What is the Chili Bowl Nationals?

What is the Chili Bowl Nationals?

Nicknamed the "Super Bowl" of midget racing, the Chili Bowl Nationals refers to an indoor midget car racing event. The midget cars are small, light, and have 4-cylinder engines. It takes place two weeks after Christmas on a 1/4 mile dirt track at the Tulsa's Expo Center.  The event was created in 1987 and is organized by Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards. It is a race that takes 5 nights.

A Little History

The race is actually known only as the Chili Bowl, as a winter answer to the football's Super Bowl. The very first event took place in 1987 and has run uninterrupted every year.  This race consisted of 52 midget cars in a 2-day event. 

The Chili Bowl is named that after a local company who sponsored this first event.  Ever since its creation, it has been hosted in Tulsa Oklahoma.  

The Event

Today, the event is officially known as the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Among midget racers, there are champions who make the competition reach a very high level.  Racers from all across America gather here to prove their skills on a pretty demanding dirt track.  

Probably the most important physical element of the race, besides the midget cars, is the clay that makes up the race track. Since this clay is not hit by the sun or harmed by the wind, it is highly saturated and becomes a true challenge to those champions who are up to it.

There are four qualifying nights and a final A-main event on Saturday.  One-fourth of the drivers compete every night in an attempt to qualify for the A-main.  Each one of the qualifiers consists of dash-type events, heat races, and a 5-lap feature.  Twenty-four finalists qualify for the A-main.

The racers come from a variety of contexts, including NASCAR racers, NHRA drag racers, and many USAC racers.  Drivers also come from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


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