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Lonnie Wheatley – TULSA, Okla.
(January 11, 2003) – Staying in the hunt throughout Saturday night’s 50-lap
17th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals main event at Tulsa Expo Raceway,
Wisconsin’s Dan Boorse took advantage of Cory Kruseman’s ill fate to move into
third on a lap 46 restart, then rode the cushion around Tony Stewart for second
and then Jay Drake on the final round to claim his second Chili Bowl Nationals
championship before a record crowd of 14,630.
“Anytime you can win on the last lap in a race like this, it’s special,” stated Boorse in the post-race press conference. “There’s nowhere else you can go and have over 200 cars and still have a track in this great of shape. We didn’t really feel like we could catch Kruseman, so we just tried to hang in there and things worked out in the end."
“Dan said to me ‘You don’t ever run the low line’,” stated a dejected Drake. “I told him that I usually don’t, because when I do something like this happens. Two hundred guys here would be thrilled to run second in the Chili Bowl Nationals, and I’ll probably feel good about it in a couple of days, but right now to give it up on the last lap is just awful, it’s the worst feeling you could ever have.”
Boorse, who won Wednesday night’s Bud Shootout Qualifier, led the 24-car field to the green flag with Friday’s Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown winner Kruseman alongside. The first two attempts to start the race were waved off, first for Randy Koch’s turn one flip, then for Drake, who came to a halt in turn two after tangling with another machine. Boorse got the jump on the next start and led the way into turn one, with Kruseman, Stewart, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Thursday Night Thunder at the Bowl winner Scott Hatton and Jason Meyers in pursuit.
Boorse paced the opening five rounds, with Kruseman applying heavy pressure to the leader. Kruseman’s challenges paid off on the sixth round as he dove underneath Boorse entering turn three to take command. Kruseman gradually established a lead as Boorse held second over Hatton and Stewart.
Meanwhile, Sammy Swindell was turning in the most improbable of performances. After a disastrous qualifying night, Swindell began Saturday’s action inside the fourth row of the first E Feature. Swindell navigated his way through the alphabet soup of features, ultimately earning the 17th starting position for the A Feature by virtue of his third place effort in the first B Feature.
Having already passed 46 cars en route to the main event, Swindell continued his march to the front, moving all the way up to fourth, in front of Stewart, by the 15th round when the caution flew for Jeff Flesher’s disabled mount in turn four.
Swindell quickly disposed of second and third place runners Boorse and Hatton on the ensuing restart and began reeling in Kruseman. Swindell was nipping at Kruseman’s heels when his hopes for an unprecedented fifth Chili Bowl title went up in smoke on the 24th round as his motor expired, bringing out the caution. As Swindell was pushed to the pit area, the standing room only crowd gave him a resounding ovation in appreciation of his stellar effort.
As Kruseman resumed his quick pace, enter USAC Midget champion Dave Darland into the mix. After finishing second in the first B Main, Darland methodically picked his way through traffic from his 15th starting position, having moved into fourth by the time the caution for Swindell’s misfortune flew.
Darland needed less than two laps to move around Boorse and Hatton for second, setting his sights on the fleet Kruseman. Darland’s strong drive to the front would end prematurely as well though, as he exited to the infield on the 35th round with left rear suspension problems.
As if all this action weren’t enough to thrill the massive crowd, Drake was recovering from his opening lap mishap quite well. After restarting at the tail of the field, Drake worked his way through the competition masterfully, breaking into the top five by the 30th round. After Darland’s departure, Drake had worked his way up to third when the caution flew after 37 circuits for Luke Icke’s stalled mount in turn three.
The caution flew again one round later when Dallen McKenney, who flipped after taking the checkered flag in the sixth and final transfer spot in the second B Main, took another tumble down the backstretch.
With Kruseman still leading the way, Drake used the low line to get around Boorse for second on the 39th round. Drake pressured the rim-riding Kruseman for a couple of laps before Kruseman began to gradually slip away from Drake, Boorse, Stewart and Hatton.
The final caution, which proved to be Kruseman’s undoing, flew with five rounds remaining when Greg Lueckert’s Chili Bowl run came to an end while holding down a top ten position. Lady Luck frowned on Kruseman at this point, as a dead battery sent Kruseman to the pit area, dousing “The Kruser’s” victory hopes and handing the lead to Drake.
