TULSA, Okla. — Justin Peck is hoping the third time’s the charm for he and his No. 5x midget team during this year’s 31st annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center.
Peck has been achingly close to making the 24-car starting field for the Chili Bowl in each of the last two runnings of the crown jewel event, but flipped while running in a transfer position out of his B-Main both times, and as such, is still looking for his first championship feature start.
This year, he has a similar goal of making the Saturday A-Main, but the Monrovia, Indiana teenager also realizes that simply finishing on all four wheels and without incident would be an improvement over his last two attempts in Tulsa.
“The past couple years … we ended in a flip last year and flipped the year before as well, so we’re looking to keep it right side up this time,” Peck told Race Chaser Online. “Both years we were in a transfer spot in the B-Main on Saturday night, so all I can hope for is that we’ve learned enough to put it in the show this time around.”
“You can’t let bad experiences that you may have had in Tulsa before affect you, either,” Peck added. “You just have to shake it off and focus forward and that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do this year. All eyes ahead and we’re hoping to go for the prize. I think we’ve got the car to do it, so hopefully we can get some breaks to fall our way as well.”
Peck has also had prior experience at the Tulsa Expo Center in a winged micro sprint, having formerly competed there during the Tulsa Shootout in his early racing days, and says that any extra experience around the indoor bullring is an advantage when it comes to competing during Chili Bowl week.
“It forms a nice, big curb up top, even when they run the micros there … and that’s where I like to live, so I feel like it does give me a leg up, yeah,” Peck admitted. “Every now and then, you’ve got to move around and run the bottom … but I like the added trickery of trying to hook the left front (tire) on the infield berm.”
“You really have to be able to run anywhere on the race track at any time. When the outdoor season comes around … going to places like Little Belleville (Belle-Clair Speedway) with POWRi, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re putting the right rear up on the fence and banging boards … and that’s a similar skill as what it takes in Tulsa when the track is right, no matter if it’s a micro or the midgets.”