Since its start in 2014, the Chilly Willy 150 has evoked memories of the old NASCAR Winter Heat series which was contested at Tucson Speedway in the mid-1990’s. While the days of the NASCAR Trucks and Southwest Tour in southern Arizona during the Winter are long gone, Super Late Models have picked up the baton in spectacular fashion.
In 2018, the NASCAR-sanctioned event will move from early February to late January to give many Super Late Model teams a chance to make their first outing of the new season. With a $10,000 winner’s check and an increase in popularity, the field is already shaping up to be the best yet with some East Coast talent already included.
“This is our fifth year doing the Chilly Willy, last year we started 35 cars and we’ll probably have more this year,” Tucson Speedway promoter John Lashley told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I know Bubba Pollard said he was going to come out and race. Trevor Huddleston is coming from California, he’s number two in NASCAR National points.
“We have a number of K&N West guys coming, Chris Eggleston and Kody Vanderwal. Ron Norman and Matt Levin are local guys. Some of the SRL guys like Lenny White, we have some real heavy hitters for the Chilly Willy.”
The three-day event begins on Thursday, January 25 and culminates with the Chilly Willy 150 on Saturday, January 27 with $10,000 going to the winner. It will also preceed the 4th Annual SRL Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park in California by one week, where $30,000 will go to the winner. With more than $40,000 in winner’s money on the line during back to back weekends, Lashley believes a lot of drivers will be gunning for the two weeks.
“They can come here, race the Chilly Willy, then they can go up to Kern and race for three-times the money there. It can be a little money tour for some of these guys that not only want to get out and race but if they’re good enough, they can take home some serious money.”
The Chilly Willy weekend begins on Thursday, January 25 with a $1,200-to-win, 50-lap Super Late Model race for any driver that just wants to go for extra track time and extra money.
Friday, January 26 is when things get serious, with Chilly Willy time trials and qualifying races behind held. The top two in time trials will earn starting positions, while the top ten from each of the two 50-lap $1,200-to-win qualifying races will earn their spots.
The main event on Saturday, January 27 begins with a 50-lap last chance race with the top six going to the Chilly Willy 150, with another four promoter’s choices completing the 32-car field. The day also features a 75-lap, $1,000-to-win Modified race. The day concludes with the 5th Annual Chilly Willy 150, where NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points will also be up for grabs.
The previously announced NASCAR Border 2 Border Showdown, which was to feature the top three from each of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Peak Mexico, K&N East, K&N West, and NASCAR Whelen All-American national points is expected to undergo some tweaks prior to race day. The emphasis is expected to shift towards the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion. Further details will be announced soon.
Stay with Speed51.com for more. For ticket information and additional info on the Chilly Willy 150, visit www.tucsonspeedway.com.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com