THE Chili Bowl Nationals in America is regarded as one of the largest Speedcar events in the world, and Michael Stewart is set to be the latest Australian driver to travel over and tackle the event.

In what is set to be his biggest challenge since stepping into the Speedcar class over a decade ago, Stewart, who has been competing in Speedcars from the age of 16, can’t wait to get amongst the 250 plus competitors to take part in the 38th running of the Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Indoor Raceway in Oklahoma.

“The Chili Bowl Nationals attracts the world’s best racers, so to be able to get the opportunity to take part in it is an exciting prospect and it’s going to be one of the biggest moments so far in my Speedcar racing career,” commented the 28-year-old racer from Collector in NSW.

“This whole trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of Barry Graham and Jaimie McKinlay from Graham Racing Development who are providing me with their Australian designed and built GRD Chev engine that will be making its American debut and a King Chassis built car that is going to be supplied by American Zach Daum, so I feel that I’m going to be armed with a strong package. I’ve also received additional assistance from Greg Stevenson, Chris Mcinerney, Paul Farrell and Craig Geering, and I’m very grateful for everyone’s support towards helping make my Chili Bowl dream a reality.”

When it comes to an actual result at his first Chili Bowl Nationals attempt, Stewart isn’t setting any lofty goals.

“Of course, I’d love to go over there and bring home a good result, but as it’s my first attempt, the main aim is to go out there and just take in the whole event in and most importantly have a good time,” he enthused.

“With over 250 cars and the prestige of this event, it’s going to be tough, so I’m just hoping to see where I end up during my qualifying night, and then take everything else from there.

“As I said, I’m wanting to go there and enjoy the whole experience, but at the same time, I feel that I’m currently in good form as a driver and hopefully that can hold me in good stead for my first Chili Bowl Nationals attempt.”

When it comes to previous Chili Bowl Nationals attempts by Australian drivers, the best was a seventh-place finish in the B main of the Saturday night – one spot shy of transferring into the A main – by Sydney’s Mark Brown during the 2007 running of the event. Stewart is the 20th Australian driver to tackle the Chili Bowl Nationals. Also, when it comes to Australian-built engines competing at the Chili Bowl Nationals, NSW-based engine builder Steve Smith won back-to-back Chili Bowl Nationals with Tim McCreadie (2006) and Tony Stewart (2007).

With the Chili Bowl Nationals being held early next year, the focus leading up to this event for Stewart is his 2023-24 season campaign aboard the Bohud Racing team 410 Sprintcar here on the east coast of Australia. It’s also hoped he will get a few race meetings under his belt in the family owned Speedcar prior to his Chili Bowl Nationals assault.

The 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals is going to be held on January 8 through to 13, which consists of five qualifying nights and then, as they say, It’s Driller Time, to decide the 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals Champion.

Stewart would like to thank his 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals supporters:

• Kelley Body Works
• CE Construction Solutions
• BERCO Engineering
• Priority One Plumbing & Electrical
• Bohud Racing
• C-Mac Concreting
• Stewie Works

To find out more about Stewart, please LIKE him on Facebook or FOLLOW him on Instagram by searching Michael Stewart Racing.

Photo: Gary Reid