Story By: HALEIGH JORDAN / BINKS MOTORSPORTS – TULSA, OK – Binks Motorsports made its Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire debut over the last week. Piloting the Champion Parts entries was Chili Bowl rookie Darin Naida and defending Silver Crown Champion Kody Swanson.
After a week of preliminary qualifying nights and one day of rising through the ladder to get to the championship race, Binks Motorsports made it up to the C-feature where its hunt for the Golden Driller ended.
The No. 3P Champion Parts car piloted by Naida is a Binks Motorsports original, utilizing a three-cylinder engine, making it lighter than the average midget engine. The No. 4P machine driven by Swanson has a four-cylinder engine. Both engines are LS-based engines that team owner Dan Binks engineered and altered to fit the specs of a midget engine.
The week-long events started for the Binks Motorsports team on Monday night with the O’Reilly Race of Champions. Swanson’s seven Silver Crown championships qualified him for the honorary race. The California-native qualified 14th with an 11.848-second lap time. Throughout the 20-lap event, Swanson charged forward four positions finishing the race in 10th place.
Naida made his Chili Bowl Nationals debut on Tuesday night, with the 16-year-old finishing third in his heat race, placing him seventh in his qualifier. A sixth-place finish in Naida’s qualifier had him starting third in the B-feature. Naida passed Damion Gardner, who ran a Binks Motorsports engine in the 2022 Chili Bowl, for a first-place finish.
The B-feature win allowed Naida to start 18th in the A-feature. The rookie’s night ended on lap two of the A-feature when a car stalled in front of him, giving him nowhere to go. The contact forced the No. 3P Champion Parts machine to the pits, ending the night early.
Wednesday saw Swanson back on track to define his starting position for Saturday’s race through the alphabet soup. Swanson maintained his starting position to finish second in his heat race. The heat race finish placed the Silver Crown Champion on the pole of his qualifier. Winning his qualifier race, Swanson started the A-feature in 11th. The Californian crossed the finish line in 13th after a lengthy red flag for an incident.
After a few days between events to continue preparations, the Binks Motorsports team returned to competition on Saturday to move through the day of features. Naida was first up for the team in the E-feature, starting eighth. Halfway through the race, a caution came out for an accident which Naida unfortunately got caught up in causing a left rear flat. Naida stopped by the work area to change his tire, forcing the rookie to restart from the 18th position. Naida worked his way back up to 12th before taking the checkered.
Swanson was up next for the two-car team in the C-feature. Starting from the 12th position, he made his way up to ninth place before a caution came out. The No. 4p Champion Parts midget car was forced to retire early due to issues with the machine.
“I am kind of new to the Chili Bowl and it is a really intense event,” said Binks, who was part of Chili Bowl campaigns the last two editions before making his team debut in 2023. “We were thrilled that Champion was a part of our effort but we wish we could have gone just a little bit further. Our drivers did a great job, and we learned a ton so hopefully we can be back here a little bit stronger next year”
Binks Motorsports’ midget team debut ended with the C-feature on the hunt to the A-feature on Saturday. The team now looks to continue building on its momentum throughout the 2023 season.