INDIANAPOLIS — Dillon Welch will pilot the No. 58 Abacus Racing entry in the 2023 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl.
Welch, a veteran broadcaster with NBC, the MRN Radio Network and former voice of USAC, is excited to get another opportunity for a Golden Driller.
“Dirt racing is something that I love and am very passionate about. For me, the pinnacle of that is the Chili Bowl. It is something I look forward to every year and to be able to do it again is special,” said Welch, who has participated in the event since 2013 and has made the coveted A-Main twice, including the most recent Chili Bowl in 2022.
For Abacus Racing, putting Welch in one of their entries adds to a list of drivers who have driven for the team in its first full year of competition.
Current Xfinity Series driver Sheldon Creed drove for the team at this year’s BC39, while Justin Grant drove for the team at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in October.
2018 USAC Midget Series Champion Logan Seavey is driving for the team for the last 7 races in California as a teammate to rookie talent Daniel Whitley. Adding Welch to its list of drivers is something the team is very proud of.
“When forming Abacus Racing, Dillon was someone I wanted to work with and had in mind when the team was first formed,” said Brent Cox, Team Principal for Abacus Racing. “However, he had just come off of a pretty bad Chili Bowl event (in 2021) and had hinted he was not going to race anymore. However, he decided to keep going and made the A-Main in 2022. Then Dillon and I started talking and he hinted he wanted to run at it again and I asked him if he would be willing to drive for us and he said he would. That brings it full circle for me.”
Co-host of the Loudpedal Podcast, Dillon had kept tabs on the team since its inception and was familiar with the progress they had made in their first year.
“I think I was one of the first people Brent called to tell me about the team and that Maria (Cofer) was going to drive for him,” Welch said. “Being friends with both of them and being in the industry, I couldn’t help but watch their progress. Obviously I’ve liked what I have seen so far.”
Maria Cofer recently stepped away from driving due to health concerns. Her father, Johnny Cofer, who will continue to stay involved with the team, was thrilled at the opportunity to work with Dillon.
“I was like ‘Heck yeah’ let’s run Dillon. He is so good there and that would be awesome to have him run for us” said Cofer. “Dillon does not race as much as a lot of the people that show up for the Chili Bowl, but he just understands how to get around that place really well.”
Driving a Spike Chassis powered by a Stanton SR-11x motor, the team feels it has the package to be competitive.
“Last year, they had a really good car,” Welch said. “Maria was driving in the same qualifying race as me and was doing well but got caught out by a spinning car that ended her night. Which is the toughest thing about the Chili Bowl. To make that A-Main everything has to go right for you. That is what makes the race so special.”
The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will begin on January 8, 2023 with practice with qualifying nights starting on January 9 and concluding with its feature events on January 14, 2023.