Set for a five-lap dash to the checkered flag, Drake stuck to the low groove, leading a resurgent Stewart and Boorse. Boorse elbowed up on the cushion, making his way past Stewart with two laps to go and setting his sights on Drake.
While it appeared that Drake held enough advantage over Boorse to notch his second Chili Bowl triumph, Boorse had other ideas as he hammered the cushion on the well-prepped quarter-mile oval. Drake held the lead as the white flag flew, but Boorse rode the rim through turns one and two and overtook Drake as the pair charged down the backstretch on the checkered flag lap.
Boorse rode the final two corners to perfection to snatch a car-length victory in the Weiland Race Enterprise Gaerte Ford-powered Stealth. Drake settled for a second place finish aboard the Stewart-Kunz Motorsports Mopar-powered machine, with Stewart finishing a close third. National Midget Driver of the Year for 2002, Aaron Fike, made a late charge to claim fourth, with Hatton rounding out the top five.
Meyers was the top finishing Chili Bowl rookie as he crossed the stripe sixth, in front of fellow race rookie Don Droud, Jr. Matt Westfall, Mike Hess and Damion Gardner completed the top ten.
After losing a motor in Thursday’s heat race action, J.J. Yeley provided the day’s early excitement as he charged from the back of the first H Feature to claim the win. Yeley kept the crowd on its feet early as he then advanced through the G, F, and E Features in dramatic fashion, before falling two spots short of a transfer position in the first D Feature.
Drake and Robby Flock topped the B Features, with Wally Pankratz and Tim Shaffer claiming C Feature victories. Tony Elliot and Bobby Boone won the D Mains, while Swindell and Brandon Waelti aced the E Features. Michael Lewis and Shane Cottle were victorious in F Feature action, while Toby Brown and Dick Kaiser claimed the G Features. Yeley and Josh Wise kicked off the day of racing action for the 203 total Chili Bowl Nationals entries by winning the H Features.
Three-time American Sprint Car Series champion Tim Crawley bolted from his third starting position into the lead on the opening round of the First Annual Cherokee Casino Ford Focus Midget Race of Champions presented by Ford of Tulsa. Crawley led wire-to-wire to record the victory over some of the nation’s top championship drivers from various forms of racing, collecting $5,000 for his charity sponsor, the Special Olympics of Oklahoma.
Crawley was chased to the line in the Race of Champions by Dave Darland, Ford Focus midget representative Josh Lakatos, Brett Hearn and Danny Lasoski. Yeley was sixth, in front of Stewart and Scott Bloomquist. After an opening lap tumble in the 15-lap charity event, Gary Scelzi flipped wildly across the finish line to finish ninth, with fellow NHRA drag racer Ron Capps in tenth.
17th Annual Chili Bowl Midget
Nationals Results: A Main (50 laps)
A main: 1. #88 Dan Boorse, Milwaukee, WI; 2. #71Jay Drake, Val Verde, CA; 3. #71s Tony Stewart, Rushville, IN; 4. #95f Aaron Fike, Galesburg, IL; 5. #15h Scott Hatton, Roscoe, IL; 6. #88m Jason Meyers, Fresno, CA; 7. #4x Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE; 8. #11s Matt Westfall, Ludlow, OH; 9. #51h Mike Hess, Peteresburg, IL; 10. #8m Damion Gardner, Concord, CA; 11. #40L Nick Lundgreen, Indianapolis, IN; 12. #17j P.J. Jones, Torrance, CA; 13. #47 Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 14. #01 Greg Lueckert, Kansas City, MO; 15. #88d Dallen McKenney, Clovis, CA; 16. #29d Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 17. #2I Luke Icke, Littleton, CO; 18. #8 Jimmy Sills, Marysville, CA; 19. #94g Brian Gerster, Noblesville, In; 20. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 21. #72 Jeff Flesher, Lexington, IL; 22. #20 Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO; 23. #1s Robby Flock, Murietta, CA; 24. #47k Randy Koch, Oregon, WI.
Ford Focus Race of Champions
Midget Race of Champions: 1. Tim Crawley, Mabelvale, AR; 2. Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 3. Josh Lakatos, Pasadena, CA; 4. Brett Hearn, Sussex, NJ; 5. Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO; 6. J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 7. Tony Stewart, Rushville, IN; 8. Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN; 9. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, CA; 10. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, CA.
