O'Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals -- Seven Days and Counting! TULSA, Okla. (January 2, 2007) -- Just seven more days. That's all that remains before one of the most anticipated events in all of auto racing fires off inside the Tulsa Expo Raceway,...
O'Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals -- Seven Days and Counting!
TULSA, Okla. (January 2, 2007) -- Just seven more days. That's all that remains before one of the most anticipated events in all of auto racing fires off inside the Tulsa Expo Raceway, the 21st edition of the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Nationals.
Next Tuesday night, January 9, marks the first of five nights of wild and unpredictable Midget racing, with the first ever Pre-Qualifying event for the record field of 279 entries. Tuesday's Warren CAT Pre-Qualifier will identify the top contenders for Chili Bowl Cinderella-story status.
Three full nights of qualifying action follow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with the likes of Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley elbows up and wheel-to-wheel with Sprint Car aces such as Sammy Swindell, Danny Lasoski and Cory Kruseman, Midget champs such as Jerry Coons, Jr., Brad Kuhn and Brady Bacon, Late Model standouts including Tim McCreadie, Josh Richards and Brian Birkhofer along with NHRA drag racing rep Cruz Pedregon.
And then it all comes down to Saturday, when one driver lays claim to the Golden Driller troply.
The entry list is a veritable "who's who" of auto racing from which predicting a winner is a precarious task. Case in point, prior to last year's 20th Anniversary of the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, few would have boldly predicted that a Late Model and DIRT Modified ace from New York would take the Golden Driller.
But that's exactly what happened, as Tim McCreadie locked himself into Saturday night's finale with a last lap pass of Brady Bacon in Wednesday night's qualifier to take the fourth and final lock-in position, then battled forward from the tenth position and pulled a shocker in front of a capacity audience, schooling the elite in the open wheel ranks at their very own game in the process.
Can Tim McCreadie repeat? After racing to the 2006 World of Outlaws Late Model championship, can McCreadie become the first back-to-back Chili Bowl champion in event history?
They'll somehow cram approximately 280 race teams, trailers and all, into the Tulsa Expo Center next Monday. And then, let the racing action begin.
Just seven more days.
The current entry count is 279. Michael Colegrove's entry has been withdrawn, with new additions including Cameron Beard and Eddie Martin.
Darren Hagen has swapped rides, vacating the Pace No. 44 machine in favor of the RFMS No. 69 originally slated for A.J. Fike. Hagen will remain on Wednesday night's Creek Nation Casino Qualifier roster.
The Pace Bros. team has shuffled the No. 44 entry to Friday night's Oklahoma Dodge Dealers Qualifier, with Ryan Pace slated to take over driving duties. Nebraska's Don Droud, Jr., piloting the Pace Bros. No. 44d entry, has switched from Friday night to Wednesday night.
Brad Kuhn, garnering National Midget Driver of the Year honors in 2006, has switched from Friday to Wednesday as well.
A competitor with the National Sprint Tour in 2006, Jason Sides has been named the driver of Steve Smith's Hawk-powered No. 13 entry. Sides will qualify on Wednesday night.