Area Will Be Well Represented in Tulsa, OK
As final preparations are completed and trailers are being loaded, all eyes turn to Tulsa, OK for what is frequently referred to as ‘the Super Bowl’ of midget racing as the 29th Annual Chili Bowl gets underway on Monday, January 12th in the
The American Racing Drivers Club will be well represented in the 2015 Chili Bowl competition as fifteen drivers with ties to the organization have registered to compete in this year’s event – certainly the largest presence ARDC has ever had in Tulsa. The delegation of ARDC competitors represents a broad cross section of the organization – from rookies to seasoned veterans.
John Heydenreich who hails from Bloomsburg, PA was the winner of the 1990 Chili Bowl and is a former ARDC competitor, ranking ninth on the ARDC All Time Feature Winners List. Heydenreich last competed with ARDC during the 2013 season. While the entries have reached record levels for the 2015 event, Heydenreich maintains that the competition has always been tough in Tulsa. “It’s all about preparation and opportunity,” Heydenreich states. “You’ve got to get your elbows up and be ready to take advantage of whatever opportunities come your way.”
Collegeville, PA driver, Alex Bright knows all about those opportunities. Bright qualified for last year’s Chili Bowl by finishing 3rd in the A Main on his qualifying night while racing for his grandfather, Joe Hemler in his Lightcap Electric #77. Racing the same car that he used in ARDC competition, Bright battled with Christopher Bell and Kevin Swindell right down to the wire in last year’s event to finish fourth. This year, Bright will have a Mike Heffner owned midget at the Chili Bowl, with Sean Michael turning the wrenches. A second Heffner entry will be piloted by 8 time URC Sprint Car Champion, Curt Michael who will make his first Chili Bowl appearance.
The “Royersford Rocket”, Steve Buckwalter has raced in five Chili Bowl main events. Buckwalter’s best finish to date has been a ninth in the Saturday night main event along with a third place finish on his qualifying night.
Now making his home in Berks County, Danny Stratton joined the ranks of ARDC competitors this season as the driver of the Jerry & Karen Steward owned #33. Stratton has raced midgets throughout the country and boasts a fourth place finish in the 2012 Chili Bowl as his best performance to date. Stratton will field a second Andy Bondio entry at this year’s Chili Bowl, joining team mate, Tim McCreadie – the winner of the 2006 event.
2014 ARDC Champion, Reading, PA driver, Steven Drevicki leads a host of ARDC competitors who return to completion in Tulsa this year. Drevicki carries the momentum to Tulsa that took him to the top of the ARDC competitors this season. Drevicki and DeGre Engineering Race Team took everything they learned the season before and rolled it into a championship season. Brenden Bright chased Drevicki throughout the season and travels to Tulsa on the heels of one of his most successful seasons in midget competition after finishing second in points. Milford, NJ driver, Nick Wean returns to Chili Bowl competition this year and looks to improve upon his 11th place finish on his qualifying night. After finishing 8th in points on the ARDC schedule, PJ Gargiulo of Morton, PA heads west and hopes to make his first A Main on his qualifying night. Shawn Jackson of Bear, DE will debut his new Elite Chassis, Esslinger powered #7 in Tulsa this week. Jackson was the first driver from the First State of Delaware to compete at the Chili Bowl. Tyler Brehm returns to compete in a second Steve Buckwalter entry. Brehm raced in Tulsa last year after only taking a few practice laps in a midget before the Chili Bowl. In 2014, Brehm raced the Jim Jackson owned #97 in ARDC competition and his headed to Tulsa with a lot more seat time and experience under his belt.
Drivers, Ryan Greth and Jim Radney, are hoping that they can convert what knowledge they gained while competing in the Tulsa Shootout just ten days before the start of the Chili Bowl as they head to Tulsa with their Hyper Racing midgets for their second Chili Bowl experience.
In addition to Curt Michael who makes his first Chili Bowl appearance, 2014 ARDC rookie, Tommy Kunsman of Northampton, PA will be behind the wheel of a second Rick Wean owned entry. Kunsman has been a spectator in Tulsa for the last eight years and looks forward to seeing the event from the other side of the fence. Jamie Spears of New Holland, PA will also make his Chili Bowl debut. Both rides – Kunsman’s ride in the Wean #78 Spike chassis and Spear’s #74 Stealth – are up for sale and looking for new owners to take possession in Tulsa!
First things first as qualifying gets underway on Tuesday night. Everyone’s goal is to make the A Main on qualifying night. Qualifying takes place Tuesday through Friday with final qualifying all day Saturday before the main event.
Follow all the Chili Bowl news and ARDC results on Facebook. There will be live updates throughout the competition with daily results posted on our web site at www.ardcmidget.com.