INDIANAPOLIS — The 37th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will take place next week at the indoor dirt track in Tulsa. As of now, 360 drivers will attempt to score the Golden Driller under the lights next Saturday night. However, among those 360 entries that will embark on the annual Oklahoma event, there’s far less NASCAR flavor among them.
Typically, Kyle Larson (13 appearances), Justin Allgaier (13 appearances), Christopher Bell (12 appearances) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12 appearances) have all taken part of this prestigious Midget race. This year, none of them will show up however.
Larson is taking some time off during this year’s offseason and happily welcomed a new baby to their family just this past week. Bell, despite this being his home race, elected to skip and has been vocal about the monetary discrepancies of racing in it anymore. Allgaier and Stenhouse were surprises not to be on it.
Chase Elliott showed up last year. So did Ryan Newman. Neither are back too.
This is the first time since 2010 that Bell hasn’t been here. Larson has been there very year since 2012 with 2011 being the only other time that he’s skipped this race since 2009. This is also the first time since 2015 that Stenhouse has skipped too.
Bell and Larson had combined to have won 5 of the last 6 years of this big race with their streak snapping last January to Tanner Thorson. Still, Bell had a nice streak going of 5 Top-2 finishes in his last 6 Chili Bowl tries including winning 7 straight Thursday night preliminary night events as well. He led the first 36 laps of last year’s race.
Larson has 3 Top-2 finishes in his last 4 tries including two wins in the last 3 at that. He won his preliminary night (Tuesday’s) in 4 of the last 5 years including 5 of the last 8 at that.
So, who is on the list?
The only full-time Cup Series drivers are Chase Briscoe and Alex Bowman. Part-timers Josh Bilicki and JJ Yeley are also on the list. That’s it.
NBC Sports announcer Dillon Welch will be there though. So will Dale Earnhardt Jr’s niece Karsyn Elledge. That’s really it in terms of NASCAR ties this year.
The lone NTT INDYCAR Series representative is Santino Ferrucci.
Both Briscoe and Bowman will race on Monday night’s preliminary night events. Bilicki is on Tuesday. Elledge will race on Wednesday. Yeley on Thursday and Ferrucci on Friday.
Neither Briscoe or Bowman has ever advanced to the 55-lap A-Main feature on Saturday night. Yeley has done it eight times but his last coming back in 2015.