Chili Bowl races may open doors
January 29, 2020
The results for Zac Taylor during the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals might not look impressive on paper, but for the young driver from Green River the week inside the River Spirit Expo Center yielded a lot of important contacts that might shape his 2020 season.
"Our racing didn't yield great results, but I got to make a lot of new friends and possible partnerships that could help 2020 be a great season," he said.
With approximately 350 entries, the Chili Bowl field was split into five qualifying nights beginning on Monday, Jan. 13, before the event concluded last Saturday.
Taylor's preliminary night was Tuesday.
"The car was a rocket when it was on all four wheels," said Taylor, who was driving for Todd Henry. "You have to have laps there to get comfortable running the bottom. I had a lot of guys who race for a living in my heat, so to finish fourth to them was nothing to hang my head over."
The Chili Bowl format awards points for where a driver finishes and how many cars were passed. Taylor's heat race performance put him in a qualifier, in which he charged from 10th to a seventh-place finish. That relegated him to the B Main, in which he raced to an 11th-place result.
"I was running second in the B Main and a guy slid me, got into me a little and I had to check up," he said. "I thought he would stay up top and when I went into the next corner on the bottom he was there and that pretty much ended our night."
Taylor was in an H Main on Saturday, but a mistake on the berm dropped him to a 13th-place finish.
"I just made too many mistakes on the berm," he said. "I got greedy and it cost us. I normally run the bottom, but the berm at the Chili Bowl is nothing like we have raced on before.
I needed to move up a little and not get the front wheel over the berm so I could carry speed through the corners and not have to brake so hard," he said.
Things are looking up for Taylor, who earned the 2019 Lucas Oil POWRi Warrior Sprint Series championship in his first year of driving a non-wing sprint car and who guided Henry's midget to a fourth-place finish in the Lucas Oil POWRi Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association standings.
"My dad and I were talking and I think we need to get to Indiana and race a midget more," he said. "After talking to some people at the Chili Bowl, that opportunity may come about. We could take the sprint car along to get even more races in."