In recent years, two short track racing events have established themselves as being the biggest and the best in North America. Although many other great events are held nationwide each year, the two events we’re speaking of are in a class of their own when it comes to popularity among race fans.
Those two events are the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK and the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, FL. While these events share very few similarities on paper, the success of each event is similar.
Over the last seven years, the Chili Bowl Nationals and Snowball Derby have been the only two events to win the annual 51 Award for Best Short Track Event of the Year. In most cases, the two events have finished first and second in the voting.
Today, Speed51.com is pleased to announce the winner of the Best Short Track Event Award for the 2017 racing season.
Box Office Success
(Best Short Track Event)
For the third straight year, the Chili Bowl Nationals has been voted by the fans as the Best Short Track Event.
The event held annually at the Tulsa Expo Center has become the hottest ticket in short track racing. If you plan on going, you better get your reserved seats early or else you’ll be left out. Unless of course you happen to find a scalper (yes, we’ve seen scalpers at the Chili Bowl) on the streets.
Overall, the atmosphere of the Chili Bowl Nationals is unmatched. People who have been there will tell you that there’s nothing like it. Excitement fills the air during driver introductions and fans are intensely involved with every aspect of the five-day event.
In 2017, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Christopher Bell scored his first career Chili Bowl triumph. To this day, even after winning his second Chili Bowl in 2018, Bell will tell people it was the biggest win of his career.
For Bell, a native of Oklahoma, the Chili Bowl is his favorite and the event he looks forward to most each year.
“The Chili Bowl is great for multiple reasons, but most importantly the racing itself is the best racing you will see anywhere,” Bell told Speed51.com. “The Chili Bowl attracts the top drivers from so many different divisions. It's cool to see Late Model drivers compete with Midget drivers and then add in Sprint Car guys on top of that. They have a great thing going on.”
Finishing second in the voting was the 50th Annual Snowball Derby, a five-time winner of the Best Short Track Event Award. The annual event held at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL serves as a final hurrah for asphalt Late Model racing and attracts some of the biggest names in the sport. In 2017, NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Busch scored his second career victory in the prestigious race.
Another asphalt Late Model event, the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), finished third in the voting. The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) sanctioned race is considered one of the crown jewel events with $25,000 plus lap money on the line. Annually, the event attracts anywhere from 60-70 drivers trying to qualify for the main event.
One of the longest-running events in the country, the Race of Champions, finished fourth in the voting. The annual Tour-type Modified race was held at its new home of Lake Erie Speedway (PA) in 2017 and attracted some of the biggest names in Modified racing.
Rounding out the top five was the Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT). The World Series normally features anywhere from 13 to 17 divisions and serves as the final big event of the Northeast racing season. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, ISMA, American-Canadian Tour and Valenti Modified Racing Series are just a few of the divisions that crown their champions at the World Series.
Former Best Short Track Event Award Winners
2016 - Chili Bowl
2015 - Chili Bowl
2014 - Chili Bowl
2013 - Snowball Derby
2012 - Snowball Derby
2011 - Snowball Derby
2010 - Snowball Derby
2009 - No Vote
2008 - No Vote
2007 - No Vote
2006 - Snowball Derby
2005 - No Vote
2004 - All American 400