By T.J. Buffenbarger
With continued growth that seems to defy any kind of logic that applies to motorsports the Chili Bowl Nationals kicks off today with the first preliminary program on Monday in the 33-year history of the event. Racing on Monday gives Chili Bowl patrons one more day for people acquire the flu, avoid alcohol poisoning, and testing the outer limits of motorsports enjoyment and hydration.
With a schedule that starts with practice at 9:00 a.m. central time Monday could be the longest day at the bowl other than Saturday’s finale. With five preliminary nights only the top two finishers will transfer directly to Saturday’s finale.
Several contenders for the Chili Bowl’s famous golden driller trophy are taking part in Monday’s program. BC 39 winners and Oklahoma born Brady Bacon leads the way on Monday. Bacon and Frank Manafort’s team are very fast and are considered contenders to win the entire Chili Bowl.
Logan Seavey starts off the week for one of the two super teams, Keith Kunz Motorsports. The defending USAC National Midget Champion is joined by Chili Bowl rookie Tanner Carrick in KKR’s two car effort on Monday. In an interesting twist Logan’s bother Tyler Seavey is competing on Monday as well.
The other “super team” effort with Matt Wood and Clauson Marshall Racing roll out Zeb Wise and Dustin Golobic on Monday. Wise is coming off winning a feature at the Tulsa Shootout. Dustin’s brother Shane Golobic is a fixture with the Clauson/Wood efforts in midget and sprint car racing in the past.
The other Chili Bowl entry that has my attention as a favorite to win on Monday is Brad Sweet’s pairing with Rusty Kunz. Sweet has a plethora of midget racing experience and is driving at the highest level of his career. The 2018 Knoxville Nationals champ should be towards the front of the pack Monday night.
Some other noteworthy entires for Monday include NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe and sports car racer Chris Dyson. Other noteworthy drivers competing on Monday include former Chili Bowl winner Johnny Heydenrich, former USAC Silver Crown Series champion Paul White.
If you are looking for a dark horse to nab one of the two spots to transfer into Saturday’s feature Monday might be the night that happens. Under the right circumstances we could see someone come out of nowhere to score one of the two transfer positions Monday seems like the most likely night for this to happen.
Since the website doesn’t pay my mortgage, I’ll be keeping tabs on things from afar via racinboys.com Even from here this is one of the busier weeks of the year and the anticipation is still electric waiting for things to begin in Tulsa.
33rd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals
Cummins Qualifying Night
Monday January 14, 2018
9:00 a.m: Open Practice
3:00 p.m: Drivers meeting
4:00 pm: Hot Laps
5:00 p.m: Racing
Coverage: Live Pay Per View online via RacinBoys.com