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New Chili Bowl Big Screen Location Changes The Game

The video screen has been moved from Turn 1 to Turn 2 this year.


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It’s early yet but it seems like the promotional and competition group at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals have solved a perceived problem from recent years.

They moved the video board.

It’s been a narrative for years that the video board in Turn 1 was being used as a de facto spotter for the leaders in Turns 3 and 4 through the frontstretch late in the main event. The narrative reached its height in 2021 when Kyle Larson admitted that the big screen more than likely won him the race over Justin Grant.

It’s not even like Grant was that mad about it either, conceding that it was just part of the race in recent years, but enough conversation started on the topic that operations director and race director Matt Ward moved the screen to Turn 2 instead.

However, Micro and Outlaw Kart racers said the video board was even easier to watch in Turn 2 during the Tulsa Shootout in December, but those cars also have much slower and straighter corner speeds too. But then came Chili Bowl practice day and the murmur that drivers are once again still able to use the video board.

As it turns out, it’s probably not as much of a factor as some want to make it, and if you can watch it and drive a Midget at the same time -- you probably deserve to win the race.

During the battle for the win on Monday night in the A feature, Chris Wisdom said he ultimately opted not to use it.

"Yeah, I thought about it earlier in the night in the heats and stuff, but it was kind of hard to see for me at least," Windom said. "So I just kind of gave up on it, didn't even think about it anymore. So no, I never did look at it all night."

The winner of the Monday qualifier, for the third time in four years, Cannon McIntosh said he didn't use the screen either.

"It's in a really tough location, so you can think about trying to use it to your advantage but it's a lot more difficult now," McIntosh said. "I tried to glance at it a couple times, but it's not a big track, so you're heading into the next corner pretty quick.

"And really, if you're a little tight, you're fighting that all the way down the frontstretch and there isn't a lot of time to look up at it. I don't think it benefitted anyone tonight, so I think what they were going for worked, and changed things a little bit."

Meanwhile, Shane Golobic said it's barely possible to still use it, but just not practical.

"Before, you changed your vision just a little bit and you could see it all the way down the frontstretch," Golobic said. "Now, I feel like you have to physically turn your whole head, and like, I'm not talented enough to do that and enter the corner correctly and stuff.

"Where before, I could do it because I didn't have to move that far. For me, I was leading my heat and qualifier and felt pretty confident out front. I was trying to look, just to know, and I struggled. It's a really dynamic change."

It's not entirely a positive change according to defending winner Tanner Thorson, who was one of those drivers in the Tulsa Shootout who was still making use of it and would still want to use it this week.

"So, I didn't look at in practice, but I did use it in the Shootout, and I have been thinking about how to use it this week," Thorson said. "Those cars, I don't know the speed difference, but it's not that far off.

"But the Midgets are so much larger that you don’t have as much runway on the track. It is going to be harder to look over there. Traditionally, that board can win and lose you the race.

"I told Matt (Ward) that I think it's made the racing better because it can help or hurt. I told him that if he were to move it back, maybe cut it off the final five laps or something, but I guess it's a good move. It's a more natural race and I'm okay with it too."