Christopher Bell Keeps the Streak Alive in Turnpike Challenge Opener

The Wheatley Chronicles

Lonnie Wheatley, SAPULPA, Okla. (March 21, 2019) – Christopher Bell has been perfect in Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget “Turnpike Challenge” competition over the past five years with eight wins in as many starts.

It’s a stat that didn’t change during Thursday’s opening leg of the four-race set, with Bell reeling off his ninth consecutive Turnpike Challenge score over a stout field of 59 at the cozy confines of Creek County Speedway.

Bell spent the early portion of the 30-lap feature chasing down Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Tanner Carrick before battling into the lead on the 13th lap and then dismissing respective chasers Logan Seavey and Zeb Wise to secure the win in the series’ season-opening event.

“That was fun,” Bell exclaimed in victory lane.  “The track got really tricky in the feature, especially the way that ledge built up.”

Bell gridded the feature field third aboard the Toyota-powered Spectra Premium No. 21 entry and quickly moved into second behind teammate Carrick.

Bell kept the pressure on as traffic came into play and took advantage by racing past Carrick for the point on the 13th round, with Carrick spinning to a stop in turn one after the duo made contact.

“I feel bad for Carrick on that one, I chopped him getting into the corner,” Bell commented afterward.

Once out front, Clauson-Marshall rep Zeb Wise tried to pressure Bell for the point until defending USAC Midget champ Logan Seavey slid by for second on the 22nd round.  With Bell slipping away to a half straightaway advantage over the closing circuits, Wise returned the favor on Seavey by recapturing the runner-up position on the white-flag lap.

Seavey rounded out the podium behind Bell and Wise with Tyler Thomas racing from 11th fourth and defending series champion Tucker Klaasmeyer rallying from 23rd to round out the top five after utilizing a provisional to start the main event.

The Vitals

Series:  POWRi National / POWRi West Midgets

Track:  Creek County Speedway (Sapulpa, OK)

Car Count:  59

Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Tanner Carrick (4), Christopher Bell (4), Logan Seavey (2), Jonathan Beason (3), Karter Sarff (1), Alex Sewell (1), Andrew Layser (1).

Heat Moments:  Keith Kunz Motorsports strung together three consecutive wins to kick off the Turnpike Challenge with Carrick, Bell and Seavey topping the initial three heats before Hard Eight’s Beason bested the fourth heat; Sam Johnson led the opening lap of the fourth heat before spinning out of the lead in turn three and then flipping in turn one on the restart; After another car got out of shape as the green flag flew on heat six with Jesse Colwell then getting upside down on the frontstretch – he continued on.

“C” Main Winner:  Zac Moody (1).

Qualifying Race Winners (starting position in parentheses): Trey Marcham (3), Tanner Carrick (6), Cannon McIntosh (3), Ace McCarthy (2).

Qualifier Moments:  Outstanding action in qualifiers was slowed by one red flag when Tucker Klaasmeyer dumped it in turn two in the second qualifier.  He returned for “B” Main action only to miss a transfer by one position, but he made the most of a provisional.

“B” Main Winners (starting position in parentheses):  Holley Hollan (1), Karter Sarff (3).

“A” Main Cautions:  Six

12 Laps – Tanner Carrick spins in turn one after contact with Bell while dicing for the lead.  Carrick rejoined at the tail.

14 Laps – Holding down third position, Trey Marcham flips in turn two to precipitate a red flag.

16 Laps – Battling with Ace McCarthy for sixth, Cannon McIntosh slows with a flat right rear tire.  He rejoins after a quick change.

18 Laps – Holley Hollan spins to a stop in turn one.

22 Laps – McCarthy spins to a stop in turn three after throwing a slider at Jonathan Beason for fourth.

27 Laps – The fifth caution of the race for a top-five contender flies when Beason spins in turn four.

“A” Main Hard Charger:  Tucker Klaasmeyer sliced through the field from 23rd to fifth.

The Box Score…

Heat One (8 Laps):  1. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 2. 67k-Holley Hollan, 3. 91-Kevin Bayer, 4. 32-Trey Marcham, 5. 9h-Emilio Hoover, 6. 11b-Kaylee Bryson, 7. 5T-Presley Truedson, 8. 98-Ryan Padgett, 9. 23x-Grady Chandler.


Heat Two (8 Laps):  1. 21-Christopher Bell, 2. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 4. 35-Sterling Cling, 5. 7m-Chance Morton, 6. 9-Daison Pursley, 7. 84m-Alex DeCamp, 8. 2b-Brett Becker, 9. 88w-Dustin Weland.


Heat Thee (8 Laps):  1. 67-Logan Seavey, 2. 44-Wesley Smith, 3. 8m-Kade Morton, 4. 17-Austin Brown, 5. 56-Alex Bright, 6. 20g-Noah Gass, 7. 9x-Tyler Shoemaker, 8. 75-Ryan Truitt, 9. F5-Tye Mihocko.


