Bell Rings Up Port City Perfection
The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume III, No. 18
Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (March 21, 2015) – Christopher Bell remained undefeated in POWRi National Midget competition atop the high-banked, 1/8-mile Port City Raceway clay oval by racing to victory lane in Saturday night’s 40-lap Turnpike Challenge finale.
After wrestling the lead away from Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Kevin Thomas, Jr., on the eighth circuit, Bell dominated the rest of the way to post the win in the Toyota-powered No. 71 Bullet ahead of Jonathan Beason and Zach Daum.
“This place has been good to me the last couple of years, we’re four-for-four now with the Midget,” the Norman, OK, native said after sweeping the Turnpike Challenge for the second year in a row. “The only race I’ve lost here was the Micro race last year when I got my butt kicked.”
While Bell led Saturday’s feature field to the green flag from the pole position, stablemate Thomas, Jr., nabbed the early lead from the front row outside.
Bell kept the pressure on though, racing by on the eighth lap and never looking back as he taunted the formidable cushion in the event slowed by cautions just twice. On both occasions, Bell had several lapped cars between himself and his chasers, making the fleet Bell virtually unchallengeable.
“It was pretty wild, I know at least a couple of times all the fans got to see my belly pan in turn three,” Bell explained of a couple of close calls on the top side. “The key was cleaning it off under the cautions so that I still had something to run on up there.”
While Bell was in command, the battle for position behind him was intense with KT spinning from second after 17 laps. Blake Hahn assumed second and battled with Hard Eight Racing teammate Beason until Andrew Felker fought his way past both for second by the time the final caution flew with just six laps to go.
But when Felker stumbled on the restart, Beason pounced on the opportunity to take runner-up honors while reigning series champ Zach Daum gained a pair of positions in the final rounds to complete the podium.
Hahn settled for fourth with Felker rounding out the top five.
Series: POWRi Midgets
Track: Port City Raceway (Tulsa, OK)
Car Count: 66
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Jonathan Beason (2), Christopher Bell (4), Kyle Schuett (2), Tucker Klaasmeyer (2), Travis Scott (2), Kyle Clark (1), Andrew Felker (2), Daniel Robinson (1), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4).
Heat Moments: The nine heat races ran off relatively incident free in comparison to Turnpike Challenge Night one, with Bell and Thomas, Jr., accumulating the most points by both winning their heats from fourth.
Non-Qualifier Winners (starting position in parentheses): Chad Frewaldt (1), Tony Bruce, Jr. (1).
Qualifying Race Winners (starting position in parentheses): Christopher Bell (1), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), Blake Hahn (11).
Qualifying Race Moments: Terry Babb battled for the top spot early before Bell took command, while Andrew Deal rebounded from an opening lap incident to take the seventh and final transfer from David Stephenson on the final round of the first qualifier. A pair of black 67 cars, Thomas, Jr., and Tanner Thorson, battled for the point throughout the second 20-lapper with KT ultimately posting the win. Blake Hahn rallied from 11th to win the third qualifier while Payton Pierce took the seventh position after working his way from 12th to third in Non-Qualifier action.
“A” Main Cautions: Only two main event cautions for the second night in a row. The first flew after 17 laps when Thomas, Jr., spun in turn one with the second flying another 17 laps later when Brad Loyet slid to a stop in turn four with several other cars stacking up on the frontstretch moments later.
“A” Main Hard Charger: The top point earner not to advance through the qualifying races, Kevin Battles made the most of the 22nd starting position by advancing ten positions to finish 12th.
The Box Score…
Heats… Top 39 in Passing Points to 3 Qualifiers, Balance to 2 Non-Qualifiers
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 8J-Jonathan Beason, 2. 39-Spencer Bayston, 3. 35-Matt Sherrell, 4. 5c-Colten Cottle, 5. 52-Anton Hernandez, 6. 68-John Hunt, 7. 3n-Jake Neuman, 8. 24-Hunter Fischer.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 71-Christopher Bell, 2. 22d-David Stephenson, 3. 67-Tanner Thorson, 4. 7-Austin Brown, 5. 83-Johnathan Halford, 6. 8m-Kade Morton, 7. 7x-Jordan McPherson, 8. 1ou-A.J. Burns.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 9k-Kyle Schuett, 2. 3T-Kevin Battles, 3. 5$-Danny Smith, 4. 96-Cody Brewer, 5. 44x-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 88n-Tyler Nelson, 7. 12J-Jay Mounce, 8. 93k-Riley Kreisel.
Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 2. 88-Terry Babb, 3. 97-Ryan Robinson, 4. 16-Nigel Calvert, 5. 23-Hannah Adair, 6. 9u-Doug McCune, 7. 59-Grady Chandler.
Heat Five (10 Laps): 1. 17T-Travis Scott, 2. 5-Zach Daum, 3. 11c-Chett Gehrke, 4. 14e-Eric Fenton, 5. 4F-Chad Frewaldt, 6. 8-Alex Sewell, 7. 18p-Payton Pierce.
Heat Six (10 Laps): 1. 9$-Kyle Clark, 2. 5x-Justin Peck, 3. 2-Seth Motsinger, 4. 4c-Chadd Howell, 5. 77k-Katlynn Leer, 6. 313-Mitchell Frewaldt, 7. 89-Nick Bailey.
Heat Seven (10 Laps): 1. 11a-Andrew Felker, 2. 17-Darren Hagen, 3. O5-Brad Loyet, 4. 17e-Blake Edwards, 5. 7m-Chance Morton, 6. 7jr-Robert Black, 7. 87c-Coby Hughes.
Heat Eight (10 Laps): 1. 3r-Daniel Robinson, 2. 22-Andy Malpocker, 3. 87F-Andrew Deal, 4. 14r-Jody Rosenboom, 5. 4m-Michelle Decker, 6. 62-Jacob Davis, 7. 12m-Tyler Shoemaker.
Heat Nine (10 Laps): 1. 67k-Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. 3F-Geoff Ensign, 3. 21-Ty Hulsey, 4. 8k-Blake Hahn, 5. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. 75-Tommy Barber, 7. 6r-Colin Smith.
First Non-Qualifier (15 Laps – 3 advance to Qualifiers): 1. 4F-Chad Frewaldt, 2. 3n-Jake Neuman, 3. 8-Alex Sewell, 4. 8m-Kade Morton, 5. 313-Mitchell Frewaldt, 6. 24-Hunter Fischer, 7. 12J-Jay Mounce, 8. 12m-Tyler Shoemaker, 9. 6r-Colin Smith, 10. 77k-Katlynn Leer, 11. 1ou-A.J. Burns, 12. 7jr-Robert Black, 13. 4m-Michelle Decker, 14. 89-Nick Bailey.
Second Non-Qualifier (15 Laps – 3 advance to Qualifiers): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 59-Grady Chandler, 3. 18p-Payton Pierce, 4. 23-Hannah Adair, 5. 83-Johnathan Halford, 6. 93k-Riley Kreisel, 7. 68-John Hunt, 8. 88n-Tyler Nelson, 9. 75-Tommy Barber, 10. 87c-Coby Hughes, 11. 62-Jacob Davis, 12. 7x-Jordan McPherson, 13. 9u-Doug McCune.
First Qualifier (20 Laps – Top 7 advance to “A” Main): 1. 71-Christopher Bell, 2. 88-Terry Babb, 3. 5x-Justin Peck, 4. 39-Spencer Bayston, 5. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 6. 35-Matt Sherrell, 7. 87F-Andrew Deal, 8. 22d-David Stephenson, 9. 11c-Chett Gehrke, 10. 3r-Daniel Robinson, 11. 5$-Danny Smith, 12. 14r-Jody Rosenboom, 13. 59-Grady Chandler, 14. 4f-Chad Frewaldt, 15. 14e-Eric Fenton.
Second Qualifier (20 Laps – Top 7 advance to “A” Main): 1. 67k-Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. 67-Tanner Thorson, 3. 8j-Jonathan Beason, 4. 17-Darren Hagen, 5. O5-Brad Loyet, 6. 21-Ty Hulsey, 7. 96-Cody Brewer, 8. 4c-Chadd Howell, 9. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 10. 44x-Don Droud, Jr., 11. 17e-Blake Edwards, 12. 5c-Colten Cottle, 13. 8-Alex Sewell, 14. 17T-Travis Scott, 15. 22-Andy Malpocker.
Third Qualifier (20 Laps – Top 7 advance to “A” Main): 1. 8k-Blake Hahn, 2. 5-Zach Daum, 3. 9k-Kyle Schuett, 4. 11a-Andrew Felker, 5. 2-Seth Motsinger, 6. 7-Austin Brown, 7. 18p-Payton Pierce, 8. 97-Ryan Robinson, 9. 3F-Geoff Ensign, 10. 52-Anton Hernandez, 11. 3n-Jake Neuman, 12. 3T-Kevin Battles, 13. 16-Nigel Calvert, 14. 7m-Chance Morton, 15. 9$-Kyle Clark.
“A” Main Finish (40 Laps): 1. 71-Christopher Bell (1), 2. 8J-Jonathan Beason (8), 3. 5-Zach Daum (6), 4. 8k-Blake Hahn (3), 5. 11a-Andrew Felker (12), 6. 17-Darren Hagen (11), 7. 67-Tanner Thorson (5), 8. 9k-Kyle Schuett (9), 9. 39-Spencer Bayston (10), 10. 67k-Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2), 11. 7-Austin Brown (18), 12. 3T-Kevin Battles (22), 13. 88-Terry Babb (4), 14. 18p-Payton Pierce (21), 15. 87f-Andrew Deal (19), 16. O5-Brad Loyet (14), 17. 35-Matt Sherrell (16), 18. 2-Seth Motsinger (15), 19. 5x-Justin Peck (7), 20. 21-Ty Hulsey (17), 21. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (13), 22. 96-Cody Brewer (20).
Lap leaders: Kevin Thomas, Jr. 1-7, Christopher Bell 8-40.