INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Stewart Racing and Beast Enterprises announced today that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne has joined the star-studded field for the 28th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire Jan. 14-18 at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center.
Kahne will pilot the No. 71 Jason Leffler Tribute/Chevrolet/Beast being entered by the late Jason Leffler and Julianna Patterson.
“Jason Leffler was a good buddy of mine and it’s neat that Bob East and Tony Stewart asked me to drive his tribute car in this year’s Chili Bowl,” Kahne said.
Race fans will have an opportunity to win the car – not including the engine – that Kahne will drive in this year’s Chili Bowl by registering online http://www.starnetdp.com/Charlie-ChiliBowll/intro.html. Stewart drove the same car in the Chili Bowl in 2012 and 2013. A random drawing following the Chili Bowl will determine one winner who will become the new owner of the race car, built specifically for use indoors. No purchase or donation is necessary to enter.
Kahne and Stewart teamed up for this year’s event with the goal of raising money for the Charles Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust with a donation through the Tony Stewart Foundation to benefit the late racecar driver’s son.
“We came up in USAC together and we both drove the No. 9 Midget for Steve Lewis and Bob East during our careers,” Kahne said. “Jason was a great person and the support the racing community and fans have shown him and his son Charlie Dean is proof of the type of person he was. It means a lot to be able to sit behind the wheel of the No. 71 and show our support for Charlie. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event and the car giveaway and fundraising programs.”
“This program is a win-win for everyone,” Stewart said. “Not only will a lucky fan be able to win the car that both Kasey and I have driven in the Chili Bowl, but we’ll be able to honor our friend Jason and help support his son Charlie Dean in a very unique way. Jason was a great friend of mine and we both shared a love for open-wheel racing. I’m proud to have not only competed against Jason but to have had the opportunity to call him a friend. While I can’t be in the racecar myself for this year’s Chili Bowl, I’m really looking forward to seeing Kasey drive the No. 71 and to work with both him and Bob East again.”
The fundraising and car giveaway Website — http://www.starnetdp.com/Charlie-ChiliBowll/intro.html is currently accepting entries and donations, with the contest closing at 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 19. Donations to the Charles Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust will be accepted through Jan. 31.
The drawing from among all eligible entries received will be conducted randomly by StarNet Digital on Jan. 21. The winner will be announced pending notification.
The annual Chili Bowl takes place at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the Tulsa Expo Center. The fan-packed facility will witness Kahne and more than 200 drivers attempt to qualify for one of the coveted spots in the 50-lap A-Main finale Jan. 18. Each driver will participate in a qualifying program and accumulate points to determine the A-Main lineup.
Stewart is one of only five drivers to win the Chili Bowl more than once (2002 and 2007), and one of only 17 different drivers to win the Chili Bowl since its inaugural event in 1987. Kahne will look to score his first Chili Bowl victory and take home the coveted Golden Driller trophy.
To help raise awareness, fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #LEFturn71 when posting on Facebook or Twitter about the 2014 Chili Bowl.