Two B Mains – Top 6 in each to A Main
First B Main: 1. #71 Jay Drake, Val Verde, CA; 2. #29d Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 3. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 4. #17j P.J. Jones, Torrance, CA; 5. #72 Jeff Flesher, Lexington, IL; 6. #8m Damion Gardner, Concord, CA; 7. #19s Ronnie Day, Salinas, CA; 8. #11w Gary Wright, Hooks, TX; 9. #81 Chad DeSelle, Sun Prairie, WI; 10. #8p Wally Pankratz, Orange, CA; 11. #86c David Camfield Jr., Decatur, IL; 12. #10k Ron Kuhn, Lees Summit, MO; 13. #12h Rick Hendrix, Canoga P ark, CA; 14. #11c Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, AZ; 15. #14 Tony Rossi, Arvada, CO; 16. #22m Ray Bull, Bloomsburg, PA; 17. #17k Clay Klepper, Brownsburg, IN; 18. #7f Aaron Fiscus, Sun Prairie, WI; 19. #02 Shane Matthews; DQ—#11 Tracy Hines, Greenfield, IN.
Second B Main: 1. #1s Robby Flock, Murrieta, CA; 2. #11s Matt Westfall, Ludlow, OH; 3. #94g Brian Gerster, Noblesville, IN; 4. #40L Nick Lundgreen, Indianapolis, IN; 5. #51h Mike Hess, Petersburg, IL; 6. #88d Dallen McKenney, Clovis, CA; 7. #25b Teddy Beach, Donnelsville, OH; 8. #5c Joey Montgomery, Fredricktown, MO; 9. #78 Tim Crawley, Mabelvale, AR; 10. #5d Kenny Lewis, Wheatridge, CO; 11. #20s Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA; 12. #10 Andy Pierce, Plainfield, IN; 13. #7r Troy Rutherford, Ojai, CA; 14. #3m John Wolfe, Winchester, IN; 15. #32 Blake Feese, Saybrook, IL; 16. #2 Kevin Doty, Milan, IL; 17. #71L Mike Leslie, Peoria, AZ; 18. #67 Brad Kuhn, Avon, IN; 19. #22 Ron Gregory, Noblesville, IN; 20. #4e Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN.
Two C Mains – Top 5 in each to Twin B Mains
First C Main: 1. #8p Wally Pankratz, Orange, CA; 2. #12h Rick Hendrix, Canoga Park, CA; 3. #11c Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, AZ; 4. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 5. #11 Tracy Hines, Greenfield, IN; 6. #12 Billy Wease, Noblesville, IN; 7. #31 Donnie Lehmann, Springfield, IL; 8. #30c Craig Carey, Springfield, IL; 9. #17x Greg Nelson, Newcastle, CA; 10. #66 Tony Elliott, Kokomo, IN; 11. #85 Shane Hollingsworth, Indianapolis, IN; 12. #36 Brad Paris, Brownsburg, IN; 13. #18 Floyd Alvis, San Carlos, CA; 14. #75 Roger Miller, Milan, IL; 15. #10a Paul McMahan, Memphis, TN; 16. #59 Jim Sawyer, Trenton, OH; 17. #28 Matt Brun, New Carlisle, OH; 18. #25 Mike Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO.
Second C Main: 1. #20s Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA; 2. #3m John Wolfe, Winchester, IN; 3. #78 Tim Crawley, Mabelvale, AR; 4. #5d Kenny Lewis, Wheatridge, CO; 5. #71L Mike Leslie, Peoria, AZ; 6. #0 Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN; 7. #35 Brandon Petty, Alexandria, IN; 8. #85a Justin Allgaier, Riverton, IL; 9. #31c Bobby Boone, Palmdale, CA; 10. #52 Bryan Stanfill, Bakersfield, CA; 11. #5t Gary Taylor, Snohomish, WA; 12. #87 Rich Camfield, Decatur, IL; 13. #16f Chad Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO; 14. #8b Murray Erickson, Odessa, TX; 15. #00 Pete Davis, Pleasonton, CA; 16. #16 Jimmy Christian, Morgan Hill, CA; 17. #17n Mathew Neely, Robinson, IL; 18. #3 Jeremy Sherman, Phoenix, AZ.
