UNOH Student Takes on Chili Bowl Nationals

Posted on Monday, January 27, 2020


There are just some races that every driver wants to compete in. Daytona. Indy. Super DIRT Week, and even the Chili Bowl Nationals. For one UNOH student, Daniel Sanchez, he received that opportunity.  He competed last weekend in the internationally-known Midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma as part of Mounce Motorsports.

A few months ago, just by fate, a friend of Daniel’s happen to be scrolling through Twitter and found a post from the Mounce team that they had an seat available for this year’s event. Daniel didn’t waste any time.

“I have a friend who crews for Brady Bacon,” he said. “He sent me the Mounce Motorsports post from Twitter so I sent them a message and we got to talking.” After some discussions, a deal was put together allowing Daniel to strap into the team’s #00s Midget. For Daniel, this seemed like a dream.

Sponsorship for the car came from a lot of businesses that use to watch the fourth-generation driver at his hometown track, Lebanon Valley Speedway. “Silly’s Competition Engines, The Gorman’s, Cedar Peaks Enterprises, Snap-On and Danny Sanchez Contracting are backing our efforts,” he said. “I am so thankful for their support.”

It’s that support, along with other marketing partners, that has helped the Averill Park, New York driver transition to racing, and winning, in the Midwest at tracks like Limaland Motorsports Park, Montpellier and Eldora. It also has allowed him to experience things he’s only imagined about.

“I have dreams and they all seem to help make them reality for me,” he said. “They are absolutely amazing. When word got out that this was a possibility, there was no waiting…all wanted to be on board. It took just shy of 48 hours to put the needed sponsorship together. I can’t thank them enough. I am beyond excited for the chance to run at the Chili Bowl,” he said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m not going to be taking it for granted.”

More than 300+ entries try to make the 24-car starting A-Main field, let alone win the 34th annual event.  With such huge competition, Daniel said he was trying to keep his excitement in perspective. But arriving at the Expo Center was an amazing experience.  “When I first walked into the Tulsa Expo Center I called my parents and said this must be what it feels like in the big time. As I walked by Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Christopher Bell and several other big names who were there to compete and to watch the 34th annual Chili Bowl.”

His goal for the week was ultimately to make it to the A-Main, but to get there, he had to first make it through his provisional races. “ On Thursday, hot laps went great! The heat race I started 6th and made my way up to 5th before trying to make a pass on the high side going for 4th where I wasn’t able to get traction and when I gave up the bottom it was like a freight train on the bottom and I slipped back to finish 8th. This started me 13th in the C main that night. As we went down into turn one both 11th place and 9th place spun in front of me which damaged the front suspension and I was done for the night.”

But the weekend wasn’t over.  Saturday’s big races were just beginning. “Saturday is called Alphabet Soup Saturday. They start in the O main and work their way to the A Main Chili Bowl. I started 10th in the second M main. Starting on the outside is difficult because the track was still heavy and the inside line was preferred. I slipped back a few spots off the start and knowing that only the top 6 would transfer I knew I had to make a charge through the field. The caution case out with one lap to go and I found myself sitting in 7th spot. On the restart I felt my legs get really cold and my car lost some power. I was able to hold on to 7th spot one shy of a transfer. Come to find out one of my fuel lines came loose and drenched my legs in alcohol (fuel) which explains everything that happened in that last lap.”

Overall, even though the A-Main wasn’t in the cards for Daniel, he still is grateful for the experience, “I had an awesome time this week. I am so grateful of my sponsors, family, friends, and Mounce Motorsports for providing me this opportunity of a lifetime!”

Category: Applied Technologies

Keywords: Daniel Sanchez, Chili Bowl

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Last updated: 01/27/2020