Chili Bowl Nationals news 2009-01-10

Chili Bowl Race of Champions Voting Concludes; Outcome in Dispute TULSA, Okla. (January 10, 2009) -- At-large voting to determine the final two starters in next Tuesday night's Race of Champions at the 23rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals...

Chili Bowl Race of Champions Voting Concludes; Outcome in Dispute

TULSA, Okla. (January 10, 2009) -- At-large voting to determine the final two starters in next Tuesday night's Race of Champions at the 23rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire concluded late Friday night.

But the apparent outcome that would have Steve Buckwalter and Tony Elliott added to the star-studded field that includes eight past Chili Bowl winners at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway is under dispute, with federal and international officials investigating the final outcome.

After two preliminary rounds of on-line voting at www.chilibowl.com that attracted approximately 40,000 votes during each of the periods extending from December 18-24 and December 25-31, the final round of voting ran from January 1 through 11:00 p.m. CST January 9. And with more than 800,000 votes cast during that nine-day span, federal officials took notice and demanded an inquiry into the results.

"It's one thing to have the occasional fraudulent presidential election, that's something that just happens every decade or so," a member of the Department of Justice commented on an anonymous basis from his Mediterranean island estate. "But to have any chicanery in the Chili Bowl Race of Champions voting process is a slap in the face of democracy, we simply must get to the bottom of it!"

Pennsylvania's Steve Buckwalter was the week's top vote-getter, receiving over 244,000 of the 803,042 votes cast, or 30%. Tony Elliott was next with 26% followed by Matt Westfall (14%), Shane Cottle (13%), Brad Kuhn (12%) and Davey Ray (5%).

Buckwalter's total is the equivalent of each resident of his home borough of Royersford, PA, boasting a population of approximately 4,300, voting for him 56 times apiece. It's a total that has even drawn international attention.

"There is something that is not quite right," commented the Jamaican member of the International Olympic Committee who also spearheaded the Jamaican bobsled effort some years ago. "I admittedly know little about racing midgets, but since we only work once every couple of years we have some resources available to assist in this investigation."

The Chili Bowl Race of Champions already includes past event winners Sammy Swindell, Cory Kruseman, Tracy Hines, Tim McCreadie, Jay Drake, Damion Gardner, Scott Hatton and Johnny Heydenreich along with perennial Chili Bowl contenders Kasey Kahne, Dave Darland, J.J. Yeley and Jason Leffler.

Two at-large candidates, possibly Steve Buckwalter and Tony Elliott pending the investigation of the voting, will be added to the Tuesday night event. The 20-lap Chili Bowl Race of Champions will be included on Tuesday night's Qualifying card, which will feature approximately 75 of the event record 293 entries.

"We just have a few days to act on this," a federal investigator explained. "The Blagojevich scandal, the economy and all those other issues can wait, we'll get to this bottom of this."

Chili Bowl officials are cooperating with the investigation and expect to have the outcome decided in time for Tuesday night's Race of Champions.

A limited number of tickets remain for the Tuesday night event that kicks off the 23rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway for just $26 each by calling the ticket office at 918-838-3777.

Additional information regarding the Chili Bowl Nationals is available at www.chilibowl.com.

-credit: cbn/lw

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Series Midget
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Brad Kuhn , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Tony Elliott , Sammy Swindell , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Matt Westfall , Davey Ray , Shane Cottle , Damion Gardner , Tim McCreadie , Scott Hatton