Two D Mains – Top 3 in each to Twin C Mains
First D Main: 1. #66 Tony Elliott, Kokomo, IN; 2. #12 Billy Wease, Noblesville, IN; 3. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 4. #15 Tim Siner, Waterloo, IL; 5. #24 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 6. #6 Randy Fiscus, Monona, WI; 7. #12c Rick England, Wichita, KS; 8. #51f Chris DeShon, Littleton, CO; 9. #27b Dale Howard, Byhalia, MS; 10. #3h Brett Hearn, Sussex, N.J.; 11. #45 Aaron Kirk, Conroe, TX; 12. #7c Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN; 13. #99 Scott Weyant, Springfield, IL; 14. #0h Jesse Hockett, Warsaw, MO; 15. #78d Jeff Heaton, Ventura, CA; 16. #33az David Rosales, Glendale, AZ.
Second D Main: 1. #31c Bobby Boone, Palmdale, CA; 2. #16f Chad Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO; 3. #5t Gary Taylor, Snohomish, WA; 4. #23 Boyd Calvert, Madison, WI; 5. #7 Critter Malone, Speedway, IN; 6. #76c James Chesson, Far Hills, N.J.; 7. #7w Korey Weyant, Springfield, IL; 8. #37f A.J. Felker, Jeffersonville, IN; 9. #71r Keith Rauch, Edgewater, CO; 10. #8s Bobby Smith, Camby, IN; 11. #20w Cody Weisensel, Sun Prairie, WI; 12. #3w Brandon Waelti, Sun Prairie, WI; 13. #87x Cameron Dodson, Greenfield, IN; 14. #2m Marc Dailey, Brownsburg, IN; 15. #2h Robert Harr, Arvada, CO; 16. #54 Ralph Cortez, Sacramento, CA.
Two E Mains – Top 4 in each to Twin D Mains
First E Main: 1. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 2. #7c Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN; 3. #51f Chris DeShon, Littleton, CO; 4. #24 J.J.Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 5. #19x Terry Holliman, Hamburg, IA; 6. #10b Bill Baue, Indianapolis, IN; 7. #5r Travis Rilat, Texas City, TX; 8. #45h Johnny Heydenreich, Bloomsburg, PA; 9. #Q4 Edwin Wilson, Tuttle, OK; 10. #16c Erin Crocker, Wilbraham, MA; 11. #10w Michael Lewis, Noblesville, IN; 12. #19w Mike Woodring, Eden, NY; 13. #21k Kurt Mayhew, Demotte, IN; 14. #31v Rick Vaughn, Indianapolis, IN; 15. #61a Toby Brown, Carthage, MO; DNS – 18w Travis Welpott, Pendleton, IN.
Second E Main: 1. #3w Brandon Waelti, Sun Prairie, WI; 2. #2m Marc Dailey, Brownsburg, IN; 3. #23 Boyd Calvert, Madison, WI; 4. #7w Korey Weyant, Springfield, IL; 5. #86 Shane Cottle, Kokomo, IN; 6. #88x Dick Kaiser, Milwaukee, WI; 7. #55k Steve Knepper, Belleville, IL; 8. #11j Todd Jackson, Independence, MO; 9. #51 Ryan Durst, Lincoln, NE; 10. #33h Robert Hanley, Foxfield, CO; 11. #29 Dino Tomassi, Fremont, CA; 12. #41 Josh Ford, Oxnard, CA; 13. #1w Paul White, Temple, TX; 14. #49 Bryan Kobylarz, Birasboro, PA; 15. #53 J.D. Turner, Locust Corner, OH; 16. #44 Chad Branson, Sherman, IL.
Two F Mains – Top 4 in each to Twin E Mains
First F Main: 1. #10w Michael Lewis, Noblesville, IN; 2. #24 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 3. #31v Rick Vaughn, Indianapolis, IN; 4. #61a Toby Brown, Carthage, MO; 5. #69 A.J. Fike, Galesburg, IL; 6. #30x Jimmy Kite, Stockbridge, GA; 7. #21x Derek Davidson, Indianapolis, IN; 8. #4L Doug Lippincott, Reno, NV; 9. #38 Jackie Burke, Houston, TX; 10. #95x Rik Forbes, Omaha, NE; 11. #4t Brian Terry, Monona, WI; 12. #81h Jerry Hammock, Lancaster, TX; 13. #55 Tony Everhart, El Cajon, CA; 14. #57 Brian Brown, Higginsville, MO; 15. #27c Jan Howard, Byhalia, MS; 16. #15m Chris Morway, Glastonbury, CT.
