Coons Conquers Chili Bowl Thursday

Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (January 15, 2015) – Going into Thursday night’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying event at the 29th Annual Chili Bowl Nationals, most were anticipating a showdown between four-time Chili Bowl champ Kevin Swindell and Christopher Bell.

They forgot about Jerry Coons, Jr.

The Tucson native drove past Andrew Deal for the lead on the seventh round and was in command the rest of the way in the Tulsa Expo Raceway 25-lapper aboard the Wilke-Pak No. 5 entry to lock into the 16th Chili Bowl championship finale of his career and 12th in a row, the best among current active streaks of consecutive starts in the big one.

“A prelim win here is a big deal so we’ll celebrate this one pretty big,” Coons commented afterward.

Behind him, Andrew Deal proved his place among the big names by holding the runner-up spot to the line after winning both his heat race and qualifier.

While the lead duo were gone most of the race, Kevin Swindell and Bell originally started the feature alongside each other in the ninth row and then restarted 23rd and 24th after lap two pileup in turns one and two that collected half the 24-car feature field.

The duo sliced through the field, with Swindell taking the final lock-in position to Saturday’s 55-lap finale while Bell rallied to fifth behind Ryan Bernal, who surrendered third to Swindell on the white flag lap.

After earning the pole position for the feature, Danny Stratton paced the initial three laps before slipping back to sixth.

For complete results, go to

(Photo courtesy of Dylan Duvall)