Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is another last-minute entry into the 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals, with the announcement Wednesday that the NASCAR Cup Series driver will compete in Friday’s Prelim action from the Tulsa Expo Center.
Stenhouse will compete in the Keith Kunz Motorsports-Curb-Agajanian / NOS Energy No. 71R as he looks to secure his ninth appearance in the A-Main of the Chili Bowl Nationals.
The Olive Branch, Mississippi native isn’t the first NASCAR Cup Series driver to make a surprise appearance on the entry list for the prestigious midget car race, with 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson announcing on Tuesday he’ll compete in Thursday’s Prelim action.
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According to FloRacing, Stenhouse was texting back-and-forth with Larson after the Hendrick Motorsports driver confirmed his spot in the Chili Bowl Nationals, when the 21-time Cup Series winner suggested shooting a call to Keith Kunz.
“I was texting with [Kyle] Larson, telling him, the same time you were trying to get your deal together, I was trying to get a deal together, and he said to call Keith [Kunz], which I’ve run for him one other time at the Chili Bowl, and I didn’t really perform the way I wanted to, so I wasn’t sure if he would let me back in one of his cars,” Stenhouse told FloRacing.
“I shot him a text, and he said, let me get on there, so here we are. Obviously, Keith has the best cars out there, and they show every night, so I’m looking forward to getting back in a Midget at the Expo to see what we can do.”
This week’s appearance at the Tulsa Expo Center will mark the 17th time that Stenhouse has competed in the Chili Bowl Nationals, in which he’s qualified for the A-Main on eight separate occasions, with three top-10s.