The 29th annual Chili Bowl Nationals will be held Jan. 13-17 at the River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa’s Expo Square.
Leading up to the Chili Bowl, SPEED SPORT will publish some of the race reports that appeared on www.nationalspeedsportnews.com or in the pages of National Speed Sport News for the first 28 runnings of the event.
TULSA, Okla. – Kevin Swindell held off a late-race charge from his father and five-time event winner Sammy and six cautions in the final 15 laps to snag a Silver Driller in the 25th anniversary of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Saturday night at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway, becoming the first back-to-back winner.
Sammy Swindell earned his third-straight podium finish in the 50-lap feature, while New Zealander Michael Pickens overcame early trouble to finish third. Jonathan Beason, who started his Saturday night in the B main, and early leader Bryan Clauson completed the top five.
Driving the No. 39 Swindell Motorsports Spike Esslinger, K. Swindell passed Clauson, who led the first 12 laps, for second place on lap 34 and set his sights on his father. Six laps later, he found his opening on a restart to pass S. Swindell for the lead on the inside of turn one. But a rash of late-race cautions hardly made for smooth sailing for the younger Swindell.
K. Swindell got a good jump on a lap-44 restart as his father tried to hold off Pickens and Beason for second, but a final caution on lap 49 for Damion Gardner set up a two-lap dash to the finish for the top five drivers.
K. Swindell nailed another good restart, but jumped the cushion in turn four just as the checkered flag waved, opening the door for S. Swindell to try for the win. K. Swindell corrected his mistake and held off his father by fractions of a second, marking the seventh time in 25 years that a Swindell had won the Chili Bowl.
Pickens trailed the Swindells in third despite having to stop when Shane Cottle slowed in turn four on lap 25.
Brad Kuhn, who won his 20-lap B main earlier in the evening, finished sixth ahead of Bobby East, Cole Whitt, Jon Stanbrough and Daryn Pittman.