Chili Bowl Nationals news 2009-12-04

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl 2010 -- Kruseman and Bondio to Field Separate Entries TULSA, Okla. (December 4, 2009) -- It has ranked as one of the most successful owner-driver combinations in Chili Bowl history. Teamed for eleven of the past twelve ...

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl 2010 -- Kruseman and Bondio to Field Separate Entries

TULSA, Okla. (December 4, 2009) -- It has ranked as one of the most successful owner-driver combinations in Chili Bowl history. Teamed for eleven of the past twelve editions of the prestigious event that takes place atop the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway clay oval, the duo has come away with the coveted Golden Driller trophy on two occasions and recorded several other podium finishes.

But, when the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals takes place on January 12-16, 2010, things will look a little different, as that team won't be intact any more.

For the first time since 2001 and just the second time since 1997, Ventura, California's Cory Kruseman won't be at the wheel of one of the unique Andy Bondio No. 47 entries.

Bondio, who earned the first of three Golden Drillers as a car owner when Lealand McSpadden won the Chili Bowl in 1991, will still field a pair of entries for this year's Chili Bowl. Cali shoe Garrett Hansen, who made the Chili Bowl championship feature cut in both 2006 and 2007, will fill the seat of the primary Bondio entry with the second driver yet to be determined.

Kruseman will be in the house as well, anchoring his own super-team of five entries that also includes 2001 Chili Bowl champion Jay Drake.

Kruseman and Bondio first joined forces at the Chili Bowl in 1998. A runner-up finish the following year kicked off a remarkable run of six podium finishes in seven tries, including victories in 2000 and 2004.JThat one time outside the top three was a 13th place finish in 2003 in which what appeared to be a sure victory came up just five laps short due to a reported dead battery, although some speculate to this day that the more likely culprit was a depleted fuel cell.

A year after the duo's second win, Bondio pushed the envelope of innovation when he showed up in Tulsa with a motorcycle tire mounted on the left front of the Kruseman-appointed Midget. "The Kruser" responded with preliminary feature wins in both 2005 and 2006, finishing second and third, respectively, in the Saturday night finales.

That third-place run in 2006 ultimately proved to be the last taste of Chili Bowl success for the Bondio-Kruseman combination, as the pair has missed the championship feature cut over the past three renditions of the Chili Bowl.

This year, Bondio is set to try his luck with USAC Western States Midget champion Hansen, who drove Bondio's No. 47 entry to five USAC Western States wins in 2009 while also knocking off a pair of Sprint Car feature wins. Hansen also ranked third in USAC/CRA Sprint Car points.

Staying busy with his Ventura-based Sprint Car and Midget Driving School, Kruseman still mixed in a full slate of events with three Sprint Car feature wins and a Midget score over the course of 2009.

Kruseman will be one of at least five past winners among this year's Chili Bowl field, with other past event champions expected to include defending race winner Sammy Swindell, Tim McCreadie, Tracy Hines and Jay Drake. Other past winners that are likely contenders include Damion Gardner and Jon Heydenreich. Swindell bested a Chili Bowl record 281 competitors in January of 2009 for an unprecedented fifth Chili Bowl win.

Those past winners along with several other selected drivers will compete in the Tuesday night, January 12, Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions, an added element to the Warren CAT Qualifying night slate of events that kicks off five full nights of competition. The four qualifying nights' feature finishes will determine the lineups for Saturday's championship slate of feature events.

A limited number of tickets remain for the Tuesday night, January 12, Warren CAT Qualifying event that includes the Second Annual Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions. Tickets are available for just $26 by calling 918-838-3777.

Only pit passes remain for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Approximately 125 entries have already been submitted for the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, with more expected to flood the event office prior to the December 15 pre-entry deadline. It is anticipated that the initial entry list will be revealed early next week.

Additional information regarding the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is available at www.chilibowl.com/.

-credit: lw/cbn

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Series Midget
Drivers Tracy Hines , Sammy Swindell , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Tim McCreadie , Garrett Hansen