Sarah Fisher is hungry for some chili. But instead of cheese or onions, she’ll take her chili with a heaping side of dirt – as in the 2016 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget National, which takes place this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Fisher began practicing on the dirt track Monday at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the River Spirit Expo Center. The five-day event begins Tuesday with qualifying and several heat races, which continues through Friday. Saturday is the final championship round, with 24 drivers competing in the A/Feature.
Fisher and Kyle O’Gara are competing on the same team, SFH Racing Development, for the second consecutive year.
Fisher and O’Gara are part of a Chili Bowl record 335-driver field, with drivers from 24 states and five countries. There are also eight previous Chili Bowl winners, including last year’s champ, aspiring NASCAR driver Rico Abreu.
Fisher’s first start in the Chili Bowl last year was her first race of any type since competing in the 2010 IndyCar season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Last year I was able to cross the Chili Bowl off my bucket list,” Fisher said in a media release. “But the electric atmosphere and high levels of competition that it brings wasn’t something I could pass up this year.
“Last year was my first experience with midgets on dirt, and it was a challenge. I’m really looking forward to this challenge again.”
Fisher will drive car No. 67SF, while O’Gara will pilot the No. 27R. O’Gara will qualify Wednesday, while Fisher will qualify Thursday.
O’Gara, Fisher’s brother-in-law, is making his fourth try in the Chili Bowl and is coming off an outstanding season in the USSA MKMS Midget Series, winning 12 of 19 races and the championship.
“The Chili Bowl is an event I look forward to every year,” O’Gara said. “I’ve been competing for four years, but every year the level of competition raises.
“It’s such a fun event to attend, let alone to compete in. I’ve had a great year racing midgets and I hope to continue that this week with SFH Racing Development.”
Added Fisher, “Andy (O’Gara, Fisher’s husband) and I really enjoy working with Kyle on his short-track efforts through SFH Racing Development, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for him and I to both compete at the Chili Bowl again this year.”
For more information or to keep track of how drivers are doing throughout the week, go to www.chilibowl.com. Also, Fisher and O’Gara will be active on Twitter (@SarahFisher, @Kyleogara) and Instagram (@SarahFisher67, @KyleOgara27) throughout the week.