Bell Rings Up Barlow Memorial Win at Jacksonville
by Derek Schuett, JACKSONVILLE, Ill. (September 11, 2015) – Christopher Bell of Norman, Oklahoma dominantly earned his sixth POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory of 2015, taking the lead early on and never looking back.
Austin Brown of Millstadt, Illinois started on the pole in the Toyota-powered #7 BOSS Chassis, sharing the front row with Christopher Bell. At the drop of the green flag, Brown jumped into the early lead, keeping Bell and Ryan Robinson at bay. But on lap four, Bell would dive the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet to the bottom of the track entering turn one, and slide up in front of Brown to take the top spot. Coming off turn two, Brown would try to challenge, but Bell closed the door on any hopes of a challenge, taking off and setting a torrid pace.
With Bell comfortably out front, eyes would shift towards the Collinsville, Oklahoma native of Tyler Thomas as the he maneuvered the #91T through traffic with the goal of making it to the front. By lap 10 Thomas already piloted the BT Machine Esslinger-powered Spike into the sixth position from 14th. By lap 20 Thomas was knocking on the door of the top three, setting his sights on the duo of Brown and Robinson. Two laps later, Thomas would make his move, attempting a slide job on Robinson, only to fall short and clip Robinson’s front end, sending Robinson into the wall, spinning. Robinson would collect Payton Pierce and Dalton Camfield, bringing out the caution.
Coming back to green, Bell would have a comfortable margin of lap cars between himself and Austin Brown. On lap 25, Thomas would move past Brown and work to get within striking distance of Bell, only for action to be slowed as the red flag flew for Gage Walker’s upside down machine in turns three and four. Walker would be alright, but done for the remainder of the event. Jake Neuman and Mark Chisholm were also collected in the red flag incident.
After getting the field lined back up, one lap car sat between Tyler Thomas and a five lap assault on Bell. At the wave of the green flag, Bell lurched away from the field as Thomas quickly dispatched of the lap car and tried to work towards Bell, with no luck to catch him. As laps would down, Kevin Thomas, Jr. would move the #67 Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet in the third position by lap 28 to round out the top three. Darren Hagen would bring the Austin Brown # 17 Esslinger-powered BOSS Chassis home in the fourth spot, while Spencer Bayston rounded out the top five in the Priority Aviation, BCI, Esslinger-powered Spike Chassis.
“This place is so much fun to run on,” Christopher Bell explained. “You can only put on a good show if the surface allows you to and that’s what’s so fun about coming to Jacksonville. You know you’ll always get a good racetrack that can produce good racing. I’ve learned this years ago: that you’re only as good as the racecar underneath you. So I’m just really fortunate to be in good rides.”
“I’ve got to give a shout out to my dad and Duane Moore,” said Tyler Thomas. “They got me going really good on the cushion here. That was a lot of fun. The car was working really well, thanks to them. I didn’t have enough for Bell; he was pretty much on kill. But, ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda,’ if we would have started up front, I think I could have worked on him a little bit. We’ll just go onto tomorrow and try to get a W.”
“It wasn’t bad,” said Kevin Thomas, Jr. “Here these past few weeks, I’ve wrecked everything in this midget, so tonight I just wanted to finish. We ended up third and got a few cars there at the end.”
Ford Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 71K – Ryan Robinson, Heat 2: 7 – Austin Brown, Heat 3: 71- Christopher Bell
Great Clips Feature Winner: 71- Christopher Bell
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1. 71- Christopher Bell 2. 91T – Tyler Thomas 3. 67 – Kevin Thomas Jr 4. 17 – Darren Hagen 5. 39 – Spencer Bayston 6. 5X – Justin Peck 7. 7 – Austin Brown 8. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer 9. 9K – Kyle Schuett 10. 22 – Andy Malpocker 11. 7K – Robby Parish 12. 56X – Mark Chisholm 13. 86C – Dalton Camfield 14. 1K – Brayton Lynch 15. 10C – Devin Camfield 16. 7X – Gage Walker 17. 3N – Jake Neuman 18. 71K – Ryan Robinson 19. 39C – Payton Pierce 20. 11A – Andrew Felker 21. 16C – Dave Camfield Jr 22. 40 – Andy Huston 23. 57 – Brad Loyet