Bell Takes Night Three at Macon
Bell and Howard Claim Night Three of Illinois SPEED Week
June 7, 2015
Macon, IL. – Christopher Bell of Norman, Oklahoma took his fourth POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory of the 2015 season and the 19th of his career, doubling down for the third night of Illinois SPEED Week presented by Toyota at Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. Matt Howard of Lawrence, Kansas earned his first career POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series victory, becoming the fifth different winner throughout the 2015 season.
Bell, piloting a Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet started on the pole of the 30 lap feature event after claiming a heat race and qualifier win. The Norman, Oklahoma native shared the front row with teammate Tanner Thorson of Minden, Nevada. Leading the field to green, Bell was able to gain the early advantage over Thorson until Jake Neuman of New Berlin, Illinois brought out the yellow on lap 11, while Rico Abreu simultaneously spun in turns three and four. Holding control, Bell would work to stay ahead of Thorson until the red flag was brought out for the flipping car of Jake Neuman, who collected Jason McDougal.
Back to green flag racing, it became apparent that the front runners had found the rubber on the 1/5th mile Macon Speedway, as the top three led the chase towards lap traffic. The action would be slowed as contact between Brad Mosen and Hayden Williams would leave Williams’ machine parked off turn two. With the field bunched back up, the top three consisting of Bell, Thorson and Felker would start working away from the field as Alex Bright tried to work past Austin Brown for the fifth position.
On lap 24, the caution would fly for Nathan Smee’s spun machine. As the duo of Bell and Thorson ran one-two, Bright would finally capture the fifth position from Brown. With 28 laps down, Gage Walker would bring out the caution as his machine came to rest facing the opposite direction along the back stretch. Coming back to green, Thorson wouldn’t be able to challenge for the lead as Bell would cross the line in first, followed by Thorson and Felker. Coming in fourth was Darren Hagen and rounding out the top five was Alex Bright.
“You don’t know how hard to run when you’re out front, you don’t know how much to need to pace yourself to keep your tires underneath you on a race track like this,” said Christopher Bell. “Just looking forward to getting to Belleville where we can race.”
“It kind of sucks we had that last caution,” said Tanner Thorson. “I think we would have found out if we had a shot at winning this thing, but congratulations to Christopher, I love racing with him and I love racing with the Keith Kunz cars.”
“It’s a shame we didn’t have a better track,” said Andrew Felker. I kind of wore my stuff out too early. Tried to make a move on Tanner there and about ten to go the right rear started vibrating and I went into conserve mode.”
Matt Howard of Lawrence, Kansas became the fifth different winner in 2015 as he convincingly stole the 20 lap POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro feature after starting third behind Dereck King and Garrett Duff. Powering by both Duff and then race leader King, Howard would take the lead on lap three and never look back. A career-best second went to Garrett Duff of Weldon, Illinois, while Joe B. Miller took third. Nathan Benson came in fourth, and Derrik Ortega with a career-best rounded out the top five.
“This feels great,” said first time winner Matt Howard. “My dad’s not here and he helped me with the setup for tonight. And my uncle, he’s the one who did everything. I have great family and great friends to support me. It was definitely worth it to come up this weekend.”
“We jumped in the micro and tried to get a few laps and it worked out well to come here and get a top five on this track,” said Joe B. Miller. “It’s a shame we had to race on this, but I’d like to thank everybody that helps us.”
“I just want to thank all my sponsors and friends for coming out,” said Garret Duff with a career-best third place finish.
Ford Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 71 – Christopher Bell, Heat 2: 92 – Brenden Bright, Heat 3: 1NZ – Brad Mosen, Heat 4: 91T – Tyler Thomas, Heat 5: 17 – Darren Hagen, Heat 6: 22 – Andy Malpocker
Great Clips Qualifier Winners: Qualifier 1: 71 – Christopher Bell, Qualifier 2: 67 – Tanner Thorson
Toyota Feature Winner: 71 – Christopher Bell
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1. 71 – Christopher Bell 2. 67 – Tanner Thorson 3. 11A – Andrew Felker 4. 17 – Darren Hagen 5. 56 – Alex Bright 6. 39 – Spencer Bayston 7. 97K – Rico Abreu 8. 2X – Ryan Bernal 9. 22 – Andy Malpocker 10. 38 – Chase Briscoe 11. 11C – Chett Gehrke 12. 7X – Gage Walker 13. 57D – Daniel Robinson 14. 9K – Kyle Schuett 15. 27NZ – Hayden Williams 16. 1NZ – Brad Mosen 17. 7 – Austin Brown 18. 7A – Nathan Smee 19. 5C – Colten Cottle 20. 3N – Jake Neuman 21. 25M – Derrick Myers 22. 73 – Jason McDougal 23. 15 – Tim Siner
Ford Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 73 – Jason McDougal, Heat 2: 58H – Matt Ponder, Heat 3: 4 – Garrett Duff, Heat 4: 51B – Joe B Miller, Heat 5: 8H – Matt Howard, Heat 6: 37H – Nick Howard, Heat 7: 23 – Jeremy Camp
Great Clips Qualifier Winners: Qualifier 1: 1 – Dereck King, Qualifier 2: 4 – Garrett Duff, Qualifier 3: 8H – Matt Howard, Qualifier 4: 21M – Steven Shebester
Toyota Feature Winner: 8H – Matt Howard
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series Feature Results (20 laps): 1. 8H – Matt Howard 2. 4 – Garrett Duff 3. 51B – Joe B Miller 4. 2B – Nathan Benson 5. 74 – Derrik Ortega 6. 23 – Jeremy Camp 7. 38 – Evan Weyant 8. 3 – Ayrton Gennetten 9. 28 – Luke Verardi 10. 12 – Frank Galusha 11. 7C – Chris Cochran 12. 98P – Miles Paulus 13. 9 – Austin Stewart 14. 77W – Joey Wirth 15. 73 – Jason McDougal 16. 1 – Dereck King 17. 21M – Steven Shebester 18. 58H – Matt Ponder 19. 37H – Nick Howard 20. 15U – Willie Urish 21. 46 – Zac Taylor 22. 65E – Chad Elliott 23. 21A – Austin Vantoll
(Fred Zirzow Photo)