KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


It’s that time again. Only this week, we bring you the Friday Morning Heat Race from an exotic locale — Tulsa, Okla., where we are attending the 25th anniversary Chili Bowl Nationals.

Ten laps today:

1. The only better ending to Wednesday night’s Chili Bowl feature may have been if the driver — Damion Gardner — who flipped across the finish line, would have won, not finished second to Donnie Ray Crawford.

2. Speaking of Crawford, the second-generation Oklahoma racer is in position to become the first Oklahoman to win the Chili Bowl since Andy Hillenburg way back in 1994. The Chili Bowl has been traditionally dominated by out of staters.

3. So the IZOD IndyCar Series is moving to double-file restarts this season. We hope they are better than the double-file starts executed in most IndyCar events.

4. The car count is huge at the Chili Bowl, but many of the cars look the same with many teams, including Loyet Motorsports, which finished second on the first two nights with Michael Pickens and Damion Gardner, entering entire stables of cars. Others with more than four entries were 2B Racing, Wilke-Pak Motorsports, Kruseman Motorsports, Kenny Brown Racing and Keith Kunz Motorsports.

5. Many of the extra entries at the Chili Bowl are prepared by midget racing teams for paying drivers hoping a good performance will lead to their big break.

6. So I see Brett Favre, Oops, I mean Mark Martin is extending his racing schedule into the Nationwide and Truck Series. More young drivers losing out on seat time.

7. Sprint Car Hall of Famer Shane Carson is at the Chili Bowl and looking none the worse for wear after a recent bout of cancer. He concluded treatments on New Year’s Eve.

8. Versatile flagman/promoter Roger Slack, who is now employed as director of events for the World Racing Group, looks as nimble as ever as the on-track flagger for the Chili Bowl. Slack only had one or two close calls on the second night of Chili Bowl action.

9. We cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual Outstanding Contribution to the Sport award, which was given to hard-working promoter Steve Sinclair, who operates the Wisconsin-based IRA Sprint Car Series. Nice work Steve.

10. The Chili Bowl Nationals feature will be taped by Lucas Oil Productions and shown on Speed sometime in February.