TULSA, Okla. – Tucker Klaasmeyer will return to Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports for the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, Jan. 13-18 inside the River Spirit Expo Center.
Klaasmeyer, who has spent the past two seasons full-time with KKM between the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League and NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series, will look to deliver the team’s sixth straight Chili Bowl victory during the crown-jewel event in Tulsa, Okla.
While he’s been learning the ropes the past couple of years, Klaasmeyer will now be one of the senior drivers in the KKM Chili Bowl stable, with the recent departures of Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson and Logan Seavey.
“I think there’s a lot of ways you could look at it this, but I think the best way you can look at it as motivation,” said Klaasmeyer of being back with KKM. “I’m sure everyone’s going to be fired up and those guys that aren’t running (with Keith Kunz), they’re going to be fired up too.
“I think that it says a lot that year after year, you know what you’ve got when you get there when it comes to Keith … and that’s a big part of why I re-signed with them for this year’s Chili Bowl.”
Klaasmeyer was quick to note that despite a 2019 season that didn’t go quite as he’d planned, with a ninth-place finish in the USAC National Midget Series standings, there was no place else he wanted to be for the biggest event in midget-car racing.
“I think their record speaks for itself, you know? They’re good everywhere, but especially at the Chili Bowl,” noted Klaasmeyer. “There are always a lot of good cars there, but I don’t think anyone’s better than Keith and I do think that it’s probably my best shot to win the Chili Bowl. There’s new people with good stuff, and everyone’s midget stuff seems to be getting pretty good, but there’s just something about Keith’s cars in that building that makes them, I feel, a cut above the rest.
“They’re good in there, or I guess great would probably be a better word, and at the end of the day I wanted to stick with them if there was a way to make it happen. Luckily we got this deal put together.”
With two years on the road under his belt, Klaasmeyer feels he has learned a host of tools, skills and driving nuances from his time at KKM and grown in many ways, enough so that the Paola, Kans., native feels he can contend for his maiden Chili Bowl triumph during the Saturday finale next month.
“I’ve learned a lot about racing, but learned just as much not about racing with those guys, and I’m lucky enough to call them all really good friends,” Klaasmeyer said. “I spend a lot of time with those guys and I have learned that Keith’s equipment, night in and night out, is going to be the best he can give you. That’s the most important thing going into the Chili Bowl, is just knowing that your car is going to be good.
“With this deal, it’s in my hands basically, and I’m ready to go for it this year,” he added. “I just think it’s the best scenario for me, and if I don’t run a lot more midget races, I want to make sure that I’m in a good car and have a good shot at Chili Bowl.”
Toyota Racing Development has won five consecutive Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features. Thanks to Mobil 1, SPEED SPORT is providing exclusive coverage of the multi-car organization, led by three-time winner and current champ Christopher Bell and two-time Chili Bowl winner Rico Abreu, and other Toyota-equipped organizations and drivers as they prepare for and compete in the Chili Bowl. The Mobil 1 Road To The Driller program is in addition to SPEED SPORT and Sprint Car & Midget’s traditional “Live from the Chili Bowl presented by MyRacePass” coverage that surrounds the event.
The Chili Bowl will be shown live online on www.racinboys.com. The online PPV experience will run from Monday through Saturday’s qualifiers. At the time of opening ceremonies (6 p.m. local time) on Saturday, Racinboys PPV coverage will cease as the final features will be shown live on MAVTV (more information here).