Tony Stewart aims for Chili Bowl title

STEWART SEEKS SECOND CHILI BOWL NATIONALS TITLE TULSA, Okla. (December 28, 2005) -- When Tony Stewart posted his first O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals triumph in January 2002, he was quick to point out that the coveted Golden...

STEWART SEEKS SECOND CHILI BOWL NATIONALS TITLE

TULSA, Okla. (December 28, 2005) -- When Tony Stewart posted his first O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals triumph in January 2002, he was quick to point out that the coveted Golden Driller winner's trophy would be placed in a prize position on a shelf at home next to his Dale Earnhardt helmet.

Now, two NASCAR Nextel Cup championships later, Stewart returns to the Tulsa Expo Center on January 11-14, 2006, in pursuit of a second Chili Bowl Midget Nationals victory. Best known as "Smoke Johnson" in Chili Bowl lore, Stewart enters this year's edition of the Chili Bowl coming off what ranks among the most lucrative years in auto racing history, as he collected winnings and point fund money of nearly $14 million.

"Where are you going to go in the country where you have 250 of the best all in one place for four days running for one prize?" Stewart commented in a post-race press conference at the 2005 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. "You win this race you've got bragging rights for a year. I don't care what you do for the rest of the season, you could drop out of every race for the rest of the year, but you still got bragging rights that you won the Chili Bowl."

Stewart made his first Chili Bowl appearance in 1993 when he finished thirteenth in the championship "A" Feature event. This year marks Stewart's tenth appearance in the unique, indoor, dirt track Midget racing event, and sixth consecutive trip to Tulsa, OK, in January. In addition to his 2002 Chili Bowl triumphs, other top finishes include third in 2003 and fourth in 2004. Last year, Stewart made an early exit from the main event and was credited with a 23rd place finish among the then-record 249 entries.

Stewart is slated for Wednesday night qualifying action aboard Venture Racing's Mopar-powered Coca-Cola/Bass Pro Shops No. 20 Spike chassis, when he'll make a bid for a top-four finishing position to lock himself into Saturday's night's prestigious Chili Bowl championship feature event.

Also from the NASCAR Nextel Cup trail, 2004 series runner-up Kasey Kahne is slated for Friday night's qualifying action. A graduate of the dirt track ranks as well, Kahne is making his sixth career Chili Bowl Midget Nationals appearance, with a sixth place showing in 2002 his best thus far.

Today's Entries: Today's additions to the entry list included Dex Eaton and Todd Kimmel. Sixteen-year-old Eaton, an ASCS Sooner Region Sprint Car racer from Owasso, OK, was named the driver of Gary Irvin's No 22x entry. Kimmel, a micro champion from Avon, IN, takes the seat of the Blackwell Motorsports No. 27b entry.

More O'Reilly Chili Bowl information:

What: 20th Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

Where: Tulsa Expo Raceway -- 0x00bc-mile clay oval inside the Tulsa Exposition Center at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds

When: January 11-14, 2006. Wednesday - Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Night; Thursday -- Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Qualifying Night; Friday -- Warren CAT Qualifying Night; Saturday -- Features

Past Winners: Sammy Swindell (1998, 1996, 1992 and 1989), Cory Kruseman (2004 and 2000), Dan Boorse (2003 and 1999), Tracy Hines (2005), Tony Stewart (2002), Jay Drake (2001), Billy Boat (1997), Donnie Beechler (1995), Andy Hillenburg (1994), Dave Blaney (1993), Lealand McSpadden (1991), Jon Heydenreich (1990), Scott Hatton (1988), Rich Vogler (1987).

Current Entries: 270 entries from 31 different states, surpassing the 2005 Chili Bowl record of 249 competitors.

Past winners already entered include Tony Stewart, Sammy Swindell, Cory Kruseman, Dan Boorse, Jay Drake, Scott Hatton and defending race champion Tracy Hines.

Other top drivers already entered include Kasey Kahne, 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Dave Darland, J.J. Yeley, All-Star champion Chad Kemenah, ASCS champion Gary Wright, ARDC Midget champion Ray Bull, USAC and Sprint Bandits TNT champion Levi Jones, USAC Midget champion Josh Wise, Kevin Swindell, Jason Leffler and Late Model aces Tim McCreadie, Bart Hartman and Steve Francis.

Entries represent numerous racing disciplines, including NASCAR, winged and non-wing Sprint Cars, Midgets, Late Models and NHRA drag racing among others.

Trade Show: Always a popular attraction at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is the Trade Show, which is open to the public each day (Wednesday through Saturday) free of charge. All variety of racing products, apparel and more is available with well over 100 different vendors. The Trade Show covers approximately 20,000 square feet.Preferred Parking: A limited number of Preferred Parking spaces are still available for all four nights of the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals by calling the ticket office at 918-838-3777.

Buffet: The cafeteria at the east end of the Tulsa Expo Center will offer an all-you-can-eat buffet each day (Wednesday through Saturday) from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. for just $10 per person.Tickets: Tickets for the 20th Anniversary of the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals were depleted in mid-October. Pit passes are available. Four-night pit pass vouchers are available by contacting the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals ticket office at 918-838-3777.

O'Reilly Chili Bowl on the Net: All four nights of racing action will be webcast live at www.racinboys.com. Complete information, including entry lists, updates and official results is available at www.chilibowl.com.

Additional information regarding the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is available at www.chilibowl.com or by calling 918-838-3777.

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Series Midget
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Billy Boat , Donnie Beechler , Andy Hillenburg , Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Kasey Kahne , Steve Kinser , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Sammy Swindell , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Levi Jones , Josh Wise , Ray Bull , Dave Blaney , Steve Francis , Tim McCreadie , Dex Eaton , Scott Hatton , Chad Kemenah