From Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (December 27, 2011) – Three-time and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart makes his return to Tulsa in January as he is set to vie for a third Golden Driller in the 26th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway. “Smoke Johnson” in Chili Bowl lore, Stewart ranks as just one of a handful of drivers to post multiple Chili Bowl triumphs after collecting wins in 2002 and 2007. Stewart tries to become just the second driver with more than two wins in the event set for January 10-14 at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway. Stewart, who has made it to the Chili Bowl championship feature event in ten of 12 previous tries, last competed in the Chili Bowl in 2008 with an eighth-place showing. He return in a special edition black, carbon-fiber entry that has been dubbed the “Back in Black” car. Stewart’s TSR Chevrolet Performance Parts No. 14 will be partnered with the CTR-BCI trio that includes NASCAR Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., USAC Midget champion Bryan Clauson and Chili Bowl rookie contender Jake Blackhurst. Stenhouse, Jr., and Clauson have each started two Chili Bowl championship feature events, including last year’s 50-lap finale. Returning after a three year absence, Stewart will compete in Tuesday night’s Fourth Annual Vacuworx International Race of Champions (VIROC IV) and then Wednesday night’s River Spirit Casino Qualifying event. “Having taken a few years off from competing in the Chili Bowl, I’m really looking forward to returning to Tulsa and the event in 2012,” Stewart commented. “It’s one of the biggest Midget races of the year and it’s just a lot of fun to compete in the Chili Bowl. I’m also glad that we’ll be able to give our partners, Chevrolet and Chevrolet Performance Parts, another shot at a Golden Driller.” Stenhouse, Jr., who climbed the Sprint Car and Midget ranks just as Stewart did, comes off a NASCAR Nationwide championship season with the Roush Fenway Racing team. A Chili Bowl championship main event starter over two of the past three years, Stenhouse, Jr., is slated for Tuesday night’s Warren CAT Qualifier as well as the VIROC IV event. Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Quick Facts: What: 26th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Where: Tulsa Expo Raceway – ¼-mile clay oval inside the QuikTrip Center at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds When: January 10-14, 2011 Tuesday – Warren CAT Qualifying Night plus Vacuworx Chili Bowl Race of Champions Wednesday – River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night Thursday – Suburban Chevrolet Qualifying Night Friday – Vacuworx International Qualifying Night Saturday – Lucas Oil Championship Feature Events The five nights of racing action will be preceded by a practice session on Monday, January 9. Past Winners: Kevin Swindell (2010 and 2011), Sammy Swindell (2009, 1998, 1996, 1992 and 1989), Damion Gardner (2008), Tony Stewart (2007 and 2002), Tim McCreadie (2006), Tracy Hines (2005), Cory Kruseman (2004 and 2000), Dan Boorse (2003 and 1999), 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). Trade Show: Always a popular attraction at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is the Trade Show, which is open to the public each day (Tuesday 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. Tickets: A limited number of reserved seats for Tuesday night’s Warren CAT Qualifying Event and the Fourth Annual Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions are available for $43 per person and may be obtained by calling 918-838-3777 or at the gate if still available. Pit passes for all five nights are available at the gate as well. Chili Bowl on the Net: All official news pertaining to the 26th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, including official entry lists, race results and recaps, is available first at www.chilibowl.com. Also, all five nights of the Chili Bowl Nationals will be broadcast live (audio) on www.racinboys.com. Additional information regarding the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is available at http://www.chilibowl.com/ or by calling 918-838-3777.
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