Friday qaulifying showdown at Chili Bowl preview

Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart among Friday's Chili Bowl Nationals Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown entries. Lonnie Wheatley - TULSA, Okla. (January 9, 2003) - Defending Chili Bowl champion and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart...

Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart among Friday's Chili Bowl Nationals Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown entries.

Lonnie Wheatley - TULSA, Okla. (January 9, 2003) - Defending Chili Bowl champion and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is among the star-laden field of entries slated for Friday night's Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown, the third and final night of qualifying action at the 17th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.

Former USAC triple-crown winner Tony Stewart kicked off 2002 in grand fashion, as he prevailed in a scintillating duel to win the 2002 edition of the Chili Bowl Nationals. It proved to be a sign of things to come as Stewart went on to notch the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup title.

Stewart will be faced will plenty of stiff competition, including 2000 Chili Bowl winner Cory Kruseman. Kruseman, a past SCRA non-wing Sprint Car champion who also topped the rugged 2002 USAC Sprint Car Sprintweek, made his Indy Racing League debut at Texas Motor Speedway in October.

Also in competition will be Dave Darland, a long-time top competitor in USAC's open-wheel ranks who recently recorded his second consecutive USAC Midget championship. USAC Sprint standout Tony Elliot is among other top entries for Friday night's Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown.

Other top entries for Friday night's action include World of Outlaws star Tim Shaffer, Paul McMahan, Don Droud, Jr., Matt Westfall, Brett Hearn, and midget hotshoes Donnie Lehmann and Mike Hess.

With more than 200 cars entered for the 17th Annual Chili Bowl Nationals, approximately 70 drivers from throughout the nation will be in action on Friday night, vying for starting positions in Saturday night's Chili Bowl nationals finale. The complete list of entries for Friday night's action is available at www.chilibowl.com.

Also featured on Friday night will be the Ford Focus Midgets. The regular drivers of the Ford Focus Midgets will take to the quarter-mile oval for a 20-lap feature, with the start inverted from Thursday night's 15-lap feature. The driver that records the best average finish in Thursday and Friday nights' features will be invited to compete in the First Annual Cherokee Casino Ford Focus Midget Race of Champions presented by Ford of Tulsa, to be run prior to Saturday night's Chili Bowl Nationals finale.

The Ford Focus Chili Bowl Challenge champion will join champion drivers Tony Stewart, Danny Lasoski, J.J. Yeley, Scott Bloomquist, Dave Darland, Tim Crawley, Brett Hearn and NHRA stars Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps in the Race of Champions.

For those unable to attend the Chili Bowl, live coverage of Friday's Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown will be available on the internet at www.RSBN.net. Live results updates will also be available at www.whowon.com. Friday night's highlights will also be included on ESPN2's televised broadcast of the Chili Bowl on Sunday, January 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST.

As is the case for Saturday night's Chili Bowl Nationals finale, only pit passes remain for Friday night's action, as all reserved seating has been sold. For additional information, contact the Chili Bowl ticket office at 918-838-3777.

-cbn-

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Series Midget
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Scott Bloomquist , Danny Lasoski , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Cory Kruseman , Matt Westfall , Paul McMahan , Brett Hearn , Donnie Lehmann