2019 RC Chili Bowl – Report
The 2019 RC Chili Bowl was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma recently with the race being considered the largest RC dirt oval race in the world. The race, now in its eleventh year, was held at the Tulsa Oklahoma State Fairgrounds and it mirrors the full-size Chili Bowl Midget Nationals also happening at the State Fairgrounds and just like their larger counterparts; the RC version of the Chili Bowl rumbles and causing noise of its own. With eight classes that included Late Model, Masters Outlaw Sprint, Midwest Modified Outlaw Sprint, Short Course B Mod, Short Course Modified, Street Stock and Wingless Sprint to choose from, many racers ran multiple classes to bring this year’s entry count to a record 460. With master race promoter Scotty Ernst at the helm, the RC Chili Bowl aims to be and is one of the premier RC oval races anywhere in the world. This year, the Chili Bowl filled up in record time and entries had to be cut off 6 weeks early to avoid an overwhelming amount of entries. The week started with the finishing touches being put on the track and racer’s registration taking place.
The much anticipated main events kicked off with the Street Stock class. Executing a clean start, the group got off to a great start. TQ Cody Preston lead the charge with the rest of the field in tow. Not willing to let Prestin win that easily, Jason Gable and Dewayne Gann were there to challenge. With all three leading at one point, Cody Preston managed to regain the lead and take the over all win. Gable finished 2nd and Gann 3rd.
Like they say in the game of poker, all you need is a chip and a chair and you have a chance. Russ Lebo is proof of this. Starting with winning and bumping up in his lower mains, the Wingless Sprint Amain final was his chance for a podium spot. Luck was on Lebo’s side as a huge pile up happened at the beginning of the race. This was all the opening that Russ needed to eventually work his way to the lead and win. Brad Shearer finished 2nd with Ronnie Richardson rounding out the podium spots.
Next up were the ultra fast Midwest Modified cclass and there was more than a handful of people in this final that could take the over all win. Dustin Malicoat and Hunter La Flower turned out to be the hungriest ones in this class coming from mid pack and charging hard. Malicoat held the lead for the majority of the race with La Flower making a late race pass and would hold on to the lead for the win. Malicoat would end up finishing 3rd with Trent Jenkins slipping by for the 2nd podium spot.
The racers with more experience were up next in the Masters Outlaw Sprint class and they were ready to give the audience a show. Robin Mulvaney sat on the pole and let the field with a super clean start. The traffic in oval racing is unpredictable and Mulvaney new this staying out of trouble for most of the race. One racer that had luck on his side was Brian Smith also running a clean race and working his way up to the lead. The racing was close between Smith and Mulvaney finishing 1 and 2. The big surprise was Keith Steinle taking the final podium spot all the way back from the 8th qualifying position.
The fastest class with the most entries displayed what precision driving was all about Outlaw Sprint class, especially at blistering high speeds. This race would turn into the Nathan Dean and Chad Jones show as the two front runners were within seconds of each other throughout the whole race. Running clean lines, the two threaded the needle through traffic. With time running out, Dean would take the win with Jones finishing a second behind. Trent Jenkins would round out the top 3.
If you’re running tight lines in the Short Course B Mod class, it’s virtually impossible to make a pass. This was one of TQ’s Jeff Gawith’s strategies in this main as he made any challenger work for a pass. With several challenges from other racers, Gawith kept everyone at bay. Third qualifier Troy Alford managed to finish where he started on the grid with Gary Langworthy Jr. managing to slip by to take the over all 2nd.
The fast laps in the Short Course Modified Amain were almost identical across the board and this meant the racing was super close. Even with this fact in play, Mike Murphy Jr. managed to dominate this race taking charge from the start in the top spot and holding it until the end of the main. With the rest of the field hustling for position, Chad Jones would come from the fourth qualifying position to take the overall second spot with Hunter La Flower coming all the way back from the seventh qualifying position to round out the podium spots.
Mike Murphy Jr, yes the same who won the race before this race, was sitting in the TQ position in the Late Model race too. Desiring to make it a clean sweep, the strategy was the same; start in the front and stay in the front. With only a few laps in, a big pile up started to form right in front of Mike coming into turn 2 threatening to take out the leader. With only minimal impact, the rest of the field was off to the races pinning the throttle on full. Justin Driemeier would turn out to be the biggest threat to Murphy Jr as he would take over the lead lap 10 only lasting for a lap. Murphy Jr. quickly pulled a counter-pass and would hang on to the lead until the end.
Source: RC Chili Bowl [facebook.com]