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More than 350 drivers from across the country prepare to race in Chili Bowl Nationals

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 18:29:54-05


TULSA -- If you're anywhere close to the fairgrounds, you'll likely hear the deafening roar of engines from the Chili Bowl Nationals. 

More than 350 racers and their crews members are set up inside the River Spirit Expo preparing for the action-packed week of races ahead. 

Dirt flew Monday afternoon, as racers zipped around the clay track for the first time. Some of the racers traveled great distances to come and compete this year. 

Organizers said the competitors came from 39 states and even five different countries. 

Kelsey Ivy made a 13-hour drive from Ohio to compete with her father, John, in the Chili Bowl. 

"I'd race wheelbarrows if they had wheelbarrow races, but I just love racing," John said. "I've been doing it forever. I just keep doing it." 

"No matter where I'm at, what we're doing," Kelsey added, "as along as we're racing together, it's awesome." 

Jonathan Beason from Broken Arrow is racing in the Chili Race for the 12th time. 

"I've heard it's the most economical impact for any city of any dirt race in the world," Beason said. 

Bricen James, 19, came to race all the way from Oregon. 

"What people say is this is the greatest race on dirt, so we had to come try it," James said. "Last year we did pretty well and decided to come back." 

The qualifying races begin Tuesday and run through the end of the week, with the winner ultimately being chosen Saturday night.