Chili Bowl Entries Rolling In

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Jerry Coons, Jr. (5) fights off Kevin Swindell during last year's Chili Bowl. (Ken Simon photo).
Jerry Coons, Jr. (5) fights off Kevin Swindell during last year's Chili Bowl. (Ken Simon photo).

TULSA, Okla. — It’s the Bowl season once again, and it’s imperative to know the players when the big one comes around.

Race fans gearing up for the biggest bowl of the season, the 25th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, get a first glance now at the entry list for the blockbuster event that is set to take place at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway Jan. 11-15.

With the pre-entry of deadline of Dec. 15 still a week away, the entry count has already climbed to 143 with 22 states as well as New Zealand among the early entries.

The current list of entries for the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals is available at www.chilibowl.com/2011chilibowlentries.asp.

Among the early batch of entries are defending Chili Bowl champion Kevin Swindell and his father, five-time event winner Sammy Swindell. Other past winners already entered include Damion Gardner, Tracy Hines, Cory Kruseman, Jay Drake and Johnny Heydenreich.

Initially a two-day event that attracted approximately 50 cars in 1987, the entry count topped the 100 mark in 1994 and then surged past 200 for the first time in 2003. Last year, 256 competitors took part in the Chili Bowl after a record number of 281 in 2009.

With Kevin Swindell becoming the 17th different winner in Chili Bowl history in January 2010, there have been just four drivers claim multiple Golden Drillers since Rich Vogler won the inaugural event in 1987.

Tony Stewart, Cory Kruseman and Dan Boorse have each topped the Chili Bowl twice, while Sammy Swindell added an unprecedented fifth win in 2009 to previous victories in 1989, 1992, 1996 and 1998.

After a practice session Jan. 10, the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals kicks off one night later with the first of four qualifying nights. Tuesday’s Warren CAT Qualifier will also include the Third Annual Vacuworx International Chili Bowl Race of Champions, featuring past event winners and other top Chili Bowl contenders squaring off in a special feature race.

Action continues with Wednesday’s River Spirit Casino Qualifier, Thursday’s Qualifier and then Friday’s Vacuworx International Qualifier.

The top three finishers from each of the Qualifying Night features will automatically lock into the Saturday night, Jan. 15, Lucas Oil Chili Bowl championship, with the balance of Saturday’s Lucas Oil championship feature events lined up according to Qualifying Night finishes.