2-time Chili Bowl victor Rico Abreu returned from a 15-week break to win his heat and advance to Saturday night's main event.
This week marks Abreu's first time back in the vehicle since taking a months-long hiatus following a nasty crash in September at the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.
Starting second in the Keith Kunz Spike/Toyota, Abreu pounced on polesitter Tyler Thomas on Lap 15 and never relinquished the top spot as he completed a ideal evening at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are two former sprint vehicle stars who are on the outside looking in right now at the Super Bowl of Midget Racing. Bell kept Toyota undefeated in the Chili Bowl - the manufacturer has won all three preliminary night races, and the Race of Champions.
TULSA, Okla. - went back to victory lane on the opening night of the Chili Bowl Nationals.
Both Kahne and Stenhouse will have to race their way into the main event Saturday night. Grant won his Friday night heat a year ago and started from the pole in the A Main, but finished third. Joining Abreu in advancing were Tyler Thomas and Kevin Thomas Jr. There have been no reported injuries.