Chestnut, 29, is a seven-time winner who set the old record — 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — in 2009 and tied it last year. Thomas, 45, powered through 45 dogs to take the women's championship last year and also won in 2011, the first year women competed separately. Chestnut, who weighs 210 pounds, had said his pace was uneven in the past, but "this year I'm trying to eat a little more gracefully, conserve my energy."
Second-place finisher was Matt Stonie, who chomped down 51 hot dogs.
With this year's victory, Chestnut has now bested his former rival, Takeru Kobayashi, who won six times. Kobayashi competed in a different eating contest Thursday.
Thomas went toe-to-toe with Juliet Lee for the $5,000 women's prize. Thomas finished with 36 and three-quarters dogs; Lee ate 36 wieners.
Thomas said the challenge of shoveling down dozens of franks is actually "more mental than physical."
"I have to fight with myself, so I'm going to try to really focus," said Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., where she manages a fast-food restaurant.
Now in its 98th year, the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest draws crowds of thousands to marvel at contestants cramming frankfurters down their throats.
Ginger Perry, 47, of Obion County, Tenn., said she and her family planned their New York City vacation around the contest after watching it on TV in past years.
Perry was impressed that Coney Island has recovered so well from being slammed by Superstorm Sandy last October. "It's amazing to be here and that they rebuilt so quickly," she said.