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.
Perfect Swindell Romps To Fifth Chili Bowl Score
By BRYAN GAPINSKI
TULSA, Okla. — Sammy Swindell won the Chili Bowl Nationals for a record fifth time, claiming Saturday night’s 23rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire 50-lap feature at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the QuikTrip Center.
The victory made Swindell perfect for the week (five of five) capturing Tuesday’s Race of Champions, Wednesday night’s heat race, qualifying race and preliminary feature.
“To pull this off the way we did, to be undefeated here in every race, it was fun,” Swindell said. “We had a great car and a lot of good fortune that we didn’t get in trouble and didn’t tear up anything or get banged around.”
Jerry Coons, Jr. jumped into the lead from his outside-front-row starting position. The track was reworked before the start of the feature produced a blistering pace, as Coons began lapping the tail of the field by lap nine.
Behind Coons a great battle for positions two through five continued among Tracy Hines, Swindell, Brad Kuhn and Levi Jones.
Josh Ford stopped on the track on lap 19, bringing out the event’s first caution. On the restart, Coons led Hines, Swindell and Kuhn. Kuhn passed Swindell for third place one lap before the midway point. Coons drifted high exiting turn four on lap 26, giving Hines the lead.
Hines then pulled to a slight advantage, as Swindell passed Kuhn for third on lap 30, two laps later moving to second. Hines and Swindell were even at the start-finish line on lap 33, with Hines scored the leader. Swindell made the winning move before the completion of the next lap.
The caution flag appeared on lap 36 when Donnie Ray Crawford spun. On the restart, Swindell quickly pulled away from Hines and within two laps held a half-straightaway advantage before the third caution appeared for a stalled car.
Swindell pulled away from Hines and began lapping several cars. Three caution flags waved between laps 45 and 48, keeping Swindell close to the field, but several lapped cars between Swindell and Hines on each restart worked to Swindell’s advantage.
Swindell, driving the Venture Racing/Spike/Ford-Esslinger No. 1, finished ahead of 2005 winner Hines, Kuhn, who moved into third on the final lap, Coons and J.J. Yeley.
Dave Darland, Chris Windom, who started 23rd, Cole Whitt, Steve Buckwalter and Brad Loyet completed the top 10.
“Each win here has been special, but this one stands out because we won every race we ran this year, and because of the record amount of cars. The car was perfect each time and we were lucky not be involved in anyone else’s trouble,” said Swindell, whose previous Chili Bowl victories came in 1989, ’92, ’96, ’98.
A record 281 drivers competed in the five-day event. Saturday’s preliminary racing featured 22 features, starting with double L features. Defending event winner Damion Gardner suffered problems in the C feature and used the defending race winner’s provisional to start 25th in the feature.
Drivers French Grimes and Frank Polimeda were transported to a local hospital for observation and treatment of minor injuries after being involved in two accidents during the program.
Feature (50 laps):
- Sammy Swindell;
- Tracy Hines;
- Brad Kuhn;
- Jerry Coons, Jr.;
- J.J. Yeley;
- Dave Darland;
- Chris Windom;
- Cole Whitt;
- Steve Buckwalter;
- Brad Loyet;
- Casey Shuman;
- Gary Taylor;
- Jon Stanbrough;
- Ricky Stenhouse;
- Bobby East;
- Thomas Meseraull;
- Donnie Crawford;
- Jesse Hockett;
- Damion Gardner;
- Daryn Pittman;
- Justin Allgaier;
- Josh Ford;
- Shane Cottle;
- Levi Jones;
- Chad Kemenah.
Tuesday Night Preliminary: Brad Kuhn
Wednesday Night Preliminary: Sammy Swindell
Thursday Night Preliminary: Tracy Hines
Friday Night Preliminary: Jerry Coons, Jr.