Eddie Tafoya impresses in Chili Bowl debut - sprint cars next on the agenda

Saturday, Jan 25 619
Eddie Tafoya impresses in Chili Bowl debut - sprint cars next on the agenda Bobby Kimbrough Photos

California racing star Eddie Tafoya Jr. made a favorable impression in his midget racing debut at last week’s 34th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Through two-nights of action on the tight Tulsa Expo Center Raceway inside the River Spirit Expo Center, the newcomer stayed out of trouble and moved forward in three of his four races.

Pitted against an intimidating field comprised of 358 other drivers from various disciplines of racing including NASCAR and Indy Cars, the 22-year-old wheeled the A.J. Felker owned Specialty Fasteners FSC/Esslinger at the event that drew nearly 90,000 fans.  After a Monday afternoon practice, Tafoya took his first competitive laps in a midget in the Wednesday night preliminary show.  The 2019 USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Series “Rookie of the Year,” started sixth in his eight-lap heat race and finished eighth.  It was the only time he did not move forward during his initial Chili Bowl adventure.

The heat race finish put Tafoya in one of the night’s C mains.  This time he caught the eye of pit siders starting 10th and advancing four positions to finish sixth.  Unfortunately, the race was only 12-laps and he ran out of time before he could get to one of the transfer spots.

For Saturday’s finale, Tafoya found himself in one of the K features early in the day.  He started seventh in the 10-lapper and advanced one spot forward to book a ticket into one of the J features. 

The J feature proved to be the event newcomer’s best outing of the week.  Against a tougher field,  handsome Tafoya started dead last in the 15-car lineup and he was headed for a transfer to one of the I features.  He passed six-cars and was up to ninth, but once again, “Father Time” worked against him as the race was only 10-laps and he finished shy of the advancing positions.  However, it was a fitting way to close his first Chili Bowl with another forward performance that met with the approval of many longtime race watchers. 

With his first midget experience behind him, Tafoya will now concentrate on getting back to the friendly confines of his silver #51 sprint car for the opening of the 2020 season.  His first race will be in the USAC Southwest Series “Steve Stroud Memorial” at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona on February 14 and 15.  He will return to the same Arizona oval for the “Spring Showcase” with the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on March 6 and 7.

Tafoya and his team would like to thank the following sponsors for backing him in last year’s run to the Rookie of the Year Crown.  Specialty Fasteners, Circle Track Performance and Sprint Car Driving Experience.

Eddie Tafoya Jr. PR

Speedway Digest Staff

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