2021 Castrol® Gateway Dirt Nationals

Indoor Season: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Indoor Season: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

The Turkey Night Grand Prix has passed and thus the next holiday takes center stage. No, not Christmas; It’s Indoor Season.

Nov 30, 2021 by FloRacing Staff

The Turkey Night Grand Prix has passed and thus the next holiday takes center stage. No, not Christmas; It’s Indoor Season – and every major event is being broadcasted exclusively LIVE on FloRacing.

December 2-4

Gateway Dirt Nationals

December 18

Jason Leffler Memorial

December 29-January 1
Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout
January 10-15

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

For a month-plus, racers and fans trade in cold and quant outdoor facilities during winter for the heated and giant buildings that host these “off-season” staples.

From St. Louis’ massive dome to Du Quoin’s tight-shaped center to the hallowed halls of the Tulsa Expo, these buildings have been creating memories and crafting legends for years. It’ll be no different this year.

The fun begins this weekend as the Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts, the brainchild of Cody Sommer, is revived following a down year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique STL special, known as #DirtInDecember since the invention in 2016, has welcomed Midgets alongside the Super Late Models and Modifieds since 2018.

In past events, Christopher Bell (2018) and Kyle Larson (2019) both preceded their Chili Bowl titles with a Gateway Dirt Nationals victory.

A week off for the PRI Trade Show will follow, but then indoor season picks right back up with the Jason Leffler Memorial moved to the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. on Saturday, December 18. The $8,000-to-win special event for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets is the final opportunity for midgets to test ‘n tune ahead of Chili Bowl.

The “Mecca of Micros” will follow, as more than 1,000 entries pile into the SageNet Center for the 37th Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout. The older cousin to the Chili Bowl, this New Year’s tradition is where Golden Driller dreams are first birthed, and the next generation makes their initial mark on the racing world.

It’s no coincidence that every Chili Bowl champion over the past decade – Kevin Swindell (2010-13), Bryan Clauson (2014), Rico Abreu (2015-16), Christopher Bell (2017-19), Kyle Larson (2020-21) – enjoyed experience and shined in one class or another at the Shootout before finding Chili Bowl glory.

Once the Shootout crowns six new champions, Matt Ward’s staff will be hard at work to re-prepare the facility for what many consider the biggest event in short track racing, the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire.

From Saturday, January 8 to Saturday, January 15, the Chili Bowl is truly a weeklong extravaganza.

It begins with move-in for teams on Saturday and Sunday, but then the real fun begins on Monday with practice, the VIROC Race of Champions, and the first of five preliminary programs.

Racing continues through Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, before the famed alphabet soup returns on Saturday and leads into the 55-lap main event with a Golden Driller on the line.

From St. Louis to Du Quoin to Tulsa, you can watch all the action on FloRacing!