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TULSA, Okla. — Cole Whitt’s charge to his first Chili Bowl Midget Nationals title ran out of laps Saturday night, as the 19-year-old finished eighth in the A-main after starting 23rd.

With a starting position like that in a quick 50-lap feature, improving on last year’s runner-up finish and winning the Golden Driller trophy was a tall order. But in Keith Kunz’s No. 71 Red Bull Bullet, Whitt moved to 17th by halfway and into the top 10 with 11 laps to go. He climbed to as high as seventh before ending up eighth in a battle with Bobby East.

“It didn’t seem to be a real racy track. There wasn’t a whole lot of passing,” Whitt said. “We just stayed out of trouble and worked to the front to get all we could get. The track was really slick … no one could get any speed going. We were just kind of along for the ride.”

Saturday marked the fourth consecutive year that the Red Bull development driver advanced to the Chili Bowl A-main. He was second in 2010, eighth in 2009 and 13th in 2008. He made the show by way of a sixth-place finish in B-main No. 1 earlier in the night. On Wednesday, Whitt won his heat, qualifier and led much of the A-main before a last-lap fight with Damion Gardner and ensuing contact relegated him to seventh.

The 25th Chili Bowl was Whitt’s first time on dirt after a season of stock car racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and K&N Pro Series East.


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