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, www.nationalspeedsportnews.com 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.
Before SRO Chili Bowl Crowd
By DON HUBBARD
TULSA, Okla. – A standing-room-only crowd was on hand to see Pennsylvania’s Johnny Heydenreich get the break he was waiting for on the 32nd of 40 laps in Saturday’s Original Chili Bowl Midget Nationals feature here at Expo Square.
Heydenreich, driving Tony Findlay’s Aries-powered Stewart midget, took over the top spot with just eight laps remaining when outside polesitter Sammy Swindell developed a push in Jack Runyon’s No. 7r midget due to a slowly deflating right rear tire.
Heydenreich towed 11-time national sprint car champion Steve Kinser along with him past the fading Swindell and went on to claim the victory. Heydenreich also won the 20-lap preliminary feature Thursday night.
Swindell fell to third after leading from the drop of the green flag, followed by USAC Western States champion Robby Flock and USAC sprint car ace Rich Vogler at the finish.
The leaders did not change despite Jeff Gordon’s spin on the white-flag lap. Danny Lasoski was sixth, followed by Johnny Parsons, Steve Gennetten, NASCAR star Ken Schrader and Terry Wente.
In addition to the white-flag caution, the race had two additional yellows and a red flag. On the sixth lap, Doug Wolfgang spun Larry Howard’s No. 71, and a lap-23 tangle involving Dean Billings, Kevin Doty, Wente and Gordon also halted the action. Billings had flipped on the 20th lap, forcing the red flag, but escaped unhurt and the car was able to restart at the back of the pack.
Lealand McSpadden and Tom Siner scored wire-to-wire victories in the two 20-lap C features, while Wolfgang and Stan Fox did the same in the 25-lap B features.
Five drivers flipped in the B and C features, with Dave Baldini, Mark Stasa, Greg Leuker and Gene Gennetten getting upside down in the C mains and Johnny Cofer flipping in the B. There were no injuries.
Feature (40 laps):
- Johnny Heydenreich, 77ws, $4,000;
- Steve Kinser, 2k, $2,000;
- Sammy Swindell, 7r, $1,000;
- Robby Flock, 95, $800;
- Rich Vogler, 1r, $600;
- Danny Lasoski, 3y, $500;
- Johnny Parsons, 6j, $400;
- Steve Gennetten, 3d, $350;
- Ken Schrader, 2, $300;
- Terry Wente, 33, $250;
- Stan Fox, 9, $200;
- Steve Knepper, 1h, $200;
- Doug Wolfgang, 71, $200;
- Randy Roberts, 5d, $200;
- Dean Billings, 10, $200;
- Jeff Gordon, 4, $200;
- Joe Gaerte, 3g, $200;
- Mark Passerelli, 16b, $200;
- Scott Hatton, 3, $200;
- Kevin Doty, 50, $500.
Thursday Night Preliminary: Johnny Heydenreich
Friday Night Preliminary: Sammy Swindell