"When more than 10,000 spectators walk out the door on the fourth and final night, they are so amazed at what they have seen that they cannot wait to return." That's just one of the curious things I learned on the 23rd Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Web site, the clearinghouse for the event that opens today at The QuikTrip Center in Expo Square.
Before we go any further, it's time for one of my infamous confessions. Until last year, I had no idea what the heck this event was all about. No one ever said, "It's like go-cart racing - the dudes from my old unit have to go every year," as my husband so eloquently and finally explained. See, I get that.
"...these Nationals are known simply as the Chili Bowl: racing's winter answer to football's Super Bowl."
"The Chili Bowl's key ingredient is the clay which once covered the adjacent fairgrounds. Without sun or wind to harm it, the indoor garden (roughly a quarter-mile circle) is heavily saturated so that the boldest dirt track artists of our time can truly shine."
"...thousands and thousands of methanol-starved fans are ready to call Tulsa, and the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway in particular, home for a few days."
All of that, not so much. Not that I don't trust that this event is a complete blow-out, even though I am totally out of touch when it comes to racing and, well, sports in general (sorry). After all, how could an armory-full of methanol-starved infantry guys be wrong?
I have to admit, I'd get pretty riled up seeing 293 Sprint Cars, Midgets, Late Models, Modifieds and Drag Racers racing each other on a quarter-mile clay track at the same time.
They do all race at the same time, right, guys? I mean, right?
Qualifying races start this evening at 7:20 p.m. with the Chili Bowl Race of Champions at 9:30. It all ends Saturday, Jan. 17, with the Chili Bowl Championship feature events. The event also includes a 20,000-square-foot trade show, which is open each day free of charge. Check the Chili Bowl Web site for times.
Be sure to check in at chilibowl.com as the week progresses for nightly race results. Also be sure to take pity on me and my heretofore methanol-free existence.