Roger Diez: Minden’s Thorson makes Chili Bowl A Main | NevadaAppeal.com

Roger Diez: Minden’s Thorson makes Chili Bowl A Main

Roger Diez

Kyle Larson came just one corner away from winning his first Golden Driller trophy at the 2019 Chili Bowl in Tulsa last Saturday night. But a slip on the white flag lap and another in the final turn gave Christopher Bell an opening, which he took to win his third consecutive Chili Bowl title. Bell is only the second driver to accomplish the hat trick in the classic event. Minden driver Tanner Thorson made it all the way to Saturday's A Main as well, finishing 10th of the 24 starters. Larson was dejected after the race, particularly because second place has become too familiar — he had six second places and no wins in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. Both Bell and Larson will now turn their attention to a slightly larger venue, Daytona. Larson will once again field the No. 42 Ganassi Racing Chevy in the Cup series, while Bell will return to the Xfinity series in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

•••

Today will see the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with 13 different makes competing in the Daytona Prototype (Dpi), Lemans Prototype 2 (LMP2), GT Daytona (GTD), and GT Lemans (GTLM) classes that make up the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The number of manufacturers grows to 19 when the companion Michelin Pilot Challenge series is added. In qualifying on Thursday, Oliver Jarvis put his Mazda Dpi on the pole with a new track record of 1:33.69 seconds, breaking the mark set in 1993 by P.J. Jones' Toyota prototype. James Allen's Oreca set fast time in LMP2, Nick Tandy in a Porsche was top dog in GTLM, and fast GTD lap went to the Ferrari wheeled by Marcos Gomez. But qualifying is one thing, a 24-hour race is quite a different proposition, as noted by two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who qualified his Penske Acura DPi entry in third.

•••

Although no current NASCAR drivers are competing in the Rolex 24 this year, NASCAR will have plenty of representation in the broadcast coverage. The NBC Sports commentators will include 17 of those regularly doing IMSA, IndyCar, and NASCAR broadcasts for the network. See if some of your favorites are on the list.

•••

Recommended Stories For You

Anchoring the broadcast will be the networks IMSA lead team of Lee Diffey and former IMSA GT driver and analyst Calvin Fish. They'll be joined by a new member of the team, A.J. Allmendinger, who will also be competing in the race. Spelling this booth team will be NASCAR lead announcer Rick Allen, with IndyCar analysts Paul Tracy Townsend Bell, and Brian Till. Bell, like Allmendinger, will split his time between the booth and the race track.

•••

Handling pit road duties will be NASCAR on NBC reporters Marty Snider, Dave Burns, Kelli Stavast, and Parker Kligerman, along with IndyCar on NBC commentators Kevin Lee and Jon Beekhuis. Krista Voda will anchor the "Peacock Pit Box" coverage with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte providing analysis and technical commentary. And finally, Rutledge Wood will be there, doing whatever it is that he does.

•••

In local racing news, the Fernley 95A website has posted the 2019 race schedule for its 3/8 mile clay oval. The season will kick off on March 16 with open practice beginning at 11 a.m. The season-opening race will take place the following Saturday, March 23, with action beginning at 6 p.m. Classes listed for the 2019 season are A Modified, Hobby Stock, GenX, and B Modified. There's also a visit from the World of Outlaws slated for Sunday, Sept. 15. No word as of yet on appearances by the Nevada Pro Stocks or Dwarf cars.