The 2022 Chili Bowl lineup boasts more than 360 entries including at least a dozen drivers with current or former attachments to IndyCar and NASCAR. In 2021, the car count was near 300 entries despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven former champions and 80 rookies contribute to the lineup.
The last seven editions of this race have been won by drivers who currently or formerly drove in one of NASCAR’s top-three divisions, including the reigning 2021 Cup champion.
Rico Abreu, who ran full-time in Camping World Truck Series won the event in 2015/2016, Christopher Bell three consecutive races from 2017 through 2019, while Kyle Larson is the two-time defending champion of the event.
For Larson, last year’s Chili Bowl win kicked off an incredible season that produced 10 Cup victories, and All-Star win and the Cup championship, his first wins in the prestigious Knoxville Nationals and the Bryan Clauson Memorial 39, his second Kings Royal win and three Dirt Late Model wins as well as victories in the All Star Circuit of Champions, Pennsylvania and Ohio Speedweeks, IRA Sprint cars and USAC Midgets.
— Chili Bowl Nationals (@cbnationals) December 17, 2021
Larson will be challenged in 2022 by both Bell and Abreu. Last year Bell advanced to the A-Main and finished 14th. Abreu also advanced and finished 16th.
They will be joined by IndyCar drivers Conor Daly and Santino Ferruci.
Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Kasey Kahne and JJ Yeley are other notable drivers with NASCAR connections who will attempt to work their way up the ladder to compete in the A Main.
With such a full entry list of current NASCAR drivers, the event has chosen to move the Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions (VIROC) to Monday to create one additional day of racing on January 10 so that it does not interfere with at Daytona International Speedway.
“With NASCAR doing testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, that takes our reigning champion (Larson) out the VIROC, along with our VIROC winner, Christopher Bell, and several others, so we’ll just move it back to the opening night that way everyone can still race that is eligible, and the fans still get to see their favorite drivers,” said Chili Bowl co-founder, Emmett Hahn in a release.
The 2022 Chili Bowl lineup continues to grow. Xfinity driver Jesse Little was one of 20 drivers added to the roster as recently as Thursday, December 16.
Well I’m not just gonna step out of the comfort zone I’m going to broad jump out of it..
Any & every piece of advice is greatly appreciated😂 let’s go have some fun!! pic.twitter.com/wDDZAQnyBp
— Jesse Little (@jesselittle97) December 17, 2021