Chili Bowl 1987: Vogler Bags Rich Tulsa Midget Main


FIRSTS: USAC Midget star Rich Vogler is joined by race queen Lori Ensign following his recent victory in the open-competition midget program on a clay oval constructed inside the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center. (Allen Horcher Photo)

The 25th annual Chili Bowl Nationals will be held Jan. 11-15 at the QuickTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway.

In celebration of the Silver Anniversary of this prestigious indoor midget race, will be publishing the race reports that appeared in the pages of National Speed Sport News for the first 24 runnings of the event.

Beginning with the inaugural event in 1987, race recaps will be posted on a daily basis from Dec. 18 through Jan. 10.

Comes From 13th

FIRSTS: USAC Midget star Rich Vogler is joined by race queen Lori Ensign following his recent victory in the open-competition midget program on a clay oval constructed inside the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center. (Allen Horcher Photo)

Tulsa, Okla. – Rich Vogler wasn’t worried about missing Saturday night’s preliminary program or starting 13th in the feature. The final result was as predicted, a $4,020 victory in Sunday afternoon’s The Original Chili Bowl National Indoor Midget Championship at the IPE Building on the Tulsa Fairgrounds.


Vogler captured the second richest dirt track midget winner’s share with a sterling performance in what had to be considered a classic midget event. In a turnaround from Saturday’s show, drivers were able to utilize both the high and low grooves throughout the main.

Vogler rocketed the Babes Showgirls/Chili Bowl King/Autocraft No. 74 from 13th starting position to sixth by lap seven. Vogler rode the cushion around low-running Johnny Parsons and used spins by Doug Wolfgang and Sammy Swindell to close in behind race-long leader Gene Gennetten on lap 20.

This duo, joined at the halfway point by Kevin Doty, engaged in a torrid duel for the last 20 trips around the quarter-mile clay oval. Gennetten kept the Kansas Tunneling Gennetten/VW No. 9k ahead of Vogler who tested the low groove with no success on occasion.

The cushion kept advancing upward toward the concrete barriers as the race progressed. Vogler dove low in turn four and pulled even with Gennetten at the end of the 33rd tour. The duo were side-by-side going down the backstretch and made slight contact. Gennetten nipped the wall just enough to give Vogler the winning advantage.

Vogler continued in front to the checkered flag and the rich payoff. Gennetten settled for the $2,000 runner-up money, 1.18 seconds behind the winner. Doty took third and $1,025 aboard the APE-Best Warehouse Gennetten/VW No. 50.

Shane Carson emerged from a multi-car duel to take fourth in the Jerry’s Pit Stop Barnett/VW No. 5h. Hometown driver Steve Enlow rounded out the top five in the Eddie’s Motorcycle Goodies Gennetten/VW No. 3x after riding the rim the whole race.

Sammy Swindell was the first driver to test the cushion and the results were spectacular. The two-time World of Outlaws champion came from tenth to second by lap 10. Vogler moved around Swindell on lap 12 for a quartet of laps before Swindell resumed command of second.

Swindell’s victory drive came to an abrupt halt on lap 20 when he hooked a turn four marker tire and spun. He charged back through the pack to take sixth in the Streicher Quick Printer Challenger/VW No. 8.

Turkey Night victor Warren Mockler took seventh aboard the Jack’s Tool & Rental Challenger/Cosworth No. 6. Ron Shuman came from 19th starting spot to eighth in the Stainless Product-B&J Rich/Cosworth No. 2x with some classic rim-riding.

Bobby Schneider took ninth in the White-Way Painting Edmonds/VW No. 00. Outside front row started Johnny Parsons, Jr. saw his low-groove setup backfire as he claimed tenth in the Sheraton International Kenyon/VW No. 66.

Shortly after Swindell started running high, Doug Wolfgang duplicated the line and put the Weiland Racing Barnett/VW No. 84 into third. A 10th-lap turn two tangle eliminated Wolfgang, Lealand McSpadden and Steve Knepper. Fourth-starter Danny Frye, Jr. was uninjured after an opening lap turn two flip.

McSpadden was the only other flip victim as he overturned following the third heat. McSpadden and the Klatt crew made front-end repairs in time for the main.

A total of 52 cars competed in the final day of the inaugural event.

The summary:

Feature (40 laps):

  1. Rich Vogler, Lowe 74, $4,020;
  2. Gene Gennetten, Smith 9k, $2,000;
  3. Kevin Doty, Doty 50, $1,025;
  4. Shane Carson, Hatton 5h, $830;
  5. Steve Enlow, own 3x, $625;
  6. Sammy Swindell, Streicher 8, $530;
  7. Warren Mockler, Runyon 6, $430;
  8. Ron Shuman, Yeley 2x, $420;
  9. Bobby Schneider, Schneider 00, $330;
  10. Johnny Parsons, Jr., Burns 66, $250;
  11. John Heydenreich, Mausteller 21, $265;
  12. Mike Wente, Wente 25, $275;
  13. Jon Backlund, Boling 26, $225;
  14. Roy Payne, Payne 1tx, $225;
  15. Dave Burns, own 73, $200;
  16. Doug Wolfgang, Weiland 84, $230;
  17. Steve Knepper, Knepper 55k, $230;
  18. Lealand McSpadden, Klatt 62n, $225;
  19. Jon Johnson, Smith 3d, $285;
  20. Danny Frye, Jr., Hitt 55, $200.

Saturday Night Preliminary: Gene Gennetten