2023 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

Spencer Bayston Prevails In Chili Bowl Race Of Champions Slugfest

Spencer Bayston Prevails In Chili Bowl Race Of Champions Slugfest

Spencer Bayston came out on top of a three-car duel to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts Race of Champions Monday night at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Jan 10, 2023 by Brandon Paul

Spencer Bayston emerged from an exciting multi-car battle to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts Race of Champions on Monday night at the 37th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. 

For Bayston, the 2017 USAC National Midget Series champion, the victory was his first inside the SageNet Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Starting from the fifth position, Bayston quickly moved his RMS Racing No. 1S to third on lap 1 and made the pass on teammate Justin Grant two laps later to take over the runner-up position. He then began reeling in polesitter Rico Abreu until the first and only caution flag of the night waved with 13 laps to go. 

From there, the battle for the win was on. Bayston briefly claimed the lead from Abreu at the halfway point (lap 10) before "Rico" took the lead back one lap later. The two drivers continued to battle in every corner of the race track until Bayston claimed the lead for good with seven laps remaining. 

However, the box score doesn't tell the entire story of just how much action the race had. Bayston was forced to fend off a handful of fierce challenges from Cannon McIntosh to claim the win. 

"That was an exciting race," Bayston said in victory lane. "I was originally thinking that starting on the top might be better but obviously as the track wore on throughout the night I was pretty excited about starting on the bottom there. It definitely worked out. I felt really good from the get-go working the bottom. I could feel it starting to slow down and I moved up a little bit there, but every time I exposed myself and jumped to the top I felt like I was getting slid."

McIntosh remained hot on Bayston's heels as he also attempted to win his first O'Reilly Parts Race of Champions. 

"I felt like we made all of the right moves," McIntosh said. "We fell back to fourth on the restart there and lost a little bit of ground but I found something and everytime they went somewhere I went the opposite way. We really made it work on both ends because I had a really good car under me. We slid for the lead there and Bayston really didn't think about it and plowed us out of the way. That's how he usually races. I'm thankful to be here in this position and put on a show with this fast car."

For Bayston, the one mistake he admitted to making came after the checkered flag waved when he stalled his car while celebrating the win. 

"Maybe I can get some more practice doing some donuts here."

Abreu finished third after leading the 12 of the 20-lap feature, while Logan Seavey and defending Chili Bowl winner Tanner Thorson completed the top five.