Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (December 21, 2010) – Race ready. That’s the status of the ¼-mile Tulsa Expo Raceway clay oval that has been put in place at the QuikTrip Center over the past week.
And, in just a couple of more weeks, race teams and fans from around the globe will converge upon the QuikTrip Center for the Silver Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals on January 11-15, 2011.
Thus far, a total of 255 entries from 29 different states as well as Australia and New Zealand have been filed for the event, a half dozen entries ahead of last year’s pace that ultimately drew a total of 256 competitors.
While Chili Bowl anticipation builds, the Tulsa Expo Raceway clay oval will get put to the test next weekend with the 26th Annual Tulsa Shootout. And, this year’s Tulsa Shootout will have a different look, as it will be the first all open-wheel edition of the Shootout after dropping the Kart and Quad classes.
Twenty or so drivers entered for the Chili Bowl will get an early look at the track by racing in the Shootout, including past Shootout champions Brady Bacon, Donnie Ray Crawford, Kevin Bayer and Gary Taylor. The Tulsa Shootout, expected to attract approximately 700 entries, will include six classes of Micro Sprint Cars along with 1200cc Mini Sprints and the Chevy ECOTech Midgets.
While Bacon tries to add a third Golden Driller in Shootout competition, he’ll take the wheel of a Keith Kunz Motorsports entry for the Chili Bowl as he tries to become just the second Oklahoma driver to win the Chili Bowl Nationals and first to pull off the feat since Andy Hillenburg took the top spot in 1994.
Crawford, aboard the Hard 8 Racing entry, will try for a third Chili Bowl championship feature start while Bayer, the 2009 Multi king at the Tulsa Shootout, tries to crack the Chili Bowl finale for the first time.
Taylor, a native of Snohomish, WA, now residing in Tulsa, joins the potent Loyet stable of entries that includes defending Chili Bowl Race of Champions winner Brad Loyet, 2008 Chili Bowl champion Damion Gardner, New Zealand’s Michael Pickens and Arizona native Casey Shuman, who topped this past weekend’s event in Du Quoin, IL.
Several others competing in both the Tulsa Shootout and Chili Bowl include the likes of Tim Crawley, Kevin Ramey, Dustin Morgan, Andrew Felker, Jonathan Beason, Matt Sherrell, Justin Melton, Evan Sewell, Andrew Deal, Billy Lawhead and Chili Bowl rookies Cameron Hagin, Alex Sewell, Layne Himebaugh and Tyler Courtney.
While several more Chili Bowl entries have trickled in over the past few days, one notable driver change has taken place as Chad Boat will take the wheel of the Minarik No. 98 that was originally slated to be driven by P.J. Jones. Boat, the 18-year-old son of 1997 Chili Bowl champion Billy Boat, made the cut for his first Chili Bowl championship main event last January.
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Pre-Entry Stats:
Most Chili Bowls Competed In (Among Pre-Entered Drivers): Rich Camfield 20, Sammy Swindell 20, Johnny Heydenreich 19, Steve Newman 19, Scott Hatton 18, David Camfield, Jr. 16, Tracy Hines 14, Jason Leffler 14, J.J. Yeley 14, Jackie Burke 13, Jerry Coons, Jr. 13, Dave Darland 13, Jay Drake 13, Dean Franklin 13, Cory Kruseman 13, Tony Elliott 13, P.J. Jones 13, Johnny Murdock 13, Joe Boyles 12, A.J. Fike 12, Mike Hess 12, Tim Siner 12, Nick O’Neal 12, Matt Westfall 12, Shane Cottle 11, Bud Kaeding 10, Floyd Alvis 9, Josh Ford 9, Shane Hollingsworth 9, R.J. Johnson 9, Thomas Meseraull 9, Davey Ray 9, Brandon Waelti 9, Paul White 9, Aaron Berryhill 8, Steve Buckwalter 8, Don Droud, Jr. 8, Ryan Durst 8, Bobby East 8, Damion Gardner 8, Garrett Hansen 8, Brad Kuhn 8, Matt Mitchell 8, Daryn Pittman 8, Gary Taylor 8, Josh Wise 8.
Chili Bowl Championship Feature Starts (Among Pre-Entered Drivers): Sammy Swindell 17, Jerry Coons, Jr. 11, Dave Darland 11, Tracy Hines 11, Jason Leffler 10, Cory Kruseman 9, Scott Hatton 8, Shane Cottle 7, Jay Drake 7, P.J. Jones 6, J.J. Yeley 6, Brad Kuhn 5, Jimmy Sills 5, Jon Stanbrough 5, Matt Westfall 5, Steve Buckwalter 4, Bobby East 4, Tony Elliott 4, Davey Ray 4, Joe Boyles 3, Josh Ford 3, Damion Gardner 3, Mike Hess 3, Johnny Heydenreich 3, Bud Kaeding 3, Tim McCreadie 3, Casey Shuman 3, Cole Whitt 3, Chris Windom 3, Aaron Berryhill 2, Rich Camfield 2, Donnie Ray Crawford 2, Don Droud, Jr. 2, Garrett Hansen 2, Wayne Johnson 2, Levi Jones 2, Brad Loyet 2, Thomas Meseraull 2, Michael Pickens 2, Daryn Pittman 2, Danny Stratton 2, Kevin Swindell 2, Josh Wise 2, Daniel Adler 1, Brady Bacon 1, Brent Beauchamp 1, Bryan Clauson 1, Zach Daum 1, Ryan Durst 1, A.J. Fike 1, Dean Franklin 1, Mike Goodman 1, Shane Golobic 1, David Gough 1, Jonathan Hendrick 1, Shane Hollingsworth 1, Kyle Larson 1, Bobby Michnowicz 1, Tony Roney 1, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 1, Brad Sweet 1, Gary Taylor 1, Brandon Waelti 1, Paul White1.
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Quick Facts:
What: 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals
Where: Tulsa Expo Raceway – ¼-mile clay oval inside the QuikTrip Center at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds
January 11-15, 2011
Tuesday – Warren CAT Qualifying Night plus Vacuworx Int’l Chili Bowl Race of Champions
Wednesday – River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night
Thursday – Qualifying Night
Friday – Vacuworx International Qualifying Night
Saturday – Lucas Oil Championship Feature Events
Past Winners: Kevin Swindell (2010), Sammy Swindell (2009, 1998, 1996, 1992 and 1989), Damion Gardner (2008), Tony Stewart (2007 and 2002), Tim McCreadie (2006), Tracy Hines (2005), Cory Kruseman (2004 and 2000), Dan Boorse (2003 and 1999), Jay Drake (2001), Billy Boat (1997), Donnie Beechler (1995), Andy Hillenburg (1994), Dave Blaney (1993), Lealand McSpadden (1991), Jon Heydenreich (1990), Scott Hatton (1988), Rich Vogler (1987).
Trade Show: Always a popular attraction at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is the Trade Show, which is open to the public each day (Tuesday through Saturday) free of charge. All variety of racing products, apparel and more is available with well over 100 different vendors. The Trade Show covers approximately 20,000 square feet.
Tickets: A limited number of reserved seats for Tuesday night's Warren CAT Qualifying Event and the Third Annual Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions are available for $43 per person and may be obtained by calling 918-838-3777 or at the gate if still available. Pit passes for all five nights are available at the gate as well.
Chili Bowl on TV: Portions of the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals will be broadcast on SPEED TV on a tape-delayed basis.
Chili Bowl on the Net: All official news pertaining to the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, including official entry lists, race results and recaps, is available first at www.chilibowl.com. Also, all five nights of the Chili Bowl Nationals will be broadcast live (audio) on www.racinboys.com.