ARDC DRIVERS on the ROAD WEST
30th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Qualifying Begins on Tuesday
The 30th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl takes to the track this week in Tulsa, OK and several area drivers will be among the more than three hundred competitors who are looking to be part of the elite field on Saturday night.
Following a day of practice on Monday, competitors will begin four nights of qualifying on Tuesday.
Tyler Brehm, Alex Bright and Nick Wean - who have all competed in previous Chili Bowl events - will be joined by driver, Troy Betts who will be making his first attempt at the Chili Bowl on Tuesday night.
Of the four drivers, Bright is the only driver to have competed in a Saturday night A Main, finishing fourth in 2014. Bright returns to Chili Bowl action this year with the Lightcap Electric No. 77, owned by his grandfather, Joe Hemler. Bright raced to a 12th place finish on his qualifying night last year and as far as the C Main on Saturday.
Both Bright and Wean were heat winners on their qualifying nights last year. Wean will be behind the wheel of his family owned No. 78 again this year. He got trapped in the pits after an early race incident and was unable to complete the A Main on his qualifying night last year. Wean's 2015 Chili Bowl went as far as the D Main on Saturday.
This will be Tyler Brehm's third Chili Bowl event, behind the wheel of a second Steve Buckwalter entry. Brehm has been very competitive in his past attempts and came close to qualifying for the A Main on his qualifying night last year. He raced in the E Main on Saturday and hopes to improve on that performance this year.
Troy Betts has attended past Chili Bowl events with his friend, Shawn Jackson. Betts will make his first Chili Bowl start this year after competing with both URC sprints and ARDC midgets this past season.
Shawn Jackson will wheel the Betts Garage sponsored No. 7 on Wednesday and hopes to find some Chili Bowl luck this year. Jackson was in qualifying position when he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time last year.
Steve Buckwalter has raced his way into the big event on five occasions and hopes to make it number 6 this year. Buckwalter's best performances include a third place finish in his qualifying night A Main and a 9th place finish in the Saturday night main event in 2009. Buckwalter also found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time last year after winning yet another qualifying heat race.
Brenden Bright is the third competitor who will attempt to qualify on Wednesday night. Bright was a heat winner last year and rallied to an 11th place finish on his qualifying night after racing his way from the back of the pack. On Saturday, Bright led the first half of the C Main before engine failure erased his chances for a Chili Bowl start.
Danny Stratton will wheel one of Andy Bondio's No. 47 on Thursday night. Stratton finished sixth on his qualifying night last year and hopes to improve this time around. Stratton joins team mate, Tim McCreadie in the Bondio camp.
Stratton has made the Chili Bowl main event on four occasions. A fourth place finish in 2012 is his best Chili Bowl finish to date.
Larry Wight will make his Chili Bowl debut in one the two Mike Heffner entries on Wednesday night. Wight, a young hot shoe in the Modified Stock ranks in upstate New York will make his first midget start in Tulsa.
A second Heffner entry will feature Oklahoma native, Tanner Berryhill. Berryhill has an extensive racing background and was names as the 2009 Chili Bowl Rookie of the Year. Berryhill's qualifying night is Thursday.
2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz returns to Chili Bowl action this year with his R/T Racing No. 14. Kobylarz is looking to improve on his best performance to date - racing in the B Main on Saturday after a top five run on his qualifying night in 2013.
Kobylarz will take to the track on Friday night for his qualifying attempt.
The pressure is on for each qualifying day. Every competitor wants to make his best effort to insure his best possible position when the Alphabet Soup gets underway for final qualifying on Saturday.
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STEVE DREVICK CAPTURES BACK-TO-BACK ARDC CROWNS
ARDC Looks Ahead to 2016 Season
Mother Nature may have put the period on the 2015 season for the competitors of the American Racing Drivers Club but not before Steve Drevicki and his DeGre Engineering Race Team captured back-to-back championships in both Driver and Owners points.
Drevicki becomes the first driver since Andy Martin to capture back-to-back titles. Martin was the ARDC Champion in '06 & '07.
Trailing Drevicki for the 2015 title was 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and car owners, R/T Racing's, Dyke and Carey Becker. Ryan Greth, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. and Brett Arndt rounded out the top five in driver points. With three different drivers capturing wins in Mike Heffner's Leland.com No. 27, Heffner finished third in owner points followed by Wayne Lesher and Bruce Buckwalter, Sr. PJ Gargiulo, Brett Wanner, Jim Radney, Shawn Jackson and Nick Wean finished sixth through tenth in driver points while car owners Scott Arndt, JHG Racing, Marilyn Wanner, Jim Radney and Bill Jackson captured the comparable positions in the owner's competition.
Ryan Greth and Tim Buckwalter led all ARDC competitors with three wins each while Steve Buckwalter and Brenden Bright each captured a pair of feature victories. Danny Stratton, Brett Wanner, PJ Gargiulo, Jim Radney, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. and Drevicki picked up single wins during the season.
While it is still early for many tracks to be announcing dates for next season, ARDC is well on their way to completing their plans for the new year.
The 2016 season will open at the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (LANCO) on Saturday April 2nd. ARDC will spend the Fourth of July weekend at Linda's Speedway on Friday and then return to LANCO on Saturday, July 1st and 2nd. ARDC will join USAC's Eastern Storm on June 12th at the Susquehanna Speedway Park.
Plans are also under way for the return of the USAC Midgets for another round of co-sanctioned events with ARDC. Rico Abreu captured the wins and the hearts of the fans in the East when he made his first visit to Path Valley and Lincoln Speedways.
ARDC will host its annual meeting on Sunday, November 8th at the Topton Legion at 10:30am. All interested parties are welcome.
2016 ARDC SCHEDULE
25 – Linda’s Open Practice
2 – LANCO (Season Opener)
16 – Susquehanna Speedway
22 – Linda’s Speedway
30 – Susquehanna Speedway
6 – Linda’s speedway
13 – Big Diamond Speedway
21 – Susquehanna Speedway
May 31 – June 5 USAC Midget Week (no races)
10 – Willamsgrove Speedway (with USAC Silver Crown)
12 – Susquehanna Speedway (with USAC Eastern Storm)
1 – Linda’s Speedway
2 – LANCO
29 – Big Diamond Raceway
30-31 – Susquehanna Speedway (York County Nationals)
14 – * Susquehanna Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
15 – * Path Valley Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
16 – * TBA – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
17 – * Lincoln Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
19 – Linda’s Speedway – ARDC midget week finale
27 – Susquehanna Speedway
9 – Linda’s Speedway
17– Susquehanna Speedway
24 – No Racing USAC 4 Crown
30 – Linda’s Speedway
*Co-Sanction with USAC