Second F Main: 1. #86 Shane Cottle, Kokomo, IN; 2. #1w Paul White, Temple, TX; 3. #55k Steve Knepper, Belleville, IL; 4. #88x Dick Kaiser, Milwaukee, WI; 5. #26 Glenn Carson, Newark, CA; 6. #63p Paul Perkins, Antioch, IL; 7. #5 Tom Hessert, Cherry Hill, N.J.; 8. #94w Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 9. #20x Jeremy Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO; 10. #25s Steve Buckwalter, Royersford, PA; 11. #63n Rex Norris III, Knightstown, IN; 12. #43 Chris Coers, Columbus, IN; 13. #27a Amy Maris, Gilbert, AZ; 14. #2d Doug Day, Winder, GA; 15. #19 Chris Wagner, Colorado Springs, CO; 16. #5m Mike Neher, Logansport, IN.
Two G Mains – Top 4 in each to Twin F Mains
First G Main: 1. #61a Toby Brown, Carthage, MO; 2. #81h Jerry Hammock, Lancaster, TX; 3. #24 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 4. #4t Brian Terry, Monona, WI; 5. #24c Tyce Carlson, Indianapolis, IN; 6. #15k Donnie Kratzbery, Fort Smith, AR; 7. #51j R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 8. #51n Mike Nigh, Brownsburg, IN; 9. #1st Mike Stroehle, Davenport, IA; 10. #10c Jamie Ferrell, Des Moines, IA; 11. #00x John Giffin, Mnt.View, CA; 12. #45az Jeff Perry, Phoenix, AZ; 13. #17m Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN; 14. #32f Dave Fuhrman, Avon, IN; 15. #30 Johnny Rodriguez, Elk Grove, GA; 16. #35s John Sarna, Sedona, AZ.
Second G Main: 1. #88x Dick Kaiser, Milwaukee, WI; 2. #63p Paul Perkins, Antioch, IL; 3. #20x Jeremy Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO; 4. #94w Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 5. #03 Bill Allen, Independence, MO; 6. #50 Roland Ayo, Houston, TX; 7. #19n Nick O’Neil, Wagoner, OK; 8. #76 Garrett Hansen, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; 9. #37m Mathew Mitchell, Yorba Linda, CA; 10. #99r Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo West, CO; 11. #4g Ricky Gaunt, Torrance, CA; 12. #7t Jimmy McVay, Lees Summit, MO; 13. #44c Al Cole, McFarland, WI; 14. #10t Toby Alfrey, Miamisburg, OH; 15. #99d Shon Deskins; DNS - #71c Wayne Chinn, Tipp City, OH.
Two H Mains – Top 4 in each to Twin G Mains
First H Main: 1. #24 J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, AZ; 2. #1st Mike Stroehle, Davenport, IA; 3. #00x John Giffin, Mnt. View, CA; 4. #17m Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN; 5. #8x Butch Middleton, Erie, CO; 6. #79 Greg Schaefer, Ft. Lupton, CO; 7. #40 Tony Franklin, Edmond, OK; 8. #51m Chris Partin, Tulsa, OK; 9. #21 Aaron Andruskevitch, Riverton, IL; 10. #17 Doug McCune, Colleyville, TX; 11. #56 Doug White Houston, TX; 12. #7m Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN; 13. #9e Clint Eckenrodt, St. Louis, MO; DNS - #44h Phillip Heavelow, Buckner, MO; #37 Johnny Miller, Burleson, TX; #11x Steve Newman, Lakewood, CO; #13 Matt Walton, Tulsa, OK.
Second H Main: 1. #94w Josh Wise, Riverside, CA; 2. #19n Nick O’Neal, Wagoner, OK; 3. #03 Bill Allen, Independence, MO; 4. #20x Jeremy Farmer, Colorado Springs, CO; 5. #67n Randy Nigg, Colorado Springs, CO; 6. #33 Wally McDuffey, St. Louis, MO; 7. #94 Alex Coonan, Ransom, IL; 8. #5j Jason Johnson, Greenfield, WI; 9. #6L Eddie Leavitt, Knoxville, IA; 10. #27 Sparky Howard, Santa Rosa, CA; 11. 12. #33a Stephen Arnold, Seymour, IN; 13. #11t Travis Thompson, Fairbanks, IN; 14. #1f Mike Fulper, Cumberland, OH; 15. #73 Scooter Ellis, Brownsburg, IN; DNS - #0x Johnny Murdock, Kaufman, TX; #90 Mark Lightfoot, Springfield, MO; #93 Lee Beckwith, Joliet, IL.
A Main (50 laps)
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