Defending winner Christopher Bell is one of the NASCAR drivers among more than 325 entries for the 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., that begin Tuesday with four nights of qualifying.
Bell book-ended the 2017 season with two big accomplishments in his early racing career by winning the 2017 Chili Bowl and then the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
For the Chili Bowl, Bell will once again race for Keith Kunz/Curb Agajanian and will be a teammate of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson. The team, fielding cars for eight drivers including Rico Abreu, is seeking its fourth straight Chili Bowl win. Abreu, who raced full-time in the Truck Series in 2016, won the event in 2015 and 2016.
Larson will qualify on Tuesday while Bell will be in Thursday’s program. Both drivers have won their respective qualifying night three times with Larson grabbing wins in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Bell’s three preliminary-night victories came in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is another Monster Energy Series driver entered in this year’s Chili Bowl. The two-time Cup Series race winner and two-time XFINITY Series champion will drive again for Clauson-Marshall Racing. He finished 16th last season and has made the A-main five times, with his first coming in 2009.
Kasey Kahne, who will drive the #95 in the Monster Energy Series for Leavine Family Racing this season, will make another Chili Bowl appearance – where he’s made the A-main seven times with a best finish of sixth in 2002. Kahne will qualify the #67Z prepared by his cousin Willie Kahne – with sponsorship from Take 5 Oil Change and Hayes Custom Homes – on Friday.
NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe will also open Chili Bowl competition on Tuesday night. Briscoe, who will be part of an NXS driver development team for Roush Fenway Racing in 2018, finished 22nd in his first Chili Bowl A-main in 2017.
Alex Bowman, who will take over the #88 Monster Energy Series Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018, will also be at the Chili Bowl as an owner. He will field the #55 Valvoline ride for C.J. Leary.