NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (January 20, 2017) – Bryan Clauson envisioned a “Dream
Team” for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
That’s exactly what
Clauson-Marshall Racing delivered at the Tulsa Expo Raceway last week,
picking off a pair of preliminary feature wins and landing four of six
entries into the 55-lap Chili Bowl championship feature event with the
other two missing the cut by just one position apiece.
“I’ve never had a group of
racecar drivers work together and be so
excited for each other’s
successes,” Tim Clauson commented. “Bryan’s vision was spot on.”
Justin Grant led the
CMR stable in Saturday’s finale with a podium finish of third with Tyler
Courtney also among the top ten in sixth. Shane Golobic was
credited with 15th
with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., in 16th
while Donny Schatz and Jason Johnson both fell just feet short of
transferring from “B” Main action among the record field of 365
After winning the recent
Junior Knepper 55 at Du Quoin’s Southern Illinois Center in the initial
race under the CMR banner, Tyler Courtney set the early tone for the
week with a near-perfect Tuesday night qualifying effort.
“Sunshine” earned the pole
position for Tuesday’s 25-lap preliminary feature and battled into the
lead after a handful of laps en route to taking the win and locking into
his first career Chili Bowl championship feature event.
“Honestly, I think I’m
still in shock, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Courtney said in
victory lane. “This is really cool with a new team, on the ‘Dream
Team’ that Bryan wanted to put together. Bryan was the guy that
gave me my first opportunity seven years ago.”
Courtney went on to finish
out the week sixth in Saturday’s finale.
After getting some
laps in the Tuesday Race of Champions, World of Outlaws kingpin Donny
Schatz made his first career Midget start on Wednesday and didn’t
disappoint. After a late caution denied what looked to be a
qualifying race win, Schatz rallied from 15th
in Wednesday’s feature to finish eighth.
Schatz then battled among
the transfers in Saturday night’s “B” Main action only to get nipped at
the line by inches for the sixth and final transfer. A
seventh-place finish was still enough for Schatz to earn Chili Bowl
Nationals “Rookie of the Year”.
“What an incredible
opportunity,” Schatz said. “We came here with high expectations. We
wanted to make the show first and foremost and, unfortunately, we came
up one spot short. Racing in the Chili Bowl was something
I wasn’t sure I’d ever do, but I’m thrilled I had the chance to do it.”
Thursday night brought
double-duty for CMR with Shane Golobic and Knoxville Nationals champion
Jason Johnson both taking to the indoor ¼-mile clay oval.
Golobic missed a lock-in
position by finishing fourth in preliminary feature action with Johnson
close behind in seventh. Golobic raced into the
Saturday finale via “B” Main action while Johnson’s “B” Main run
mirrored Schatz’, getting edged at the line for the final transfer.
While both Schatz and
Johnson missed the cut by one spot, both impressed with their runs
outside of their familiar element of winged Sprint Cars.
“The way they worked and
took advice from the young guys was really cool,” Tim Clauson commented
The week’s prelim action
rounded on Friday with NASCAR star Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and late CRM
addition Justin Grant taking to the track.
Stenhouse, Jr., matched
Golobic’s prelim run with a fourth-place finish while Ione, CA, native
Grant finished out a near perfect night by wiring the field in Friday’s
25-lap feature for the second CMR win of the week.
“I can’t even try to put
it into word,” Grant said after the triumph. “But I’m
not going to say I’m carrying on Bryan’s legacy at all.
That would be not even a chance.”
While Stenhouse, Jr., raced through Saturday “B” Main
action into the final and finished 16th,
Grant ultimately led the way for CMR with a podium finish of third in
the 55-lap finale.
It was most certainly a
week for Bryan to be proud of.
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