The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is an indoor midget car racing event. It takes place on a 1/4 mile dirt track at the Tulsa Expo Center in January, two weeks after Christmas. NASCAR calls it the biggest Midget race of the year. It is nicknamed the “Super Bowl of midget racing.
The inaugural Chili Bowl was organized by Lanny Edwards and partner Emmett Hahn It was named after a local company who sponsored the first event. The race has been hosted at the Tulsa Expo Center since it was founded in 1987.
The inaugural 1987 event consisted of 52 midgets competing in the 2-day event. The event now consists of five days of qualifiers for the Saturday night A-main event, with over 341 cars entered for the 2020 race. One fifth of the drivers compete in each qualifying night’s event, attempting to qualify for the A-main. Each qualifying night has heat races, dash-type events, and a 25 lap feature. Drivers who finish poorly in their heat event in their qualifying night start deep in final night qualifying events and have to finish high in many events to make the A-main field.
The event also has rewards for winning. The winner of the second-night Vacuworks International Race of Champions between past Chili Bowl winning drivers, drivers nominated by former race champion teams, and the reigning national Midget Driver of the Year will be awarded a guaranteed starting position. If the driver who won the preceding year’s Chili Bowl or the Race of Champions fail to qualify, they are added as the 25th and 26th cars in the field. The National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame uses the event to induct its next class of members.
The event is held at the Tulsa Expo Center, the home of The Golden Driller. It accommodates hundreds of race cars, bleachers for 15,000 fans, and a trade show, all under one roof. The clay which once covered the adjacent fairgrounds is used for the event. The quarter mile indoor track is not affected by adverse weather or drying from the wind or sun.
Drivers in other series who come from a midget car background frequently race in the event. The 2007 competitors included NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Justin Allgaier, J. J. Yeley, A. J. Fike, Josh Wise, Kasey Kahne, and Jason Leffler, World of Outlaws sprint car drivers Terry McCarl, Tim McCreadie, Danny Lasoski, and Sammy Swindell, NHRA drag racing champions Cruz Pedregon and Gary Scelzi, IndyCar drivers A. J. Foyt IV, Tom Bigelow and Billy Boat, and numerous USAC racers. Drivers in 2008 came from 29 American states, Canada, and Australia.
List of A-Main Winners
Here is the list of A-Main Winners of Chili Bowl Nationals:
Chili Bowl Nationals Online Info
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