TULSA, Okla. — From every corner of the racing world, the names are pouring onto the entry list for the 29th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire.
With construction of the Tulsa Expo Raceway underway inside the River Spirit Expo Center, entries are creeping near the 250 mark with 236 entered prior to the Dec. 17 discounted entry deadline.
Included in the latest wave of entries is the name that’s haunted the dreams of Golden Driller hopefuls over the last five years.
Bringing their usual Spike / Esslinger package to Tulsa, Sammy and Kevin Swindell will go for the families combined tenth Golden Driller in Chili Bowl competition. Combined for 25 Chili Bowl “A” Feature starts, Sammy is the only driver entered so far to have competed in 1987’s inaugural event, placing sixth. Rich Vogler was the winner of the 40-lap affair after starting 13th. Sammy’s first Chili Bowl triumph came in 1989.
The reigning four-time champion, Kevin Swindell has appeared in five Chili Bowl “A” Features. The first to even win back-to-back, Swindell’s drive to victory in 2013 recorded what some have called the greatest laps ever turned at the Chili Bowl. Going blow-for-blow with father Sammy, and racing rival Kyle Larson, a miscue on the part of Larson saw the California driver’s night end on lap 35 to a jubilant standing ovation.
Three-time Chili Bowl “A” Feature starter, two-time NASCAR Nationwide Champion, and 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in NASCAR Sprint Cup, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has also turned his entry into the Chili Bowl office. Stenhouse will try his hand at mastering the Chili Bowl clay in the Clauson/Curb-Agajanian backed No. 6.
The Clauson/Curb-Agajanian name will field a total of four entries with Joey Saldana, Dillon Welch and Payton Pierce all vying for their first “A” Feature start.
Owner champion in 2005 with Tracy Hines at the wheel, the formidable Wilke-Pak entries will number three with Jerry Coons Jr. leading the charge with Chase Stockton and Tyler Courtney joining the lineup.
2013 prelim night winner Chad Boat will again pilot the John Lawson No. 15x. Looking for the success of his father, Billy Boat, who took the Lawson entry to victory in 1997.
Bernie Stuebgen, the man behind Indy Race Parts, will field five entries in the coming Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Among the latest to fill a Stuebgen entry is Kokomo, Ind., shoe, Shane Cottle. Among Stuebgen’s list of drivers also includes Chili Bowl rookies Domain Ramsay of Australia and Brandon Matus. The “wild ones,” Sheldon and Jac Haudenschild, complete the list of Indy Race Parts competitors.
The complete list of entries for the 2014 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire can be found at http://www.chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx