TULSA, Okla. — Lucas Oil Chili Bowl officials have announced the drivers who will be participating in Tuesday’s (Jan. 8) Vacuworx Invitation Race of Champions on the opening night of the 27th annual Chili Bowl Nationals.
Fifteen drivers will compete in the 25-lap all-star event on the indoor quarter-mile dirt track at Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Sammy Swindell: The three time and reigning champion of the VIROC (2009, 2011, and 2012), the elder Swindell has five Golden Drillers to his credit along with the VIROC. Sammy will be driving the Swindell Motorsports No. 1
Kevin Swindell: Where his Father has three VIROC titles, the second-generation Swindell as three Golden Drillers in as many years to his credit. Kevin will be driving the Mike Curb/Swindell Motorsports No. 39.
Tracy Hines: The 2005 Chili Bowl Champion enters this year’s event with new hopes for 2013. Piloting the Bob Parker backed No. 24, the Indiana native looks to better his 2012 finish of third.
Cory Kruseman: The southern California non-wing ace has topped the Chili Bowl twice (2004 and 2000). Fielding his own Lucas Oil No. 21k, Kruseman’s best finish in the VIROC came in 2010 with an eighth place finish.
Kyle Larson: At this point, there aren’t very many races in the world of dirt track racing that Kyle Larson hasn’t won. Fresh off a 4 for 4 run in New Zealand, the 2012 Turkey Night Grand Prix winner enters under the Keith Kunz/Curb Agajanian banner in the No. 71.
Cole Whitt: A regular with the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Cole Whitt enters the VIROC aboard the Wilke Pak No. 5. Whitt’s best finish in the VIROC came in 2012 with a fourth place attempt.
J.J. Yeley: The Arizona native is never short on excitement. Yeley has a pair of top five finishes in the VIROC with a fifth in 2009 and a fourth in 2011. The USAC Triple Crown winner will be behind the wheel of the McKinnie Motorsports No. 1st.
Chad Boat: The son former Indy Car driver Billy Boat, the second generation Boat makes his rounds with the K&N Pro East Series but for the VIROC will be behind the wheel of the John Lawson owned No. 15x. The VIROC V marks Chad’s first attempt at the 25-lap event.
Brad Sweet: Another VIROC Rookie in 2013, Brad Sweet will pilot the Gary Zarounian backed No. 98 in this year’s VIROC.
Jerry Coons Jr.: Earning the National Midget Driver of the Year for 2012, Arizona’s Jerry Coons Jr. has secured his place in the VIROC for the first time. Coons will spend the Chili Bowl aboard the Dooling Machine No. 63.
Damion Gardner: Known far and wide as “The Demon” the 2008 Chili Bowl Champion will pair with Andy Bondio for the 2013 Chili Bowl in the No. 47 machine.
Tim McCreadie: A wild card at the Chili Bowl, the Late Model driver from Watertown, New York was the talk of the racing world when he upset the Chili Bowl field in 2006. Absent since 2011, McCreadie returns in the Andy Bondio backed No. 47x.
Tony Stewart: A two time champion of the Chili Bowl (2007 and 2002), “Smoke” will again bring his Chevrolet Performance No. 14 to the Chili Bowl with hopes of not only breaking the Swindell stronghold but adding the VIROC to his resume.
Jason Leffler: Returning in the Shane Hmiel owned No. 56P Long Beach, California’s Jason Leffler will look to improve on his third place performance in the VIROC in 2011.
Brad Loyet: The winner of the VIROC II, 3x POWRi Midget Champion Brad Loyet returns to the Chili Bowl with the Orange Army with hopes of improving upon his eighth place result in 2012.