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Looking for some dirt track racing in the winter, check your TV

Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007, at 4:26 PM

If you're a fan of dirt track racing, or even just a fan of racing in general, you might feel like these are difficult days.

With chilly temps and potential snow lurking around every bend, racing season seems like its as far away as the Dolphins are from a berth in the Super Bowl. But never fear, your next fix is just a couple of weeks away in fact.

HBO has set up another pay-per-view racing event which should calm those addicted to dirt.

On Jan. 12, HBO, will televise the final day of the 22nd Annual Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK.

This will be the first ever live broadcast of the prestigious midget race that annually commands a star studded cast that will include defending champion Tony Stewart this year along with NASCAR's Kasey Kahne as well as four-time winner Sammy Swindell, and World of Outlaws star Joey Saldana. Other notables will include NHRA stars Cruz Pedregon and Gary Scelzi along with USAC's J.J. Yeley and Jason Leffler all competing for the coveted Golden Driller Trophy that goes to the 50-lap winner on Saturday.

Four nights of qualifying will precede the Saturday A-Main feature.

The recommended price, according to HBO.com is a very reasonable $24.95 for the 8 p.m. broadcast. Many may remember the excellent job that was done with the Prelude to the Dream Late Model race that was done this summer and my hopes are that the Chili Bowl broadcast is just as good.

Good news, for those who are wondering, is that a subscription to HBO is not required to order this event, but customers must have digital cable or satellite service.

As of Wednesday afternoon, an incredible 277 entries have been received from 27 different states as well as Australia and Canada.

Of the entries will include a familiar name to those who've been a dirt fan for quite awhile.

Ron Shuman, who hasn't strapped in since the end of the 1997 season, has been named the driver for the No. 37T, A.J. Felker Racing machine. Shuman is no stranger to the Tulsa dirt, making the main event in all nine previous appearances while recording seven top-10 finishes. His son Casey will also compete.

Slammin' Sammy's son, Kevin Swindell will also run the Chili Bowl this year and don't put any money on Pop's given sonny any room should they end up in the same heat or feature with each other.

Once again, Keith Kunz has put together a potentially powerful team, heavy on some of the young sprint car stars of the sport.

The Kunz stable will include Bryan Clauson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Whitt, Chris Windom and 15-year old Caleb Armstrong. Not a one of them is yet 20-years old, but they won't shy away from the more experienced veterans as almost all of them have been on the USAC circuit. Kunz will round out his group with former ASCS National champion, Travis Rilat, formerly of the R19 Outlaws sprinter.

Loyet Motorsports also has designs on a Drillers' trophy with rides currently going to three-time Chili Bowl runner-up Danny Lasoski along with 2007 National Non-Wing Sprint Car Driver of the Year, Jon Stanbrough. P.J. Jones and 2007 POWRi Midget Champion, Brad Loyet, will also be on the team with one spot left to be filled.

Those looking for some local drivers to root for can keep an eye on Bloomington 19-year old Jeff Bland Jr. along with Stanbrough and Kokomo Speedway champ, Shane Cottle.

While California leads the way with 60 entries, there's no doubt that Indiana has a special place in dirt drivers' hearts. The Hoosier-state has the second-most with 32 entries.


Rumble in Fort Wayne

Anyone looking to attend a race in person can make the trip north to the Memorial Expo Center in Fort Wayne for the Rumble in Fort Wayne on Thursday and Friday.

Stewart is scheduled to race a midget in this event as well.

General admission for adults is $35 for both days and $19.50 for individual days. For kids 12-and-under, two-day passes are $16 and individual day admission is $10.

Practice begins at 9:45 a.m. with preliminary events starting at 1:30 p.m.

Other classes scheduled include: Ford Focus, Kenyon Cars plus Outlaw Winged Midgets. Go Karts, Slingshots, Jr. Sprints and Lucas Oil Quarter Midgets are also on the

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