The 29th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl is history.
The American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC), the oldest race sanctioning organization in the country, was well represented at the Chili Bowl competition held in Tulsa, OK.
Four drivers with strong ties to ARDC raced in the A Mains on their qualifying nights. Six drivers won qualifying events throughout the week. With a record number of entries reaching well over the three hundred mark this year, qualifying spots were at a premium on every day of the competition.
Both Milford, NJ driver, Nick Wean and Collegeville, PA driver, Alex Bright won their heat races during Tuesday night’s qualifying. Both drivers advanced to the Tuesday night A Main on their passing points, starting 9th and 14th respectively. Wean got caught up in an on track incident and tried to return to the rear of the field after some hasty repairs but his re-entry was blocked by another competitor. Wean finished 21st. Bright rebounded from restarting at the rear of the field to finish twelfth at the checkered flag.
Tyler Brehm, in his second Chili Bowl competition, reached the B Main on Tuesday night. 2014 ARDC Champion, Steven Drevicki raced to a third place finish in the D Main, missing a start in the C Main by just one spot. Ryan Greth was unable to complete the C Main after being involved in a multi-car incident.
Brenden Bright and Shawn Jackson saw competition on Wednesday night. Bright starts out the night with a win in his heat race. Jackson has a rough night, getting caught up in an incident just before the checkered flag in his heat race and then flipping during the running of his qualifier. He will come back and try again on Saturday.
Bright makes the A Main on passing points, starting 16th on the grid. He races home in 11th at the checkered flag after restarting in the rear after the first caution.
Thursday action had PJ Garigulo, Steve Buckwalter, Danny Stratton and Chili Bowl rookie, Tommy Kunsman see qualifying action. Gargiulo and Kunsman both race in the C Mains but neither one is able to advance. Buckwalter and Stratton pick up win in their qualifying heats. Stratton completes qualifying with the most passing points of the night and starts on the pole of the A Main. Buckwalter runs into trouble during his A Main qualifier and is unable to advance.
Stratton leads the first four laps the A Main and finishes sixth at the wave of the checkered.
On the final night of qualifying, Jim Radney and John Heydenreich compete as Curt Michael and Jamie Spears make their first Chili Bowl appearances.
John Heydenreich, the winner of the 1990 Chili Bowl, competed in the Race of Champions event on Tuesday night but was an early retiree after drawing the pole for the start of the twenty lap race.
Curt Michael picks up a win in a C Main and Jamie Spears runs second in his C Main to advance to the B Mains. All four drivers race the B Mains on Friday night but no one is able to move on to the main event of the night.
Saturday is know as Alphabet Soup as the qualifiers run through the alphabet.
Shawn Jackson advances from the M Main to run the L Main. Steven Drevicki races in the L and completes his Chili Bowl competition. Tommy Kunsman’s Chili Bowl experience ends with a run in a K Main. Ryan Greth starts in the K Main and then advances to the J and then the I before his day is complete. PJ Gargiulo races in the J Main with Jim Radney in the H Main. Jamie Spears and Steve Buckwalter race in the I Mains but both are involved in on track incidents and do not advance.
Tyler Brehm and Curt Michael pick up twelfth place finishes in the E Mains. Nick Wean finishes twelfth in his D Main.
After leading all the way to lap ten, Brenden Bright has his Chili Bowl hopes end in the C Main with engine problems. Alex Bright finishes twelfth in the same race after receiving damage in the early laps.
Danny Stratton races in the first B Main and is in a qualifying spot when contact is made and Stratton ends up against the wall and upside down.
Saturday was a rough day for the ARDC competitors but much was accomplished during the week of action. It’s time to start preparing for next year!