Photo by DPC Media
By: Lucas Halbert - Grassroots Racing News
Mooresville, North Carolina (11/24/2021)... Alex Bowman Racing has announced its drivers for the 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. USAC National Sprint Car regulars C.J. Leary and Jake Swanson are returning, and for the first time since 2020, team owner and NASCAR Cup Series driver Alex Bowman (Mt. Ulla, North Carolina) will compete.
2022 marks C.J. Leary's tenth time competing in the Chili Bowl Nationals, and fifth consecutive year with Alex Bowman. The Greenfield, Indiana native, has finished third on his prelim night twice, in 2019 with Bowman and then in 2017 with Petry Motorsports. Leary's best finish on Saturday with ABR was in 2019 when he finished 8th in the A-Main. He is two for four in making the finale in an ABR #55.
After having no cars advance past the B-Main's (Swanson 13th in B2, Leary 13th in C2) on Saturday evening in 2021, Alex Bowman Racing is switching from a Stewart to a Spike Chassis. The new car debuted with great success at Millbridge Speedway for the Walkapedia Carolina Midget Showdown, as Leary swept both nights of the event.
Coming off of two wins over stout competition, Leary told Brian Walker, Millbridge was "a big confidence booster" heading into the Chili Bowl. Look for Leary to be back up front in an ABR #55.
Jake Swanson is the other driver returning to the Chili Bowl Nationals for Alex Bowman Racing in 2022. Last year, in his first year with Alex Bowman, Swanson failed to make the A-Main, settling for a 13th place finish in B-Main #2.
Jake's best Chili Bowl was in 2017 when he finished 5th on his prelim night and then finished 5th in the finale for Six 8 Motorsports. The Anaheim, California native will be entering the Chili Bowl on a high after capturing his first career USAC National Sprint Car win towards the end of the season.
The third and final driver for ABR is team owner and NASCAR Cup Series driver Alex Bowman.
2022 will be Bowman's sixth Chili Bowl Nationals in thirteen years. Alex competed in 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019, and 2020. He has only missed his preliminary night A-Main once, which was in 2016. After taking three years off, Bowman bounced back to have his best prelim night finish to date, placing ninth.
While his best prelim finish belongs to 2019, Alex's best Saturday finish belongs to his most recent go at the Chili Bowl. The Hendrick Motorsports driver finished twelfth in B-Main #2 after transferring out of the C-Main.
At the Walkapedia Carolina Midget Showdown, Brian Walker caught up with Bowman about his team's switch to a Spike Chassis.
"You look back two or three years ago, I feel we were really strong and capable of winning a Chili Bowl. Three years ago (2019) now, we (C.J. Leary) ran third our prelim night and were really fast all week. I feel like we haven't been able to get any better, and some other guys have caught up and passed us." "... we have put a lot into trying to make our Midget program better. We came here (Millbridge) in April and tried some things. We weren't able to get things where we wanted. So we ended up building a Spike. It's a little bitter-sweet winning the first night out, the Stewart cars were something I was really emotionally invested in. Rick Stewart is a big reason I am here today. This new car definitely rips."
Alex Bowman Racing is looking rejuvenated and sporty with the switch to Spike. Keep your eyes on the always beautiful ABR #55's in January at the Tulsa Expo Center.