by Don Martin
Du Quoin, Illinois will be the place to be Saturday afternoon. The Southern Illinois Center will host a USAC non-points midget event on the exciting 1/6 dirt oval December 15th. This race typically draws drivers from all over the country and this year is no exception.
Over 70 cars have entered the event including defending Champion Christopher Bell. The Norman, Oklahoma driver is the best midget driver in the country. He is coming off two major wins. He won Turkey Night at Ventura, and swept both races at the Gateway Dirt Nationals at the Dome. He has also won the last two Chili Bowls. Bell will be stepping out of his comfort zone this weekend. H will be driving the Tucker/Boat Motorsports Toyota entry and not the white bearded Keith Kunz entry. Bell is stoked to be driving for Billy Boat and knows the car is very capable of winning the race, plus he loves racing on the 1/6 mile dirt oval.
This event has been a tune-up event for the Chili Bowl and this year is no different. It is a very versatile field this week. You have the midget and open wheel stars such as Justin Grant, Zeb Wise, Dave Darland, Ronnie Gardner, Thomas Meseraull, and Jake Neumann. You have some winged drivers as well like Ryan Smith, Tony Bruce Jr., and Joe B. Miller. You have NASCAR represented with Chase Briscoe. Past Indianapolis 500 driver Conor Daly will be on hand, as well as Illinois Dirt Late Model Superstar Brian Shirley.
Doors this Saturday open up at 2:30 pm, with cars getting on the track at 4pm. Temps Saturday are going to be close to 50 degrees so get out and support promoters Nick and Steve Knepper this Saturday.