Midget Racing cars are 400hp grocery carts with more tires than they apparently need. That’s because these light weight, overpowered, under appreciated beasts are almost always drifting on 3 wheels, or drag racing on 2 enormous rear tires at upwards of 100mph into a hairpin dirt cushion.
This is Midget Racing. And Chili Bowl is Midget Racing’s Daytona 500.
Are these tires redundant? If they weren’t there would we still call this a wheelie?
[Spoiler Alert: Darth Vader torches The Enterprise! Wait, that’s not right. No. It’s the video at the bottom. That’s what you want to see. So go there first, or you could read your way there. But probably not.]
While it didn’t make Jalopnik’s Top 10 American Races, or whatever, the Chili Bowl Nationals (January 12-16, 2016) represent the pinnacle of midget racing and is one of the most heart-pounding, jaw dropping series of races one will ever consume in a weekend.
Before we get into the Chili Bowl and midgets in general, here’s a driver you might have heard of explaining his car. It’s Kyle Larson at Perris Auto Speedway (starting at 1:18) calmly explaining, in next to no detail whatsoever, what a midget car actually is:
That’s right: 1,100lbs, 400hp (give or take), with a direct drive going 100+ mph around a dirt oval, mostly sideways, and rarely on all four tires. Now shorten that oval to 1/4mi, add 24 of the best midget drivers in the world, and then put it all inside and close the doors. That’s the Chili Bowl Nationals!
Even as compelling as that sounds to any fan of racing, the Chili Bowl, and midget racing in general, still falls short of being mainstream. And that’s perplexing considering what it’s got going for it: massive wheelies, insane speeds, heaps of dirt, crazy power-to-weight, tons and tons of contact, and always a crowd-pleasing flip or two.
Add in a flat brim cap and it’s basically four-wheeled Supercross. So why, then, do the kids want dirt bikes for Christmas and not midget cars!?
Another way to ask that is why does midget racing have it’s pinnacle in an event named for a can of shelf-stable bunker beef, while Supercross has such things as flame throwing starting grids and half-naked Monster girls showing off a plexiglass case packed tightly with crispy $100 bills? Two words: Production. Value.
While Supercross production values looks like something out of the fever dreams of a deranged adolescent millionaire...
...midget racing’s media quality tends to be on par with a recording of your 8th grade recital. The videos are shaky and out of focus, and there’s always that one single camera just going around and around in a vomitous circle.
[C:\Kinja>play_this_gif.cmd] Did that work? Aww, hell. Just click on the link and watch the gif. And then come back. Or someone tell me how to embed this damn thing
What’s lost in boring production is what is still some of the most amazing racing you might ever see. Midget racing lacks absolutely nothing when it comes to putting on one hell of a show. What’s lacking is in the delivery.
So there’s two ways to go about it. Either you listen to me tell you how awesome it is and then you go check it out and be amazed. Or, the delivery has to improve to thrill the viewer the way that Supercross does. If it ever got to that level, then every kid would want a midget car for Christmas and a dirt track for their birthday.
If this kid isn’t named Jaxon, Maxon, Braxtyn, or just Xxxxxx, then I’ll eat my own head. Update: my head was delicious, Blake, thank you very much!
While bikini models with $1,000,000 bills and Braxtyn’s full-time racing career might still be a ways off, a good start to hook any potential fans would be a high quality heart pounding video that shows off just how unreal midget racing can be. You know what I mean - the kind of videos with the soaring music and the dramatic slow motion shots. The ones that makes you want to run out and buy Chili Bowl tickets for a chance to breathe in all the noxious fumes of an indoor auto racing event!
Well, as it turns out, Loudpedal TV thinks so too. And because they love us and want us to be happy (and because they want you to see just how incredibly badass this race really is) they’ve given us exactly that. While it’s a recap of 2015, the good news is 2016 is right around the corner!
So, say “thank you Loudpedal TV” and tell your kids sorry that you spent all the Christmas money on Chili Bowl tickets, and then watch this 2015 recap. And don’t worry about the kids - Chili Bowl 2016 will be totally worth it.