By Brad Heath
For years the Daytona 500 kicked off the racing season for the new year, but since 1987 the Chili Bowl has been the first big race of the new year. Past champions include names like Sammy Swindell, Dave Blaney, Tony Stewart, Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Swindell. A who’s who of drivers.
One name familiar to local racing fans is Taylor Reimer. Taylor and other Chili Bowl drivers compete against some of the biggest names in racing. NASCAR drivers like Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Rick Stenhouse Jr, J.J. Yeley, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell all compete at the Chili Bowl. The pressure of the event is heavy even on the most veteran of racers. For Reimer, a decorated driver in her own right, the race was an opportunity for her to gain more experience and push herself past her comfort zone.
“Last year I raced the Chili Bowl with minimal experience in the midget and was just getting back into racing. After getting to race the midget for the majority of 2021, I came into this year with a lot more experience and confidence in my ability as a driver. Racing in the Chili Bowl is a great opportunity for drivers to be seen because of how popular the event is. I knew I needed to perform my best and although I was disappointed with the overall outcome, I am happy with the progress I have made over the year,” said Reimer.
A graduate of Bixby High School in 2018 and former Spartan cheerleader, Reimer is now a junior at the University of Oklahoma where she carries a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the cheer team. The notoriety gained from the Chili Bowl was fun, but her focus never changed.
“I really don’t feel like the attention has changed anything for me. I am focused on performing to the best of my ability and am aware there are people watching me. I enjoy the overall support from fans and love getting to meet new people at the races,” said Reimer.
Only time will tell where this midget racer will end up. Graduating from OU is a top priority, but racing could be the future for the rising star.