Chili Bowl Nationals news 2011-01-10

Chili Bowl Green Flag Flies on Tuesday Night!

TULSA, Okla. (January 10, 2011) -- The bowl season is winding down. It will end on the highest of notes though, with this week's 25th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway.

And, after two rounds of practice on Monday for the approximately 260 car international field, the first official green flag of the milestone 25th Annual event flies on Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. JCurrently, 67 of the 260-ish entries are set to tackle the 1/4-mile indoor clay oval on Tuesday night's Warren CAT Qualifier, with the 16-car VIROC III (Third Annual Vacuworx International Race of Champions) on the Tuesday night card as well.

Among those scheduled 67 Tuesday combatants and 16 VIROC hopefuls, one driver is pulling double duty. Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, IN, will try to lock himself into Saturday's 50-lap championship finale with a top-three finish on Tuesday night, while also chasing VIROC honors.

"I'm looking forward to it, hopefully we can have a good night and then kind of relax and take it easy for a couple of days," the two-time National Midget Driver of the Year commented. "Then it will be back to work on Saturday, and hopefully late on Saturday."

Those with good finishes on Tuesday and the three following qualifying nights will have later work times on Saturday. Struggles on the qualifying night make for an earlier Saturday work time and an alphabet soup of features to potentially run through.

Clauson, with a career-best Chili Bowl finish of fourth in 2008, rides a Midget racing wave of momentum that includes two consecutive Belleville Midget Nationals triumphs and two straight Turkey Night Grand Prix wins.

While Clauson will pilot the Corey Tucker Racing/Mike Curb NOS Energy Drink No. 39c in the Warren CAT Qualifier, he will jump into one of the other team cars for VIROC III.

Clauson faces a rugged field of Tuesday competitors, including 20-year-old Broken Arrow, OK, shoe Brady Bacon that will try to keep the Golden Driller (that's Silver this year) in the Sooner State for the first time since the Andy Hillenburg triumph of 1994. Bacon is part of a stout Keith Kunz Motorsports camp that also has 2010 runner-up Cole Whitt in VIROC III.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., takes the wheel of the RFMS No. 3 that Darren Hagen topped a Chili Bowl qualifier with last year, with other leading Tuesday night contenders including the likes of New Zealand's Michael Pickens, Midget ace Brad Kuhn (Avon, IN), four-time King of Indiana Sprint Series champion Jon Stanbrough (Avon, IN), Badger Midget champ Mike Hess (Springfield, IL) King of California Sprint Car champion Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, CA) and Jac Haudenschild (Wooster, OH) among others.

Tuesday's action will also include VIROC III, a special $2,500-to-win race featuring past Chili Bowl champions and standouts. Names in the VIROC field include a pair of Swindell's, Yeley, Darland, Loyet, Gardner, Hatton, Drake, Kruseman, Hines, Heydenreich, Clauson, McCreadie, Hansen, Whitt and Leffler.

Tickets are available for Tuesday night's action for $43 apiece. Tickets may be obtained by calling the Chili Bowl ticket office at 918-838-3777 or at the ticket window. Only pit passes remain for the balance of the week.

Tuesday's hot laps begin at 5:00 p.m., with the first heat race going green at 6:00 p.m.

Monday's practice ran off in smooth fashion with just a handful of incidents, the wildest of which was Late Model ace Jimmy Owens' first Midget laps resulting in a wild ride down the backstretch. Owens will be in action during Wednesday night's River Spirit Casino Qualifier.

-source: lw/cbn

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Series Midget
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Michael Pickens , Bryan Clauson , Darren Hagen , Cole Whitt , Jac Haudenschild , Jimmy Owens , Kyle Larson