Taking over as Competition Director in 2013, Matt Ward’s list of responsibilities at the Tulsa Shootout and the Chili Bowl Nationals is about to get even bigger as he takes on the role of Director of Operations at the indoor racing events.
Started by the Hahn family in 1986, the Tulsa Shootout has grown into the world’s largest Micro event. The Chili Bowl, which was co-founded by Matt’s grandfather, Emmett Hahn, has been under his guidance since he started with Lanny Edwards in 1987. Taking a step back to focus on other parts of the events, Emmett will hand the responsibility of overseeing day-to-day operations to Ward.
“Matt’s been working for the Shootout and the Chili Bowl since he was a little kid. He’s started at the bottom and has done just about every job there is and has done it well. I feel like he’s ready to take over, and oversee the events,” stated Emmett Hahn. “In no way am I done. I’ll still be there if he needs me, but he will be the boss when it comes to things getting done at the Expo.”
Ward, who until recently, was also head of the American Sprint Car Series, has overseen the events as the second in command to Emmett Hahn since 2017. From the first loads of the clay to the final clean-up, and everything that goes on between the events, Matt has been taking in everything that goes into making the events work.
“It’s not just a month-long process. These events are year-round for us,” explained Matt.
“I’m not going to change much of what I’ve already been doing; it’ll just be more on my shoulders on when, what, and where, but Emmett has always given me the backing, and corrected me when he needed to. It’s still the same families that have always been there, so it’s not like I’m coming in cold. We all know what to do, it’ll just be me making the call instead of Emmett on most things.”
The process of building the Tulsa Expo Raceway begins on Sunday, December 12, 2021. The overall timeframe for building the quarter-mile oval is just over a week, with the remainder of the time spent fine-tuning the track and working logistics around the facility. Updates on the build are posted almost daily to Facebook and Twitter.
The Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout takes place from December 29, 2021, through January 1, 2022. The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire is January 10-15, 2022. Information on both events is online at http://www.tulsashootout.com and http://www.chilibowl.com or by calling (918) 838-3777.