TULSA, Okla. – Good news for Oklahoma race fans was confirmed on Wednesday evening: the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Announced on the lower level of the River Spirit Expo Center, where the premier midget-car race is annually held, the Chili Bowl will remain at the quarter-mile Tulsa Expo Raceway through 2034.
The agreement marks an 11-year extension on top of the current deal, which ran for another four years.
“What a great day for the city of Tulsa and for our state,” said Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell. “The Chili Bowl has evolved into one of the country’s biggest auto races, as well as the biggest indoor event in the country. It marks economic development, through and through, for our region. This extension is not just good for our city and state, but for racing fans across the globe, as we solidify this event for decades to come.
“The Chili Bowl illustrates partnerships, improves tourism and aids in quality of life in Oklahoma, and we’re excited to make this announcement official.”
Chili Bowl co-founder Emmett Hahn called Wednesday’s press conference “a landmark moment” for the event that he and Lanny Edwards started in 1987.
“First and foremost, I wish my business partner (Edwards) was here,” noted Hahn. “He would be so proud of this moment. … We’ve had the who’s who in racing and plenty of local talent come to the Chili Bowl for years, and we’ve had a lot of great people backing this event for a long time. It’s an honor to be here and an honor to keep the Chili Bowl at home here in Oklahoma.
“This deal is a win-win, both for the city and county and for old Emmett Hahn.”
Oklahoma native Holley Hollan, who raced in her second Chili Bowl this past January and first with the powerhouse Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports organization, was among the other notable names in attendance for Wednesday’s announcement.
“It’s amazing to see Emmett and the Hahn family getting the recognition they deserve,” said Hollan. “They’ve worked countless hours to give drivers like myself an opportunity to race on the biggest stage in dirt racing. I couldn’t have imagined it when I was five years old and it’s incredible to think where it will be 15 years from now. I look forward to being here to support this event for years to come.”
Christopher Bell won this year’s Chili Bowl, his third-straight victory in the crown jewel event.