Mopar Speed The Official e-Zine of Team Mopar Monday, January 12, 2004 News Team Mopar kicks off 2004 at Chili Bowl Team Mopar made its presence known throughout the running of the 18th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, held last...
The Official e-Zine of Team Mopar Monday, January 12, 2004 News
Team Mopar kicks off 2004 at Chili Bowl
Team Mopar made its presence known throughout the running of the 18th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, held last Wednesday through Saturday at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center.
Danny "The Dude" Lasoski kicked the event off in winning style by piloting his midget to victory lane in Wednesday night's action, and Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises driver Jay Drake found a way into A-main action as well.
Tracy Hines and Tony Stewart battled each other throughout the Thursday night preliminaries, providing fans with a 1-2 Mopar finish in the tenth heat race. The rivalry continued in A-main competition, as Hines beat Stewart out for the podium finish, bringing his machine home in third with Stewart in tow in fourth position.
Friday night saw former Chili Bowl champion Cory Kruseman and newly hired Team Mopar member Josh Wise go wheel-to-wheel in the battle for bragging rights. Both drivers picked up wins in their respective heats, while Kruseman edged Wise in A-main competition. Kruseman brought his machine across the finish line in second place, while Wise found himself in third position to the crowd-favorite veteran.
Saturday night's A-main lineup boasted many heavy hitters, including Stewart, Hines, Kruseman, Lasoski and Wise. When the dust settled and the smell of methanol lifted from the air of the Expo Center, Cory Kruseman was declared the Chili Bowl Champion for the second time in his career. Lasoski crossed the line in second, with Stewart rounding out the top-five in fourth. WilkePAK Motorsports young gun Davey Ray drove his Mopar to a solid eighth-place finish in the feature, followed immediately by Mopar teammate Tracy Hines.
Kruseman is set to pilot a Mopar-powered and barbed wire-clad sprint car for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises in the USAC National Sprint Car Series for the duration of the 2004 season.
"The Mopar engines are just perfect for a track like Tulsa. They're very
smooth and versatile, which is the type of engine you need to run the
Chili Bowl. The Mopar [engines'] versatility allows you to adjust to the
track as it changes."
Tony Stewart, prior to his Chili Bowl run. Stewart turned in a fourth-place finish in the A-main of the Chili Bowl, which featured an event-record 206 entries.
Mopar proves to be a forceful Chili Bowl opponent, fielding numerous entries
When the entry list for the 2004 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals was released, open-wheel engine manufacturers saw an eye-opening trend. In an event that had been long dominated by Gaerte, Ford and Fontana powerplants, 2004 brought a new threat to the event. Mopar would power 18 of the field's most competitive entries, including the machines of NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne.
The prowess of the Mopar powerplant was not lost on former Chili Bowl champion Tony Stewart, who recognized the suitability of the Mopar engine to the event.
"The Mopar engines are just perfect for a track like Tulsa," Stewart said prior to his Chili Bowl run. "They're very smooth and versatile, which is the type of engine you need to run the Chili Bowl. The track itself is very tricky, and it changes a lot throughout the night. The Mopar [engines] versatility allows you to adjust to the track as it changes, which is critical to our Chili Bowl run. My two best finishes have come in the past two years -- while driving Mopar-powered cars. I'll definitely have an advantage again this year with the Mopar."
Mopar had a phenomenal presence in the event, with eight Mopar powerplants making Saturday's A-main event including Stewart, Kahne, Davey Ray, Tracy Hines, Dave Darland, Scott Hatton, Donnie Beechler and Troy Rutherford. The brand produced four top-ten finishes in the A-main event while garnering recognition as the fastest growing open wheel engine manufacturer.