Several Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Drivers Head to the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals With the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener, the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia ...
Several Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Drivers Head to the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals
With the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener, the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park just around the corner on February 8, several drivers, car owners, and series officials are getting a head start on their season this week as they compete in the 22nd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Joey Saldana, who won 13 times with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2007 and finished second in championship points, will make his second consecutive trip to the event. He will drive a Mopar-powered entry for Kasey Kahne Racing, as a teammate to his car owner. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana will take to the track on Wednesday for his qualifying night.
"I've only run a midget twice in my life and one of them was at the Chili Bowl," said Saldana. "It seemed liked everything I did in it was wrong, so obviously what you do in a winged sprint car is nothing like what you do in a four-cylinder midget at a place like the Chili Bowl. We have a great team and going into the event with Kasey Kahne Racing and Mopar, I know that I will have a first class car and motor. Open Joist stepped up and they are sponsoring my car for the Chili Bowl. We're definitely looking forward to it and hopefully we put a good showing in."
Danny Lasoski, who won six A-Feature events with the series in 2007 and finished third in championship points, will make his 17th appearance at the famed event this week, as he will drive for Loyet Motorsports, out of his home state of Missouri. The 2001 World of Outlaws champion has raced his way into the A-Feature of the Chili Bowl on 14 occasions and has recorded three runner-up finishes, in 1997, 2001 and 2004. He will take to the track on Wednesday as well for his qualifying night.
Jason Meyers, who won five times with the World of Outlaws in 2007 and was fifth in championship points, will make his third trip to the Chili Bowl this week. He last competed at the event in 2005. He finished a career-best sixth in the race in 2003, which was his first appearance in Tulsa. Meyers will drive for Corey Tucker Racing, as a teammate to fellow World of Outlaws driver Randy Hannagan. Meyers, a native of Clovis, California will take to the track on Friday for his qualifying night.
"We're really looking forward to it," said Meyers. "We're building a relationship with Corey Tucker Racing for the Chili Bowl and we are really excited for that opportunity. He's put a great race car together and hopefully we can go there and get some great results."
Terry McCarl, who won twice this season in World of Outlaws competition, will be making his second consecutive trek to the Chili Bowl this week, driving for the always potent Wilke-PAK Motorsports team. McCarl will be teamed with reigning USAC National Midget Champion and National Midget Driver of the Year, Jerry Coons Jr. McCarl will take to the always tough indoor oval on Friday for his qualifying night.
"I have watched that car and that team for a long time," noted McCarl. "I am a history buff with racing and the Wilke family has a long history in midget racing, and it's an honor to be involved with that team. They have a great car and definitely a car capable of winning the race. Hopefully we get a little bit lucky and I do my job and we can run up front."
Randy Hannagan, the 1995 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year will make his third visit and second consecutive to the Chili Bowl this week. The California native, who now calls Pittsboro, Indiana home, will drive for Corey Tucker Racing as a teammate to fellow World of Outlaws competitor Jason Meyers. Hannagan will take to the track on Wednesday for his qualifying night.
"The Chili Bowl keeps you geared up and racing, and it gets you ready for what the season will be like," said Hannagan.
Justin Henderson, who recorded 14 Top-10 finishes with the World of Outlaws in 2007, will make his third consecutive trip to Tulsa this week to compete. He will drive for Dan Oswalt, for whom he also drives for on the World of Outlaws circuit. The native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and former Huset's Speedway track champion will take part in the Thursday qualifying night program.
"I'm really excited for the Chili Bowl," said Henderson. "We just got a new motor with some help from Bill Rose. We've been thrashing on it a little bit to get it ready, but we're excited and ready to go."
Chad Kemenah, the 2006 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, will make his second appearance in the Chili Bowl this week. His first trip to Tulsa was in 2006. He will be driving a car for Tulsa native Jon Kantor, for whom he also drives for on the World of Outlaws tour. The native of Findlay, Ohio and four-time All Star Circuit of Champions titlist will be in action in the Wednesday night qualifier.
"We're really looking forward to that," said Kemenah. "A midget reacts so much different from a sprint car. It's a neat event running indoors like that. The atmosphere is great at the Chili Bowl. Hopefully we can go out there and do good, because that's Jon's (Kantor, car owner) hometown."
Sam Hafertepe Jr., who was a rookie with the World of Outlaws in 2007, will make his second consecutive trip to the Chili Bowl this week. The native of Sunnyvale, Texas and 2006 American Sprint Car Series Sooner Region champion will drive for Mike Eubanks, and turned some practice laps last Saturday at the 1/5-mile Will Rogers Raceway in Oklahoma in preparation. Hafertepe will take to the track on the final qualifying night, on Friday.
"It's fun to be a part of the event and it helps warm you up for the year of racing," said Hafertepe. "It's a completely different deal driving a midget versus a winged sprint car."
Shane Stewart, the 2005 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year will make his fourth appearance at the Chili Bowl this week. His last visit to the event in his home state was in 2001. He will team up with Jasiel Randolph for the event this year, and will take to the track on Thursday night.
"I'm really excited for the Chili Bowl," said Stewart. "I have gone to Australia the last four years and missed it. It's in my home town and there is always plenty of good equipment that shows up for the race and all the great drivers and the history they have of winning races. It's pretty special to be involved in an event like that."
Also in action will be three-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion and three-time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell. The native of Germantown, Tennessee will be making his 18th appearance at the famed event, and has started the A-Feature 15 times in his career. He was victorious for the first time in Tulsa in 1992 and followed that up with wins in 1996 and 1998. Swindell, who is driving for Cruz Pedregon Racing will take to the track on Thursday.
Shane Carson, who heads Industry Relations for the World of Outlaws will be making his ninth appearance at the Chili Bowl this week. The native of Yukon, Oklahoma and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee finished fourth in the first Chili Bowl in 1987. He will be driving for Rick Burdick and will take to the track for his qualifying night on Wednesday.
"It's always fun to go out there," said Carson. "It's a big happening. No one else is running at that time of the year. People from all walks of the racing world are there. You always know that every day the races will happen, because it's indoors and you don't have to worry about the weather. People can plan their vacations around it to be there."
Also in action will be the Chief Executive Officer/Chief Financial Officer of the World Racing Group, Brian Carter. The native of Frisco, Texas, will be making his second consecutive appearance at the Chili Bowl. Carter, who made a number of starts in 2007 with the Sprint Series of Texas, will take to the track on Tuesday in the pre-qualifiers night.