CONCORD, N.C. – Dunlap Performance announced its lineup for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals on Thursday, featuring two veterans of the event who will team together for the first time.
Arizona’s Casey Shuman and Washington’s Gary Taylor will drive for the team led by World Racing Group Director of Broadcasting Brian Dunlap. Both drivers competed on the same preliminary night during this year’s Chili Bowl, racing on Warren CAT Qualifying Night.
Shuman returns to the Dunlap team after finishing fifth in the B main on his preliminary night and bowing out in the D mains during championship night, while Taylor was ninth in his preliminary A main and made it to the B main in the Saturday finale this year driving for Loyet Motorsports.
“I’m excited to be driving for Dunlap Performance again this year,” Shuman said on Twitter regarding his return to the team. “There is nobody else in that pit area that puts more time and effort into this race than these guys do and my hope is that we can improve on our results from last year as a team.”
Dunlap noted that the strong veteran presence that both drivers bring to the table have him excited for his team’s prospects inside the Tulsa Expo Center when January rolls around.
“Casey’s run the Chili Bowl for years now and he’s a fixture in that building,” said Dunlap. “He always runs really well there and he’s a great representative of racing in general, as well as the passion that the Chili Bowl evokes in so many people each year.
“As far as Gary joining the team, I couldn’t be happier to have him onboard and welcome him to our group,” Dunlap continued. “His situation with the ride that he had been running changed for this year, and when I heard he was available, we talked and I realized he would be a good fit for us. Much like Casey and I have been together for several years now in select situations, I could see the same thing with Gary to where we can continue and work on building a program from year to year.”
Dunlap, whose role at the World Racing Group keeps him from fielding race cars during the summer months, always appreciates the chance to return to the Chili Bowl as a car owner with his family team.
“The timing of the Chili Bowl fits really well into the work schedule of my day job, obviously, and it’s also a good chance to interact and work with everyone outside of that, but still within the realm of dirt-track racing,” Dunlap explained. “The other part of this is that my dad keeps all the cars at our shop in Colorado, and he’s pretty much retired now to the point where he works on the cars each day.
“Midget racing is something that he and I can do together, with him in Colorado and me in North Carolina, and it’s something that we talk daily about and what we’re each working on. That’s probably the driving factor behind our midget racing, is the family aspect of it that we can share.”
Because of Dunlap’s hectic calendar, the Dunlap Performance team doesn’t run the number of races that teams like Clauson-Marshall Racing or Keith Kunz Motorsports do, but Dunlap tries not to let that bother him.
Instead, he focuses on getting as much out of his own cars as he can and running with the giants of the sport whenever possible.
“The biggest challenge we face is that we don’t run 40 shows outdoors during the summer,” Dunlap noted. “We’ll run a handful of shows during the outdoor season on a good year, but you’re going up against teams that bring many cars and could run up to 60 shows a year before they ever get to Chili Bowl.
“That’s always tough, but it’s very rewarding when you can run right alongside those teams and cars and it’s something I believe both of our drivers can do in a couple of months when we get to Tulsa.”