T.J.’s Friday’s Chili Bowl Crystal Ball…

By T.J. Buffenbarger, Alan Holland Photo

The final Chili Bowl preliminary night for 2011 is upon us. I’ll admit picking last night’s winner was not that difficult of a task. Nick Knepper and Donnie Ray Crawford’s performances are of the variety to make me glad I was wrong on certain picks. I also managed to grossly underestimate Jerry Coons, Jr. teamed up with 2B racing for midget car action. Learning from the success and failure of the past three nights here are my predictions for Friday.

My favorites to transfer include…

…Dave Darland to put the Speedway Motorsports sponsored Wilke-PAK entry into the A-Main. No surprises here, Darland will be up front.

…Brad Loyet to capture a Chili Bowl win before going winged sprint car racing next season. Loyet’s teammates have been formable opponents all week at the Chili Bowl. I expect nothing less out of Loyet himself.
…Kevin Swindell to capture a prelim win and battle his Dad for the victory on Saturday. What a story this would be, and the moon and stars are aligning properly to see it happen.

It wouldn’t surprise me if…

…Davey Ray positioned himself in a transfer spot for Saturday. Ray has fresh chops racing in Australia. Generally the best midget car drivers do well at the Chili Bowl.

…Cory Kruseman is a former winner of the Chili Bowl and did more midget racing this past year than in recent history. Kruseman also has the advantage of racing for his own team.

…Shane Cottle works well with Daryl Saucier and crew. They are always up front at the Bowl, and its probably a mistake not placing them in my favorites for Friday. My gut though told me to pick Darland, Loyet, and Kevin Swindell.

As for dark horses, …

…Brad Mosen is someone you don’t hear about often in the United States, but is a formable midget driver from New Zealand. The question mark is how well will he run in one of Andy Bondio’s creations.

…Tim Crawley can drive anything. Look for him to quietly slide up into a good finishing spot in Friday’s A-Main.

…Chris Windom is the Perris Oval Nationals champion. He probably should not be in the dark horses category, but his name has not been mentioned often during Chili Bowl talk. Windom will strengthen my dark horse choices.