By: Chase Prather
Indoor dirt racing has definitely become a big deal in the past few years. Events such as the famous Chili Bowl Nationals, The Gateway Dirt Nationals, and the Shamrock Classic have made excellent strides in the racing community especially with them taking place in the winter time AKA the offseason. MavTV is the premier motorsports channel for certain packages and carriers having the broadcasting rights for the Chili Bowl Nationals in January which is ratings wise the biggest dirt race broadcasted on TV every year. While there are other races that are broadcasted on TV most if not all are pre recorded and not live races.
The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals held at the River Spirit Expo Carter in Tulsa Oklahoma is without a doubt the hardest race in the world to win and for some fans, the hardest to attend as the waiting list for reserved tickets is extremely long (in some cases years long). 300+ cars enter every year for 6 long days of racing all to compete for a shot at the Golden Driller. Every year promises to have action packed racing and entertainment. The top tier event just keeps growing every year as they prepare for the 36 running of the event. With the growing popularity of the Chili Bowl it has only helped the racing community get the word out. It’s sister event the Tulsa Shootout is held shortly before the Chili Bowl. it is a grueling 5 day event bringing in over 1,000 entries in 2020/2021. The event premiers 7 different classes from Micros, to Jr Sprints, to 600cc Mod Lites who all compete for golden drillers. Ages ranging from little kids to old veterans of the sport and anything in between in their respective classes.
The Shamrock Classic is an indoor Midget/Micro Sprint race in Da Quoin Illinois at the Southern Illinois Center held in March every year. While the 2020 race was only the 5th running of the event it has slowly become an event that’s on everyone’s list to be at. A ⅙ mile track is laid down to create the masterpiece. While still not a very well known race, don’t let that fool you. It still brings out the heavy hitters such as Keith Kunz Motorsports, Chad Boat Industries, and Clauson-Marshall Racing. The “Pot of Gold” race will become a big race for years to come.
Last but certainly not least the newest indoor dirt race. Dirt in December! The Gateway Dirt Nationals at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis Missouri is a bucket list event for any dirt track fan no matter what your favorite class is. Mighty Midgets, Late Models, and Modifieds all pack into the former St Louis Rams stadium to compete on the ⅕ mile. The tight bullring beating and banging racing gives the crowd a roar every year. The December race brings in people from all over the world to compete and watch.
There are other smaller events held indoors, a few that come to mind are the Red Bluff Outlaws in Red Bluff California. Hosting the newest up and coming stars in the dirt world in outlaw karts. The Clash at the Coliseum in St Louis Missouri hosting outlaw karts, go karts, and many more classes, and the Midwest winter nationals also in Du Quoin Illinois 3 weekends of racing including Micros (winged and non wing) and midgets, and jr sprints.
Indoor racing is slowly becoming bigger than some of the major races around the world. This might be also due to the fact that indoor races are mainly run in the winter time when it’s harder for most tracks to put on shows due to weather and such, so there isn’t a lot of competition during these times. Do you think indoor will ever take over outdoor racing? Can we get more races on national TV such as CBS or ESPN? Let us know what you think and until next time. We’ll see you on the DIRT!!