2024 Chili Bowl Nationals

Abacus Racing Adds David Gravel And Michael Pickens To Chili Bowl Lineup

Abacus Racing Adds David Gravel And Michael Pickens To Chili Bowl Lineup

Abacus Racing continues to build their Chili Bowl super team, adding David Gravel and Michael Pickens to the roster that already includes Tyler Courtney.

Dec 5, 2023 by FloRacing Staff

Abacus Racing announced today that Watertown, Connecticut native David Gravel and Aukland, New Zealand native Michael Pickens will both drive for the Indianapolis based team in the 2024 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl, completing their driver line-up for the annual event. 

The team previously confirmed that Tyler Courtney would drive the No. 57 Midget for the event. 

Gravel is a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series regular, having accumulated 86 wins since his debut season in 2008. He finished second in 2023 series points, amassing 12 wins, 47 top five and 61 top 10 finishes. His driving experience also includes starts in the All Star Circuit of Champions, NASCAR Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series and USAC Silver Crown Series. 

Gravel's previous starts in the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl include an appearance in the A-Main in 2019 where he finished 18th. 

Timing of the call from Abacus Racing was almost perfect. 

“I originally had a ride (for this year’s Chili Bowl) secured when Brent (Cox, Team Principal for Abacus Racing) reached out to me,” Gravel said in a press release. “I was actually on the phone with him when I received a text that the team I was originally committed to might go down to running only two cars. At that point, I asked Brent for a few days to sort out my affairs, and once I realized that ride was gone, the deal with Abacus Racing came together.” 

At about that same time, Pickens reached out to Abacus to see if they still had a car available. 

“I talked to Johnny Cofer (Crew Member for Abacus Racing) and he said they were thinking about running a third car but the decision at that time had not been made," Pickens said. "I talked to Brent shortly thereafter who was on his way to California for the final USAC Midget Series races and he said he would have a chat with the team and be back in touch. A few more phone calls and texts and we got the deal done.” 

Gravel Hoping For Nap & Chili Bowl Prelim Win

VIDEO: Hear from David Gravel prior to his last Chili Bowl Nationals start in 2022.

Pickens also brings to Abacus an extensive racing resume that includes 10 New Zealand Midget Series championships, a New Zealand Sprint Car championship, as well as multiple USAC, POWRi and Xtreme Outlaw national midget wins. Pickens has made the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl A-Main on six previous occasions, with a best finish of third in 2011. 

"Adding David and Michael to our driver lineup along with Tyler gives us three really good chances at this year’s Chili Bowl." Cox Said. "I realize how incredibly hard it is to make the A-Main on Saturday, let alone win the Chili Bowl but having these drivers will give us some great opportunities.”

Gravel with drive car No. 58 with primary sponsorship from MPV Express while Pickens will drive car No. 59 with primary sponsorship from CRC Industries. Other sponsors for both cars include CG CPAs, Indy Custom Stone, Forecheck Marketing and Dozerz Nutz & Boltz. 

Abacus Racing just finished its first full season in the USAC National Midget Series, winning eight races on the way to a series point championship with Logan Seavey as its driver. 

The Chili Bowl Nationals begin with a practice day on January 7 leading into five night of qualifying and concluding with its feature events on January 13.

All six nights of racing can be streamed live on FloRacing.