Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell elected to skip the 2023 Chili Bowl Nationals
Last night, the 2023 Chili Bowl Nationals came to a close. 370 drivers filled the entry list for the week-long indoor dirt midget show in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hear from Jack Hewitt below.
However, there’s some notable absences from the results sheet. Both Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell elected to skip the Chili Bowl Nationals. Larson is instead racing a dirt late model in the Wild West Shootout in Arizona.
Larson noted payout as a reason for skipping the event. The event has grown substantially since it’s debut in 1987. Yet, the feature of the biggest dirt midget event in the world, pays just $10,000 to win.
Larson stated, “I just don’t see the race as one of the biggest ones like I used to because it hasn’t grown like other big races have.”
Hewitt raced in the early editions of the Chili Bowl Nationals. In 1989, Hewitt claimed his career best finish in the event when he crossed the line 2nd to Sammy Swindell.
The event has since grown into dirt racing royalty.
Jack Hewitt comments on the Chili Bowl Nationals
The comments from Larson didn’t sit well with the racing legend. And, during the week of the Chili Bowl, the topic came up during an interview.
“For one, there’s three times the cars,” Jack Hewitt told FloRacing when speaking of the Chili Bowl Nationals growth.
“We’re not missing them a bit,” Hewitt said of Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell missing last night’s Chili Bowl.
“To me, you gotta pick your battles. If Kyle would have said, ‘I wanna go run late models.’ Go run late models.”
“Don’t bad mouth the Chili Bowl. If he boycotted it because of money, there’s 300+ midgets here. The crowd is already sold out. The grandstands are sold out on the thing.”
“Who gives a shit if he’s here or not. And I’m a Kyle Larson fan, I like Kyle. But, him and Christopher Bell don’t know how to pick their battles.”
“You pick something that’s going to make a difference. Emmett Hahn don’t give a shit what Kyle Larson thinks.”
“They won’t be missed after Saturday night. They won’t be talking about them. They’ll be talking about who won the Chili Bowl.”