John Rittenoure for the world of Tulsa

A record 395 pilots have registered for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl, which begins Monday inside the Expo Square SageNet Center. This overshadows the old mark of 375 established in 2017, and car owner Keith Kunz is part of the reason for the record.

Kunz cars have won eight Chili Bowl Golden Driller trophies. On Sunday, he unloaded 15 cars from five semi-trailers that had arrived at his store in Columbus, Indiana.

“Every year we have more and more people driving for us throughout the year (in addition to) those who have driven in the past,” Kunz said. “Everyone wants to come and host this (event) and we’re adding a few more every year. We are up to 15 now.

“You need a lot of team members. My staff are organized and work for me all year round and we started planning months ago. When the outdoor season is over, everyone is on deck for the Chili Bowl.

Kunz recalled the early years of the Chili Bowl when everyone came with only a car or two.

“We brought two cars – it was a lot, then we had four and it was pretty extreme,” Kunz said.

Kunz has a range of pilots on board this year, from former Chile Bowl champions Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell to rookies looking to make a name for themselves.


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