PENNGROVE, Calif. – Chase Johnson prides himself on being able to climb into any type of race car and quickly develop into a contender.
The Californian has done just that in limited midget starts, winning for car owner Tom Malloy last year in only four event appearances.
The duo will team up again next week during the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, Jan. 13-18 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., with Johnson piloting Malloy’s No. 25 Toyota-powered King chassis in the prestigious race.
“You always set goals and expectations for yourself and you want to do the best you can, but I try not to put too many expectations on myself because I don’t want to have too much pressure,” Johnson said. “I feel confident in myself and I feel confident with the team. We had a great year in all the different cars I drove and I had better runs in the midget than I’ve ever had.”
While this year will be his first Chili Bowl start with Malloy, Johnson has enjoyed success at the event with two other teams, including Morris Motorsports, for whom he enjoyed his career-best event performance two years ago.
“If we have luck on our side I think it will be a good Chili Bowl, but everyone knows how stuff inside that building can go,” he said. “Stuff can change really quick. Even with a great car and driver stuff can go bad really quick.”
Johnson is a past Saturday A-main starter at the Chili Bowl, racing his way in via a top-three preliminary night finish in 2018 and going on to eighth place in the 55-lap finale.
It’s not an easy task for any driver, something Johnson knows full well as he chases his second appearance in the big show.
“If you have a good car and you play your cards right, playing it smart and not being too aggressive, you can put yourself in a good spot. Yet there’s stuff that can always go wrong,” Johnson noted. “If it goes wrong at the wrong time, it can make the week not so enjoyable. You have to have luck on your side regardless of how good your car is. Hopefully everything goes smooth.”
Johnson’s preliminary night is currently scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Toyota Racing Development has won five consecutive Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features. Thanks to Mobil 1, Sprint Car & Midget is providing exclusive coverage of the multi-car organization, led by three-time winner and current champ Christopher Bell and two-time Chili Bowl winner Rico Abreu, and other Toyota-equipped organizations and drivers as they prepare for and compete in the Chili Bowl. The Mobil 1 Road To The Driller program is in addition to SPEED SPORT and Sprint Car & Midget’s traditional “Live from the Chili Bowl presented by MyRacePass” coverage that surrounds the event.
The Chili Bowl will be shown live online on www.racinboys.com. The online PPV experience will run from Monday through Saturday’s qualifiers. At the time of opening ceremonies (6 p.m. local time) on Saturday, Racinboys PPV coverage will cease as the final features will be shown live on MAVTV (more information here).