By MANDEE PAUCH
Two of the most prolific young guns from the northeast will be joining forces for the 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Jan. 9-13th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The two wheelmen, who regularly battle each other on a weekly basis, will be teaming together to tackle the most prestigious event in midget racing.
The driver out of Collegeville, PA, Alex Bright, will once again be heading west to compete but this time with a teammate, the versatile driver out of Milford, N.J., Billy Pauch Jr.
“I’m excited that I’m going to have two really good cars out there,” Bright said. “I’ll have a really good driver as my teammate so with a lot of luck I’m looking forward to both of us putting it in the A-main.”
Bright has been continuously competing in the Chili Bowl. Bright’s best finish to date was a fourth-place finish back in 2014. The following year Bright came out victorious by winning his first ever prelim night.
Pauch Jr.’s last visit to the Chili Bowl came back in 2013 where he finished 14th on his qualifying night and made it as far as the C-Main on Saturday.
The Chili Bowl is famous for its ‘alphabet soup.’ To even advance into a Main on Saturday through the alphabet soup is an accomplishment to most drivers.
“That race has over 300 drivers trying to qualify all week for just one night,” noted Pauch Jr. “You have to be on-top of your game. I think with what we have we should come out of the box rolling pretty good.”
Bright and Pauch Jr. are pleased to announce Degre Engineering and Wyckoff Roofing as their primary sponsors for the event. The team will be trekking two Elite Chassis with them. Bright will be behind the wheel of a brand new Elite.
“I’ll be running the car Alex ran the past two years at the Chili Bowl,” Pauch Jr. said. “He had a lot of success in that car and ran fourth in Saturday’s A-Main with it. It’s been five years since I last raced out there so as a driver I feel like I’ve grown a lot and am looking forward to having a really good race car and teammate to take to out there.”
Bright’s results have proven the success the Elite chassis can do at the Chili Bowl.
“The results show,” Bright said. “I think we have a really good shot, especially with Ed Heffline on the wrenches.”
Bright and Pauch Jr. are well known for their on-track rivalry at their Wednesday night home track in 600-micro sprint division.
“Alex and I have been competitors for the past couple of years,” Pauch Jr. said. “We’ve both have had mutual respect as drivers on and off the track. I’m looking forward to teaming with him and his crew.”
The uncanny combination will be sure to have everyone in the northeast tuning in to the prestigious event.
“If we get to the A-Main, then we can duke it out,” laughed Bright.
Bright and Pauch Jr. are both confident and excited as the countdown for the 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has officially begun.