Keith Kunz Motorsports developing a strong 2023 Chili Bowl run

Keith Kunz Chili Bowl
Keith_Kunz_Motorsports Instagram

TULSA, Oklahoma – With more than a dozen cars entered in the 2023 Chili Bowl at SageNet Center, Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) is hard to miss.

Even without the sheer numbers, KKM’s presence at the Chili Bowl is renowned. In 2017, Christopher Bell won his first of three consecutive Chili Bowl’s with KKM. That was the sixth win for the organization in the winter classic. Andy Hillenburg won their first in 1994. Bell’s streak, and with it KKM’s, ended last year when he was edged out by Tanner Thorson. They didn’t miss by much, however; Bell finished second.

Keith Kunz Chili Bowl
With 15 entries, Keith Kunz Motorsports is hard to miss in the Chili Bowl pits. – Dan Beaver

Bell, along with Kyle Larson, is missing this year in part because of a disagreement about the size of the Chili Bowl purse. But therein lies one of the biggest strengths of this team. KKM had no problem finding a replacement to fill his roster.

In 2023, KKM features some of the biggest names in midget racing and a lot of up-and-coming talent.

“We seem to have the ability to see somebody out there,” team owner Keith Kunz told NBC Sports. “We don’t look from just in our sport; we look outside to other divisions.

“We watch these kids that run sprint cars and such. [We look for] somebody that’s carrying the car. … able to adapt when you get to the racetrack.”

The Chili Bowl is run over the course of six days with a full schedule of action each day. Saturday’s 55-lap feature is seeded by results in the preliminary nights, filling the field at 24 cars. KKM has 15 cars in the pits this year, so it would take extraordinary circumstances to get every driver into Saturday’s A-Main.

“The most pressure is on the prelim nights; getting yourself either locked in, or if not locked in, getting yourself in position for a good spot on Saturday to get transferred in,” Kunz told NBC Sports prior to the alphabet soup that characterizes more than 13 hours of racing on the final day of the six-day show. “You need to finish – really need to finish – to either lock into the A or get locked into a B Main to have a shot.”

Finishing sixth in Monday’s Qualification Night Feature, Gavan Boschele missed advancing directly into Saturday’s 55-lap A-Main. The next night, Kaylee Bryson finished sixth in Tuesday’s feature. But the tone of the week changed dramatically Wednesday as Rico Abreu won a record-tying eighth preliminary night win to guarantee the team will be represented in Saturday’s big show.

KKM locked only one driver in Saturday’s A-Main during qualification nights, but they are well positioned to advance more drivers into the big show. The runs by Bryson (starting eighth in one of two B-Mains) and Boschele (ninth) were strong enough to lock into a last chance race. They are joined by Tanner Carrick (seventh), Ryan Timms (12th), Taylor Reimer (13th) and Kyle Spence (14th). Two other drivers will start in one of the C-Mains, with five attempting to advance from the D and one from the F.

Family is what you make it

Getting this many drivers well-positioned to make the A-Main is not an accident.

The team has created and nurtured an environment that attracts both established drivers and Young Guns. They were instrumental in developing drivers like Bell and Larson. more recently, Michael “Buddy” Kofoid and last year’s Chili Bowl winner Thorson, who raced fulltime with KKM from 2015 through 2017 and continued to have a strong enough relationship to make guest appearances when his schedule permitted.

KKM is the primary team for this rung of Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) ladder system.  It was success in races like the Chili Bowl was instrumental in getting Larson and Bell rides at NASCAR’s highest level and that continues to be a focus of both organizations. Since the beginning of their partnership, KKM has won 269 midget races the beginning of the partnership in 2010. Bryan Clauson won their first race that year with Larson providing many of the victories the following season.

“[The young drivers get] experience,” Kunz said. “Fortunately, with our team, being a high-profile team, we get a lot of eyes on us, whether from manufacturers like Toyota TRD, all the NASCAR drivers have seen where Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kane, all these guys came from this sport. It is so many people that have come from here that are through to another thing.

“They depend on our experience. When we go to the track, we talk them. We watch films from previous races; tell them what has changed, help them realize things when we rewatch their races so they know how to make moves when they get out there.”

Veterans know their reputation will not suffer from inferior equipment. That keeps drivers like Rico Abreu and Bell returning.

“Other people recognize where we are on motorsports. We’re also a safe place for someone like Rico or Christopher to come to and know that they’re going to be able to run well.

“They’re able to step right in here and get up to speed a lot quicker than if they are running their own car,” Kunz continued. “It might take them a couple years where we’re used to going and traveling all over the country and racing light that night.”

Families are large. Sometimes the kids move away and that fits into the philosophy of the team as well.

“We’re kind of like college for these kids. They come here to develop a certain set of skills.

“We’ve been very fortunate that some of the drivers we brought on makes us proud. When someone like Buddy [Kofoid] this year is going be moving on and doing more, we did our job. And that’s one reason they come.”

The 2022 season was a breakout year for Kofoid. He won some of the biggest midget races with the BC39 Driven to Save Lives, in honor of Clauson, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway dirt track and a Hangtown 100 victory. That success has helped pave the way to the next step on the ladder and Kofoid is already experience success in sprint cars. He won the inaugural High Limit Sprint Car Series race at Putnamville, Indiana’s Lincoln Park Speedway in August. He made 13 starts in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2022 and won his first race there in his fifth start.

Cannon McIntosh took his success home to the family team this year, and immediately found success with a win in Monday night’s qualification feature.

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


Inside Team Penske’s bid win another Indy 500 for “The Captain”

Annual photo shows women having an impact on Indy 500 results

Roger Penske feeling hale at another Indy 500 as Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner

Honda needed 45 seconds to approve Graham Rahal racing a Chevy at Indy

A.J. Foyt takes refuge at Indy 500 while weathering grief of wife’s death

Gordon Johncock: The most unassuming Indy 500 legend

Alex Palou on his Indy 500 pole, multitasking at 224 mph and a Chip Ganassi surprise

Marcus Ericsson, engineer Brad Goldberg have ties that run very deep

New competition elements for 2023 include an alternate oval tire

Indy 500 will be Tony Kanaan’s final race

IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host a race

IndyCar team owners weigh in on marketing plans, double points

Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

Helio Castroneves says 2023 season is “huge” for IndyCar future

How Sting Ray Robb got that name

Kyle Larson having impact on future McLaren teammates

Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule