs Norbury, Prescott Valley, Ariz.; 11. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 12. #27B Neil Shepherd, Warsaw, Ind.

 

A Qualifier 3: 1. #17T Thomas Meseraull, Avon, Ind.; 2. #22E Evan Sewell, Jenks, Okla.; 3. #3C Chris Rahe, Placentia, Calif.; 4. #12W Billy Wease, Noblesville, Ind.; 5. #02R Brian Ramstack, West Bend, Wis.; 6. #13 Jason Sides, Bartlett, Tenn.; 7. #20J Levi Jones, Olney, Ill.; 8. #39X Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, Ind.; 9. #71P Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind.; 10. #69 Darren Hagen, Riverside, Calif.; 11. #12H Rick Hendrix, Canoga Park, Calif.; 12. #7R Johnny Rodriguez, Elk Grove, Calif.

 

A Qualifier 4: 1. #5L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, Mo.; 2. #14 Matt Westfall, Ludlow Falls, Ohio; 3. #67 Damion Gardner, Concord, Calif.; 4. #11 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, Ariz.; 5. #8E Tony Elliott, Warsaw, Ind.; 6. #91K Kevin Bayer, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 7. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, Tenn.; 8. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, Mo.; 9. 396 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, Okla.; 10. #2M Frank Polimeda, Fort Lee, N.J.; 11. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, Ariz.; 12. #1W Paul White, Temple, Texas

 

B Mains (Top 4 advance to A Main)

 

B Main 1: 1. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, Tenn.; 2. #44D Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, Neb.; 3. #2 Danny Stratton, Riverside, Calif.; 4. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 5. #25K Nick Knepper, Belleville, Ill.; 6. #13 Jason Sides, Bartlett, Tenn.; 7. #2M Frank Polimeda, Fort Lee, N.J.; 8. #12H Rick Hendrix, Canoga Park, Calif.; 9. #96 Cody Brewer, Choctaw, Okla.; 10. #73E Foster Landon, Collinsville, Okla.; 11. F4 Jessica Zemken, Sprakers, N.Y.; 12. #71P Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind.; 13. #125 Teddy Beach, Donnelsville, Ohio; 14. #7R Johnny Rodriguez, Elk Grove, Calif.; 15. #21M Andy Martin, Gordonville, Pa. DNS - #1W Paul White, Temple, Texas

 

B Main 2: 1. #20J Levi Jones, Olney, Ill.; 2. #5C Joey Montgomery, Fredericktown, Mo.; 3. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, Ill.; 4. #9H Russ Harper, Watkins, Colo.; 5. #8E Tony Elliott, Warsaw, Ind.; 6. #39X Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, Ind.; 7. #85X Matt Covington, Glenpool, Okla.; 8. #1T Tony Roney, Herculaneum, Mo.; 9. #95K Rik Forbes, Omaha, Neb.; 10. #02R Brian Ramstack, West Bend, Wis.; 11. #27B Neil Shepherd, Warsaw, Ind.; 12. #91 Bugs Norbury, Prescott Valley, Ariz.; 13. #91K Kevin Bayer, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 14. #69 Darren Hagen, Riverside, Calif.; 15. #22T Mike Woodruff, Satanta, Kan.; 16. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, Ariz.

 

Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Night "A" Main (25 laps - Top 4 Advance to Saturday Night’s Main Event)

 

1. #33X Davey Ray, Love’s Park, Ill.; 2. #71X Brad Kuhn, Avon, Ind.; 3. #52S Casey Shuman, Indianapolis, Ind.; 4. #71K Donnie Ray Crawford, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 5. #7B Joe Boyles, Greenwood, Mo.; 6. #21A Jon Stanbrough, Brownsburg, Ind.; 7. #17T Thomas Meseraull, Avon, Ind.; 8. #11 Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, Ariz.; 9. #14 Matt Westfall, Ludlow Falls, Ohio; 10. #5L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, Mo.; 11. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, Ill.; 12. #2 Danny Stratton, Riverside, Calif.; 13. #44D Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, Neb.; 14. #20J Levi Jones, Olney, Ill.; 15. #51 Mike Hess, Riverton, Ill.; 16. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.; 17. #37M Rip Williams, Yorba Linda, Calif.; 18. #12W Billy Wease, Noblesville, Ind.; 19. #9H Russ Harper, Watkins, Colo.; 20. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, Tenn.; 21. #5C Joey Montgomery, Fredericktown, Mo.; 22. #22E Evan Sewell, Jenks, Okla.; 23. #67 Damion Gardner, Concord, Calif. DNS - #3C Chris Rahe, Placentia, Calif.

 
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