Rico Abreu Man To Beat At 31st Annual Chili Bowl Nationals - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Rico Abreu Man To Beat At 31st Annual Chili Bowl Nationals

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Rico Abreu is the back-to-back champion at this year's Chili Bowl. Rico Abreu is the back-to-back champion at this year's Chili Bowl.
Fans follow the midget car dirt races every day. Fans follow the midget car dirt races every day.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Practice runs for the 31st annual Chili Bowl Nationals are happening right now in Tulsa.Racing starts Tuesday. It's been a staple on the Tulsa sports scene every January for decades. 

I think it's safe to say this year's Chili Bowl is bigger and better than ever. Almost 400 cars are in this year's field, a new record - all set to put on a show for a packed house at the River Spirit Expo Center.

On the track, everybody will be gunning for Rico Abreu. He's the back-to-back Chili Bowl Champ at just 25 years old. 

He said he plans to run in the Chili Bowl for the next 50 years, so fans should be used to him. Speaking of fans, they turned out Monday just to watch practice before heats start Tuesday. 

Those fans are what make the atmosphere so special. 

"Being able to compete at the Chili Bowl was on my bucket list six years ago," said Chili Bowl champion Rico Abreu. "It's all at the top. Winning it the first year, and then winning it back-to-back, the biggest thing is just being able to be here in this environment."

Tony Stewart said at his first Chili Bowl, he never imagined it would become as big as it is.

"They're awesome here. The great thing is, every night, you see them all night, and when we're out there on the tractor, you can hear them yelling and screaming and having a good time," said Tony Stewart. "That's the best part about it. That's why I say the atmosphere here is unbelievable."

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