ARDC drivers Chili Bowl preview

ARDC TEAMS STARTING 2006 AT THE CHILI BOWL Oley, PA - The American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) is honored to have 12 of its cars headed for battle at the 20th Annual O'Reilly's Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The "Super Bowl of...

ARDC TEAMS STARTING 2006 AT THE CHILI BOWL

Oley, PA - The American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) is honored to have 12 of its cars headed for battle at the 20th Annual O'Reilly's Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The "Super Bowl of Midget Racing" takes place from January 11 - 14, 2006 at the Tulsa Exposition Center.

Heading the list of ARDC entrants is none-other than Ray Bull of Bloomsburg, PA. Bull, a six-time ARDC Midget Champion, authored an impressive fifth-place finish in last year's Chili Bowl A-Main. The Raging Bull began his week by charging from eighth to third in Thursday night's heat race. He backed it up by taking the checkered flag in fifth spot in the 25-lap qualifying night feature.

Those efforts put Bull on the pole for Saturday's first B-Main. He led all the way in that one to secure the 13th starting spot in the big 50-lap finale.

This year, the pilot of the Mega Motorsports no. 22 will race on Wednesday evening in the Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Showdown. He will be pitted against ARDC regulars Michele Miller; Carey Becker; and Billy Pauch, Jr. Also in Wednesday's field will be the defending and two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart (who won the Chili Bowl in 2002); multi-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Champion Steve Kinser; Dan Boorse (who owns a pair of Chili Bowl titles); NHRA Funny Car chauffeurs Cruz and Frank Pedregon; Danny "the Dude" Lasoski; and WoO Late Model standout Tim McCreadie.

Love's Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl will see Bull's Mega Motorsports teammate Dave Shirk in action. The 2004 ARDC Rookie of the Year will be joined by Honey Brook, PA's Donnie Trent (in a brand new Spike chassis); URC Sprint Car star Dave Ely; the Royersford Rocket, Steve Buckwalter (an eight-time winner on the ARDC trail in ' 05); and WoO Late Model driver Rick Eckert. The York, PA, wheel-twister will be strapped into the Miller Racing Team no. 1x for his second Chili Bowl appearance.

On Thursday, the ARDC teams will be facing some formidable competition: Tracy Hines, the defending Chili Bowl champion and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer; Late Model veteran Steve Francis; Jason Leffler; 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year candidate J.J. Yeley; All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Champion Chad Kemenah; former Chili Bowl winner Jay Drake; USAC Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones; and Kevin Swindell (son of WoO Sprint Car star Sammy Swindell).

On Friday, during Warren CAT Qualifying Night, Tracy Miller and 2005 Rookie of the Year Andy Martin will lead the ARDC contingent. They will be joined by the successful bidder of the Miller Racing Team's Ebay auction (the bidding closed on Saturday, December 31, after this was written). They will try to qualify for the big race against the likes of four-time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell; NASCAR Nextel Cup superstar Kasey Kahne; ARCA ReMax driver Brandon Knupp; midget veterans Jimmy Sills, Danny Stratton, and Scott Hatton; former Chili Bowl winner Cory Kruseman; NHRA Top Fuel pilot Morgan Lucas; USAC National Midget Champion Josh Wise; and the 2005 National Midget Rookie of the Year Brad Loyet.

In 2005, Michele Miller and her sister, Tracy, became the first females to qualify for an A-Main at the Chili Bowl. Each of the siblings transferred into the feature during their respective qualifying night of competition. This year's edition of the Chili Bowl will be Tracy's last ride in a midget, at least for a while. She has moved to California, due to a job promotion, so her motivation for the Chili Bowl is to go out in grand style.

Michele is primed for progress, hoping to advance further than one of Saturday's C-Mains, which is where her Chili Bowl ended last year. The young lady from Reading, PA, will be sporting a beautiful black-and-pink paint scheme on her Ray's Yamaha/ All Seasons Motorsports/ Stealth/ Don Ott Racing Engines no. 4 at this year's event.

Buckwalter made it to the A-Main in 2004, but could only advance to one of the B-Mains in 2005. The ARDC point runner-up did win his preliminary night heat race last year, and finished seventh in that evening's feature.

Trent made it to one of the D-Mains last year, while other ARDC campaigners wound up farther down in Saturday's "alphabet soup" feature races. The 20th running of this wildly popular event will mark the first efforts of Martin, Ely, and Billy Pauch, Jr.

-ardc-

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Series Midget
Drivers Tony Stewart , Frank Pedregon , Rick Eckert , Kevin Swindell , Kasey Kahne , Steve Kinser , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Sammy Swindell , Jay Drake , Levi Jones , Morgan Lucas , Josh Wise , Billy Pauch , Donnie Trent , Tracy Miller , Ray Bull , Brandon Knupp , Steve Francis , Tim McCreadie , Brad Loyet , Scott Hatton , Danny Stratton , Chad Kemenah