When Taylor Ferns drew the last starting position in the first heat on the opening night of the 2014 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Presented by General Tire, there was nowhere to move but UP. The Shelby Township, Michigan native did exactly that, using strong performances in her heat race, qualifier and B-main events to earn a spot in the 25-lap preliminary feature that capped that night.
Ferns lined up eighth for the first heat race as part of the Warren CAT Qualifying Night on Tuesday, Jan. 14. She charged from the back row to finish fourth in that eight-lap contest, aboard her family-owned No. 55 Motor City Transport Inc. Stealth with a Stanton SR11 engine under the hood. That performance garnered her quite a few passing points, putting her in the third Qualifier. The winningest female driver in USAC history started fourth in that 10-lapper and wound up fifth, just missing a direct transfer to the preliminary feature by a couple of passing points.
Ferns would start on the pole of the first 15-lap B-main and ran second to veteran Paul White, which locked her into the preliminary feature. That marked the first time in three tries at the Chili Bowl that she had earned a spot in a preliminary night feature. The 18-year-old started 19th in the 25-lapper and was able to gain a few positions to finish 16th.
On the final night of the Chili Bowl, Saturday, Jan. 18, Ferns found herself in the first C-main. The top-six finishers in this 15-lap event would tag the back of the first B-main. The high school senior started 12th and ran near that same spot for the duration, ending up in 13th, coming up just a handful of spots short of moving on to the first B-main. With over 280 cars in attendance at the 2014 Chili Bowl, Ferns was among the final one-third that were still competing on Saturday night, in the event, which was broadcast live on MAVTV.
Ferns will return to action in the season-opening Kokomo Midget Grand Prix at Kokomo Speedway in Indiana, for the Honda USAC National Midget Series, April 11–12. The 2011 USAC D1 Midget Series champion plans to contest the full Honda USAC National Midget Series and Traxxas USAC Silver Crown Series schedules in 2014.