Dan Boorse used a dramatic last-lap, last turn pass of former Chili Bowl champion Jay Drake to capture his second Chili Bowl Midget Nationals and become just the second driver to win the event more than once. Boorse's win in the Wednesday night...
Dan Boorse used a dramatic last-lap, last turn pass of former Chili Bowl champion Jay Drake to capture his second Chili Bowl Midget Nationals and become just the second driver to win the event more than once.
Boorse's win in the Wednesday night qualifier was good enough to put him on the pole for the 50-lap A feature in the 17th annual Chili Bowl. He was one of six former winners in the 24-car field, including the last five champions, and they were all factors in the race.
Boorse led the first five circuits but was hounded by Friday night qualifier Cory Kruseman, who started on the outside of the front row. On lap six, Kruseman dropped low coming into turn three to snare the lead and slowly moved away from the field.
Kruseman looked untouchable early, except to a "guy named Sammy" - four- time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell, who was trying to put the finishing touch on a great night of racing by charging to the front.
After a poor qualifying earlier in the week, Swindell started one of the E features on the inside of the fourth row. He ultimately advanced through the alphabet to start the A feature in 17th. Determined to show he wasn't done racing this night, Swindell moved up to fourth, just ahead of defending champion Tony Stewart, by lap 15 when a caution bunched the field.
On the restart, Swindell roared around 1988 Chili Bowl champ Scott Hatton and Boorse to take over second and began to reel in Kruseman. Unfortunately, before he could complete his run, his machine gave out and he slowed to a stop against the outside wall coming out of turn four, ending his charge after 24 laps.
After Sammy, 2002 USAC National Midget Champion Dave Darland took up the challenge for the point. Darland had moved from 15th on the starting grid to fourth when the caution came out for Swindell. By lap 26, Darland had moved around Hatton and Boorse for second, heading for Kruseman. However, Darland exited on lap 35 with suspension problems.
Way back on the first lap of the race, Drake tangled with another driver, and dropped to the rear of the field. Handling traffic masterfully, Drake, a former Chili Bowl winner himself, moved to fifth by lap 30. He worked his way up to third, behind Boorse, when another caution flew on lap 38 for a stalled car in turn three.
Drake used the low side to get around Boorse for second on lap 39 and began to pressure Kruseman, who was riding on the high side. A couple of laps later, Kruseman again lengthened his lead over Drake, who was followed by Boorse, Stewart and Hatton.
But Kruseman, who had been "Krusin'" in the lead for nearly 40 laps, ran into mechanical problems as a dead battery sent him to the pits during a caution on lap 46.
From here, Drake took over the lead, completing a remarkable charge to the front from dead last on the first lap. With just five laps to go, Drake stayed low, followed by Stewart in second and Boorse in third.
With two laps remaining, Boorse moved up on the cushion and powered around Stewart for second, looking for Drake, who was eyeing his second Chili Bowl win. Drake held the lead for the final lap but Boorse stayed up high through turns one and two, caught Drake coming out of turn four and edged in front to win by a car length.
Steward finished a close third, with Aaron Fike making a late-race charge to capture fourth, as Hatton rounded out the top five.
Perhaps the best run of the night went to J.J. Yeley, the 2002 USAC Silver Crown champ and runner up in the USAC Sprint Cars and Midgets. After a horrible qualifying session, Yeley started the evening in the first H Main, which he won. He went on to finish third in the G Main, second in the F Main, and fourth in the E Main before running out of steam in the D Main, finishing two spots away from transferring.
Previous Chili Bowl winners in the A Main field were Stewart (2002), Drake (2001), Kruseman (2000), Boorse (1999), Swindell (1998, 1996, 1992, 1989) and Hatton (1988).
A record Chili Bowl crowd of 14, 630 saw Boorse win $10,000 in the 17th annual event, held inside the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo. This year's field drew 215 entries - also a record - from 24 states.