Countdown to Chili Bowl has begun, record field of 335 ready to go


Most bowls of chili are sprinkled with perhaps cheese, onions, tomatoes, maybe even sour cream and jalapeno peppers.

But not racing’s version of the Chili Bowl. It’s hot, steamy and features a heaping amount of dirt, a recipe that seems to get more popular each year.

The countdown to the 30th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has begun. The unique indoor race takes place Jan. 12-16 at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The first four nights (Jan. 12-15) are qualifying heat races to pare the field for the Championship Feature Events on Saturday, Jan. 16.

The entry field currently stands at a massive record 335 entries, but the number of drivers could potentially still go even higher.


Among notables from the racing world that will be in attendance are five-time Chili Bowl winner Sammy Swindell, defending champion Rico Abreu, 2014 champ Bryan Clauson, IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher and 2015 National Midget Driver of the Year Tanner Thorson.

There will also be several drivers from the NASCAR world including Kyle Larson, J.J. Yeley, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman, Kasey Kahne and Christopher Bell.

Two-time Chili Bowl winner and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart is also expected to be in attendance, but is not expected to compete.

Here’s a list of the past champions that took the biggest bite out of the Chili Bowl over the years:

  • 2015 – Rico Abreu
  • 2014 – Bryan Clauson
  • 2013 – Kevin Swindell
  • 2012 – Kevin Swindell
  • 2011 – Kevin Swindell
  • 2010 – Kevin Swindell
  • 2009 – Sammy Swindell
  • 2008 – Damion Gardner
  • 2007 – Tony Stewart
  • 2006 – Tim McCreadie
  • 2005 – Tracy Hines
  • 2004 – Cory Kruseman
  • 2003 – Dan Boorse
  • 2002 – Tony Stewart
  • 2001 – Jay Drake
  • 2000 – Cory Kruseman
  • 1999 – Dan Boorse
  • 1998 – Sammy Swindell
  • 1997 – Billy Boat
  • 1996 – Sammy Swindell
  • 1995 – Donnie Beechler
  • 1994 – Andy Hillenburg
  • 1993 – Dave Blaney
  • 1992 – Sammy Swindell
  • 1991 – Lealand McSpadden
  • 1990 – John Heydenreich
  • 1989 – Sammy Swindell
  • 1988 – Scott Hatton
  • 1987 – Rich Vogler

Follow @JerryBonkowski

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.