TULSA, Okla. - The 33rd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will be one of mixed emotions for the Loyet family as Brad Loyet will get behind the wheel of the Loyet Landscaping/Vacuworx No. 05 one last time before he hangs up the helmet.
Taken out of the seat in February 2018 when a wheel exploded while inflating a tire, Loyet was rushed into surgery and has since been recovering from multiple breaks that required a pair of plates in his forearm. Brad also suffered wounds to his thigh.
“The 2018 Chili Bowl was the last race I ran before I got hurt so getting back in the car, it’s all about peace of mind. Had I gone into the Chili Bowl last year having made the decision that race was going to be my last one, I would have been fine with that, but not having that choice….I’m not going out like that. Getting back in the car, I get to go out on my terms.”
A part of the Chili Bowl Nationals since 2004, the former VIROC winner has made the big show on five occasions with a best finish of 10th in 2009. Aside from Chili Bowl success, Loyet made a name for himself in both Midget and Sprint Car action, amassing a trio of Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Championships, as well as a several championship runs with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by Sawblade.com where he earned 160 A-Feature starts resulting in nine wins, 63 top-five, and 106 top-ten finishes as well as 13 ASCS Regional triumphs.
With work still to be done on his Spike/Esslinger mount, Brad will have two chances to shake down the car with Monday practice and Tuesday’s VIROC before attempting to qualify on Friday.
“I’ve been working on everything to be as comfortable in the car as possible. It’s going to be a challenge, and I’ve had some people call this decision a little selfish considering everything, but my family has been 100% behind me to get back in the car and finish this out. For everything they’ve done, I can never thank my parents, and especially my Wife enough.”
Along with his family, Brad also gave a special nod to Tony Stewart, who has been instrumental in getting Brad back in the car.
“Tony has been crucial to all of this. He’s been able to guide me to the correct people that have been able to give me the correct care and physical therapy. That’s made all the difference in allowing me to get back in the car.”
The 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire takes place January 14-19, 2019 at the Tulsa Expo Raceway, located inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For more information, visit ChiliBowl.com.