The biggest controversy of the week has been resolved as the video board for the Chili Bowl Nationals is moving from Turn 1 to Turn 2 beginning next year. Officials confirmed Friday night via FloRacing’s Twitter it would be moved to Turn 2, which means it will not be directly in the driver’s vision as they exit Turn 4 as it is currently.
— FloRacing (@FloRacing) January 14, 2022
Kyle Larson, a two-time winner of the event, credited last year’s victory to the screen, which aided him in knowing what lane to change to in order to fend off a late charge by Justin Grant.
“I think everybody knows my views on big screens and like, what’s the point, right?” Larson said after his prelim on Tuesday. “Like, is anybody in this building watching the big screen during the green flag (runs) besides us? No.
“So why are we showing racing? I mean, during the intermissions and breaks? Yeah. Throw your sponsors up there, throw your cool videos (up there). And once it goes green, just leave the Chill Bowl logo on there. What’s the point? It doesn’t help the racing, that’s for sure.”
Tanner Thorson, who finished runner-up in his prelim on Thursday, was direct in his feelings on the subject.
“I think it’s a s*** show, to be honest,” said Thorson. “I mean, Larson wouldn’t have won the race, right, if he wasn’t looking at it. I mean, he says it.”
Three-time Chili Bowl winner Christopher Bell, who finished ahead of Thorson to take the win on Thursday night, believes the video board has changed the dynamic of Midget racing, especially for its crown jewel event.
“It has very much turned Midget racing into defense racing, especially here,” said Bell, driver of the No.71W Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota. “It’s a spotter. You look at the board and if they’re not showing you, you’re fine. If they’re showing you and you’re the only car, you’re still fine. If they’re showing you and there’s you and another car, you better figure something out.”
Damion Gardner, the 2008 winner, echoed the comments of his fellow drivers, adding that it takes out some of the purity of the racing.
“I guess no one’s really ever asked me that before, but at the end of the day Sprint Cars, I don’t know, the generality of it all would be Sprint Cars don’t have rearview mirrors,” said Gardner. “It is a sprint. It’s a race to the finish. It’s only 30 laps. There’s not a lot of time for evaluation. It’s why we don’t have two-way radios with our crew and stuff. It’s that guy, his machine, and you go as fast as you can for 30 laps. So, it probably shouldn’t be there if you really asked it.
“I mean, anyone who doesn’t look at it is dumb because it’s there, but it is what it is. At the end of the day, I guess if you wanted to talk about rules and technicalities, it probably shouldn’t be there. For entertainment value, you want to watch racing, you want to see exciting side-by-side, you want to see a guy come from the back. Well, Larson knows to go to the bottom and block the guy because he saw it on the video camera, not because he felt it in his car. So, you can kind of decide from home but if you want to see passing, maybe it shouldn’t be there.”
And now it won’t be. Next year.