COLUMBUS, Ind. – As if midget racing’s silly season couldn’t get any crazier, Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports stirred the pot even more on Saturday afternoon.
Making the biggest hire of the offseason, team owner Keith Kunz has tabbed 17-year-old Zeb Wise to drive the Toyota-powered No. 71 Bullet during the upcoming Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
Wise will link up with modern-era midget racing’s most successful organization, as well as one of motorsports’ most well-known engine manufacturers, as he chases Chili Bowl glory for the second time.
Saturday’s announcement comes just days after Wise confirmed a move to Sam McGhee Motorsports, chasing the full All Star Circuit of Champions schedule in 2020.
The reigning Chili Bowl rookie of the race moves to KKM from Clauson/Marshall Racing, with whom he spent the last three years of his career.
“Keith and I have been in touch for the past few weeks while this deal has come together, and I think we are both really excited,” said Wise. “It’s obviously a new ride for me, I’ve never ran with Keith before, but the whole world knows the KKM crew is one of the best. With me going sprint car racing next year and parting ways with Clauson-Marshall, this was a perfect opportunity to pounce on for Chili Bowl. I’d like to thank Richard, Jennifer, Tim, Rizzy and everyone at CMR for everything they’ve done for me.
“Hopefully Keith and I can go out and have a successful run together at such an iconic event.”
Wise is coming off the strongest season of his career to date, scoring three USAC National Midget Series victories in 2019, including the prestigious Driven2SaveLives BC39 at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That kind of momentum and potential is something Kunz both saw and wanted to capitalize on.
“To snag a kid like Zeb is huge for us,” said Kunz. “He’s been one of our biggest challenges over the past two years, so bringing him to Chili Bowl on our side will be a game changer. His talent is so obviously clear, I can’t wait to see how he performs in our equipment.”
Wise finished just short of a transfer spot into the 55-lap championship A-main in the 2019 Chili Bowl, hoping to improve on that record in his second event appearance in January.
The Angola, Ind., native joins Rico Abreu, Cannon McIntosh, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson on the KKM Chili Bowl roster, with two drivers left to reveal.
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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.