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.
Triumphs Despite Crew Woes
By DON HUBBARD
TULSA, Okla. – Donnie Beechler drove to his biggest career payday, taking the $5,000 top prize in Saturday’s ninth annual Indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa Expo Square.
Beechler, who drove Zarounian Motorsports’s Fontana-powered Stealth to victory, credited three-time All Star champion Frankie Kerr, who drove the second Zarounian entry, for setting up his mount after the team recently lost its crew chief.
Beechler came on strong late in the 50-lap event, finding a line in the middle of the track. He passed Billy Boat for second on lap 43 and got leader Ron Shuman a lap later to earn the $5,000 winner’s check.
At the start, Beechler worked his way from 16th starting spot through traffic, while the cushion riding Shuman held the point with Hank Butcher and Boat in pursuit.
Boat and Butcher diced several laps for third spot until Boat secured the spot after 12 laps.
Shuman drove Skip Schuck’s Shaver-powered Ellis to second, followed by Boat in John Lawson’s Stealth. Dave Blaney, like Beechler a B main transfer, finished fourth with Butcher taking fifth. It was Butcher’s Chili Bowl debut.
The race was slowed only twice, once each for spins by sprint-car veterans Kerr and Danny Lasoski.
Rounding out the top 10 were John Starks, Jack Runyon, Lasoski, John Cofer and Jack Hewitt.
Steve Bennett and Jerry Sherman split the E mains, while Ron Kuhn and Aaron Berryhill topped the Ds. Jeff Swindell and Dean Erfurth won C main features. Kevin Doty topped the opening B main and Beechler won the second, a race which saw Andy Hillenburg and Danny Drinan each flip.
Feature (50 laps):
- Donnie Beechler, $5,000;
- Ron Shuman, $3,000;
- Billy Boat, $2,000;
- Dave Blaney, $1,500;
- Hank Butcher, $1,000;
- John Starks, $800;
- Jack Runyon, $700;
- Danny Lasoski, $600;
- John Cofer, $550;
- Jack Hewitt, $500;
- Tony Stewart, $400;
- Kevin Olson, $400;
- Steve Knepper, $400;
- Aaron Fiscus, $400;
- Randy Koch, $400;
- Keith Rauch, $400;
- Tommie Estes, Jr., $400;
- Randy Roberts, $400;
- Rick Hendrix, $400;
- Richard Griffin, $400;
- Scott Hatton, $400;
- Kevin Doty, $400;
- Frankie Kerr, $400.
Thusday Night Preliminary: Billy Boat
Friday Night Preliminary: Ron Shuman