The first races of 2021 are in the books as the Tulsa Shootout at Tulsa Expo Raceway enters its final stages on Saturday, Jan. 2. On Friday, New Years Day, 75 races were run in the span of 11 hours.
As the 36th annual Shootout runs through its own long list of heats, qualifying mains, and last chance showdowns in advance of next week’s Chili Bowl Nationals, more than 250 races have been run in multiple divisions of micro sprints; 39 races remain including seven championship A-Mains.
As of Saturday morning, five drivers have locked into three A-Mains including Tyler Courtney – who sits on the front row in the Stock Non-Wing division. Eight others have made two features, including Christopher Bell, Kevin Thomas Jr., and Jason McDougal.
McDougal is the only driver to win three featured mains in the same year. He accomplished that feat in 2018.
Six former Shootout champions are locked into two events each, including the 2014 Outlaw winner Frank Flud who will attempt to win his fifth title.
Eight positions in each feature remain open for the winners of Saturday’s Last Chance Qualifiers.
With so many races run, drivers tend to ride a rollercoaster. Over the course of the event, Bell finished as low as 13th in a qualifier and as high as first in three other races. In one of these, he had to drive from eighth in eight laps in a nine-race field.
“This thing is rolling really good,” Bell said after the near-worst to first charge. “I’ve got two more heat races today. We’re in a really good place to get some passing points, so we’ll see what happens.”
Bell’s best starting position comes in the A-Class Main where he will line up third behind Brian Carber and McDougal. Bell is also locked into the Stock Non-Wing Main in ninth.
In addition to Carber in the A-Class, other pole sitters are TJ Smith in Stock Non-Wing, Kris Carroll in Outlaw Non-Wing, and Joe B Miller in Winged Outlaw.