By Ferns Racing PR
Shelby Township, Mich.—January 8, 2012 — For the last three years, Taylor Ferns has been in attendance at the Chili Bowl, anxiously awaiting the time when she would be able to compete in the famed event. That wait will end this week, as the reigning USAC Mopar D1 Midget Series champion takes to the track in the annual winter classic.
The 26th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals begins on Tuesday, Jan. 10 indoors at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. Ferns will compete on the opening night of the five-day event aboard the Motor City Transport Inc. Spike, with a Stanton Mopar engine under the hood. The Chili Bowl will consist of four qualifying nights that will determine the feature lineups for the finale on Saturday, Jan. 14. The festivities will open with a practice session on Monday, Jan. 9, which Ferns will take part in.
“I’m really excited for the Chili Bowl,” said Ferns. “I’ve been going for the last few years and now I am finally old enough to race in it. I can’t wait. I’ve been counting down the days. It’s going to be a lot of fun and some great racing.”
The first Chili Bowl was held in 1987, which was eight years before Ferns, 16, was born. The entry list is a virtual “Who’s Who” of short track open wheel racing, and the high school sophomore is one of 19 drivers on the entry list that earned a championship in 2011.
“It’s always exciting to go to an event or a race track that has a lot of history,” she noted. “To be able to race there and be part of that history is pretty special.”
Ferns has raced indoors a couple of times this winter. She competed with the POWRi Midget Series at the Southern Illinois Center in early December on a temporary 1/6-mile dirt track. Most recently, she raced in the Rumble in Fort Wayne over New Year’s weekend, on the tight indoor track on the floor of the Memorial Coliseum. The temporary dirt oval inside the QuikTrip Center that the Chili Bowl is run on measures ¼-mile in distance.
“During the winter it certainly helps to race and be in the seat, which keeps you in shape,” explained Ferns. “I’ve had a chance to race a couple of times this winter, which has helped me stay sharp.”
Ferns will compete in the Chili Bowl against a number of fellow midget drivers, as well as drivers from winged and non-wing sprint cars, dirt late models, off-road racing and even a handful of NASCAR drivers, including three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. A total of 261 drivers representing 31 states in addition to Australia, Canada, Finland and New Zealand are on the current entry list.
“It’s pretty awesome to have drivers from so many different series and types of cars come together for this one event,” she shared. “What makes it even cooler is that everyone comes together for a midget race.”
Ferns, who is the winningest female in USAC history, is taking the same approach to the Chili Bowl that she does for each and every race she competes in. The native of Shelby Township, Mich. started 16 feature events with the USAC Mopar D1 Midget Series last year and finished in the Top-10 in each and every one en route to claiming the title. She looks to use the experience she gained in a midget on the smaller, tighter bullrings in 2011 this week during the Chili Bowl.
“Even though the Chili Bowl is a big race, it’s just another race, and you have to go in it with that mindset,” noted Ferns. “I’m just going to race and not think about how many other cars are there or anything like that.”