TULSA, Okla. — The 2020 edition of the Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions, which is run annually during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, is getting a new format and eligibility requirements.
Contested during Tuesday night (Jan. 14) action inside River Spirit Expo Center, the event has required that participants be a past driver champion of the Chili Bowl or driving for a past owner champion.
Starting in 2020, a driver’s past performance, both at the Chili Bowl and with select sprint car and midget sanctioning bodies, will dictate whether or not they are invited to compete.
This year’s eligibility rules are as follows:
- Drivers finishing in the top three of Saturday night’s A-Feature during the previous five Chili Bowls.
- Drivers finishing in the top two of the past five VIROC events.
- Preliminary night winners from the most recent Chili Bowl.
- Series champions from the most recent calendar year in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series, Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget Series, AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series and the POWRi National Midget League.
No Driver substitutions or alternates from a sanctioning body will be allowed.
Starting lineup for the VIROC will be set by group qualifying. Drivers will draw for their qualifying position, then qualify in groups of three to four. Drivers will get two warmup laps, then three green-flag laps to set their time. The eight fastest will be inverted with ninth fastest on back lined up by qualifying time.
The VIROC feature will be 25 Laps.
“We’ve been wanting to change the VIROC for a few years now and have been looking at different ways to do that where your top drivers and champions are still in, but it allows new drivers to compete as well, and going back five years and using those results, that gives us a good mix, and then also, adding in the different series champions gives these guys something to race for all year,” explained Chili Bowl co-founder Emmett Hahn.
The following drivers are eligible for the 2020 VIROC during the Chili Bowl:
Christopher Bell — 2017-2019 Chili Bowl Champion
Daryn Pittman — Runner-up, 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals
Spencer Bayston — Third Place, 2018 Chili Bowl Nationals
Damion Gardner —Third Place, 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals
Zach Daum — Third Place, 2016 Chili Bowl Nationals
Drivers invited based on 2019 Prelim Night Victory
Logan Seavey — Monday Night Winner
Kyle Larson — Tuesday Night Winner
Rico Abreu — Wednesday Night Winner
Justin Grant — Friday Night Winner
Drivers invited based on VIROC performance (2015-2019)
Tanner Thorson — 2019 VIROC Winner
Chad Boat — 2018 VIROC Winner
Sammy Swindell —- 2015 VIROC Winner
Drivers invited based on 2019 Series Championship Winners
Brad Sweet — 2019 NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws Champion
Sam Hafertepe, Jr. — 2019 Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour Champion
Aaron Reutzel — 2019 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions
Jesse Colwell — POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Champion
Tyler Courtney — USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Champion
C.J. Leary — USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Champion