Chestnut, the great red, white and blue hope in the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes — a staggering one every 10.9 seconds before a screaming crowd in Coney Island.
"If I needed to eat another one right now, I could," the 23-year-old Californian said after receiving the mustard yellow belt emblematic of hot dog eating supremacy.
Chestnut won in a bun-zer beating performance against Kobayashi, the Japanese eating machine who recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and received chiropractic treatment due to a sore jaw. But the winner of every Nathan's hot dog competition since 2001 showed no ill effects as he stayed with Chestnut frank-for-frank until the very end of the 12-minute competition.
Kobayashi finished with 63 HDBs — hot dogs and buns eaten — in his best performance ever. His previous high in the annual competition was 53½. The all-time record before Wednesday's remarkable contest was Chestnut's 59½, set just last month.
The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut — the veins on his forehead extended — put away the final franks to end Kobayashi's reign.