Is The BC39 surpassing the Chili Bowl as the top Midget event

INDIANAPOLIS — The 4th annual Driven2SaveLives BC39 Presented by WeatherTech kicks off this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There’s an astounding 89 drivers on the entry-list for this year’s edition headlined by defending race winner as well as defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson.

The 89 cars here this week marks the 2nd highest we’ve ever seen on the .25 mile dirt track tucked snugly inside Turn 3 of the iconic cathedral of speed. The record was set in the inaugural season in 2018 with 110. We had 84 show up in 2019 and 71 last year. There wasn’t a 2020 race due to COVID.

In saying that, has the BC39 surpassed or is it surpassing the prestigious Chili Bowl? While the BC39’s massive entry-list pales in comparison to the hundreds that show up annually to Tulsa each January, there’s been some recent reports that the number this winter may drop however.

The speculation is that the purse is too low for such a big event and it’s no longer worthy of the top named drivers in the game to participate in it. This race though, well the purse is a nice feature, but the who’s who among race car drivers makes it one worth participating in.

There’s 18 different states (Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington & Wisconsin) and 3 different countries (USA, Australia and New Zealand) represented.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. told me this past weekend that the money to win is a plus, but the entry list is so stacked here from top to bottom that this makes it one the toughest events to win. Everybody’s good. That’s what adds to the prestige. Winning at Indy is one thing, winning the large purse is another, but to beat the talent in this field and be the only one kissing the wall of bricks on Thursday night is a career defining moment for the dirt track ranks.

Stenhouse Jr. joins Larson on the entry-list. He’ll drive the No. 08s for Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports. Larson is in the No. 86 for CB Industries. Joining the duo are some eye opening talent.

NASCAR drivers JJ Yeley (No. 0G Glenn Styres Racing), Chase Briscoe (No. 5 Chase Briscoe Racing), Ryan Newman (No. 39N Clauson Marshall Racing) and Sheldon Creed (No. 74 Abacus Racing). Dillon Welch (No. 71w Paul May Motorsports) is on it.

So is former INDYCAR driver Zach Veach (No. 21 Team Ripper).

You have 10-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz (No. 15 Mark Cooper).

Inaugural BC39 champion and 2-time defending USAC National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon (No. 21H TKH Motorsports) is back.

Triple crown champions Jerry Coons Jr. (No. 85 Central Motorsports) and Chris Windom (No. 89x CB Industries) are on it. 7 drivers have ever won a USAC triple crown and 3 of them are here with Yeley being the other.

Defending Midget champion and current points leader Buddy Kofoid (No. 67 Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports) is here. So is former Midget champion Tyler Courtney (No. 7BC Clauson Marshall Racing). Another recent Midget champion in Logan Seavey (No. 19 Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports) is back. These 3 plus Windom have combined to win the last 4 national Midget titles.

Dirt track aces like Justin Grant (No. 2 RMS Racing), Cannon McIntosh (No. 08 Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports), Kyle Cummins (No. 3 Glenn Styres Racing), Thomas Meseraull (No. 7x RMS Racing), Michael Pickens (No. 17 Shophouse Racing), CJ Leary (No. 25 Petry Motorsports), Mitchell Moles (No. 89 CB Industries) and Brenham Crouch (No. 97 Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports) are particpating.

There are 7 women among the 89 as well who are all more than capable of a win on Thursday night.

The BC39 kicks off Wednesday night for practice at 6 p.m. ET. Opening ceremonies will take place at 7 p.m. ET with heat races and the Stoops Pursuit race following.

Thursday is the big night with gates opening at 3 p.m. ET, practice starting at 5 p.m. ET, qualifying races at 6 p.m. ET, opening ceremonies for 7:30 p.m. ET then the main events which will conclude with a 39-lap main event feature to crown this year’s BC39 champ.

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