Top guns aplenty slated for Love's Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl.
Lonnie Wheatley - TULSA, Okla. (January 8, 2003) - USAC champions J.J. Yeley and Tracy Hines, along with National Midget Driver of the Year Aaron Fike and perennial Chili Bowl front-runner Kevin Doty, are among the top entries for the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl, the second night of qualifying at the 17th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Along with notching the 2002 USAC Silver Crown championship, Yeley also finished a close second in points in both the USAC Sprint Car and Midget point races. Hines, who appeared to be on the way to victory lane in the 2002 Chili Bowl until mechanical woes ended his strong run, earned the 2002 USAC Sprint Car title.
Doty, the only driver to compete in every Chili Bowl to date, battled wheel-to-wheel for the lead in the 2002 Chili Bowl, ultimately settling for a close second place finish in one of the most rousing editions of the prestigious event.
Fike, who finished fourth in the 2001 Chili Bowl, comes off a banner year which included the BMARA title, third in USAC points and National Midget Driver of the Year honors. Fike has also notched several victories in recent weeks in Australia.
Other top drivers slated for Love's Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl include 1988 Chili Bowl champion Scott Hatton, wingless Sprint standout Jeremy Sherman, P.J. Jones, Brad Kuhn, Keith Rauch, late model champion Scott Bloomquist and Critter Malone, who finished a strong fourth in last year's Chili Bowl.
With more than 200 cars entered for the 17th Annual Chili Bowl Nationals, approximately 70 drivers from throughout the nation will be in action on Thursday night, vying for starting positions in Saturday night's Chili Bowl nationals finale. The complete list of entries for Thursday night's action is available at www.chilibowl.com.
Also featured on Thursday night will be the Ford Focus Midgets. The regular drivers of the Ford Focus Midgets will take to the quarter-mile oval for a 15-lap feature. The driver that records the best average finish in Thursday and Friday nights' features will be invited to compete in the First Annual Cherokee Casino Ford Focus Midget Race of Champions presented by Ford of Tulsa, to be run prior to Saturday night's Chili Bowl Nationals finale.
The Ford Focus Chili Bowl Challenge champion will join champion drivers Tony Stewart, Danny Lasoski, J.J. Yeley, Scott Bloomquist, Dave Darland, Tim Crawley, Brett Hearn and NHRA stars Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps in the Race of Champions.
For those unable to attend the Chili Bowl, live coverage of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl qualifying action will be available on the internet at www.RSBN.net. Live results updates will also be available at www.whowon.com. Thursday night's highlights will also be included on ESPN2's televised broadcast of the Chili Bowl on Sunday, January 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST.
A limited number of tickets remain for Thursday night's action. For additional information, contact the Chili Bowl ticket office at 918-838-3777.