Heat Four (8 Laps):  1. 8J-Jonathan Beason, 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas, 3. 44s-Andrew Felker, 4. 17b-Ryan Bickett, 5. 17e-Blake Edwards, 6. 42-Hank Davis, 7. 3h-Mitchell Davis, 8. 19J-Sam Johnson.


Heat Five (8 Laps):  1. 21ks-Karter Sarff, 2. 39bc-Zeb Wise, 3. 5d-Zach Daum, 4. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 5. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. 4m-Michelle Decker, 7. 10-John Hunt, 8. 14x-Jody Rosenboom.


Heat Six (8 Laps):  1. 8-Alex Sewell, 2. 56x-Mark Chisholm, 3. 10b-Lance Bennett, 4. 3n-Jake Neuman, 5. 15L-Merril Lamb, 6. 77b-Olivia Bennett, 7. 14e-Kyle Jones, 8. 71-Jesse Colwell.


Heat Seven (8 Laps):  1. 47bc-Andrew Layser, 2. 28-Ace McCarthy, 3. 52-Blake Hahn, 4. 21h-Brady Bacon, 5. 15-Cole Bodine, 6. 15d-Andrew Deal, 7. 17z-Zac Moody, 8. 4c-Luke Howard.


“C” Feature (10 Laps – 4 Transfer):  1. 17z-Zac Moody, 2. 4m-Michelle Decker, 3. 10-John Hunt, 4. 84m-Alex DeCamp, 5. 14e-Kyle Jones, 6. 3h-Mitchell Davis, 7. 14x-Jody Rosenboom, 8. 19J-Sam Johnson, 9. 9x-Tyler Shoemaker, 10. 75-Ryan Truitt, 11. 2b-Brett Becker, 12. 4c-Luke Howard, 13. 77b-Olivia Bennett, 14. 71-Jesse Colwell, 15. 5T-Presley Truedson, 16. 98-Ryan Padgett (DNS), 17. 23x-Grady Chandler (DNS), 18. 88w-Dustin Weland (DNS), 19. F5-Tye Mihocko (DNS).


First Qualifier (10 Laps):  1 32-Trey Marcham, 2. 39bc-Zeb Wise, 3. 3n-Jake Neuman, 4. 21h-Brady Bacon, 5, 20g-Noah Gass, 6. 44-Wesley Smith, 7. 10b-Lance Bennett, 8. 17e-Blake Edwards, 9. 91-Kevin Bayer, 10. 9h-Emilio Hoover.


Second Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 2. 8J-Jonathan Beason, 3. 67k-Holley Hollan, 4. 44s-Andrew Felker, 5. 15-Cole Bodine, 6. 21ks-Karter Sarff, 7. 56-Alex Bright, 8. 15L-Merril Lamb, 9. 17-Austin Brown, 10. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer.


Third Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 2. 21-Christopher Bell, 3. 52-Blake Hahn, 4. 5d-Zach Daum, 5. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. 15d-Andrew Deal, 7. 8-Alex Sewell, 8. 8m-Kade Morton, 9. 9-Daison Pursley, 10. 56x-Mark Chisholm.


Fourth Qualifier (10 Laps):  1. 28-Ace McCarthy, 2. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 67-Logan Seavey, 4. 47bc-Andrew Layser, 5. 91T-Tyler Thomas, 6. 35-Sterling Cling, 7. 42-Hank Davis, 8. 7m-Chance Morton, 9. 11b-Kaylee Bryson, 10. 17b-Ryan BIckett.


“B” Feature One (12 Laps – 3 Transfer):  1. 67k-Holley Hollan, 2. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 91-Kevin Bayer, 4. 56-Alex Bright, 5. 44-Wesley Smith, 6. 10b-Lance Bennett, 7. 17e-Blake Edwards, 8. 9-Daison Pursley, 9. 10-John Hunt, 10. 15d-Andrew Deal, 11. 7m-Chance Morton, 12. 17z-Zac Moody, 13. 11b-Kaylee Bryson, 14. 9h-Emilio Hoover.


“B” Feature Two (12 Laps – 3 Transfer):  1. 21ks-Karter Sarff, 2. 42-Hank Davis, 3. 15-Cole Bodine, 4. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 5. 8-Alex Sewell, 6. 20g-Noah Gass, 7. 35-Sterling Cling, 8. 17b-Ryan Bickett, 9. 8m-Kade Morton, 10. 4m-Michelle Decker, 11. 15L-Merril Lamb, 12. 84m-Alex DeCamp, 13. 17-Austin Brown, 14. 56x-Mark Chisholm.


“A” Feature (30 Laps):  1. 21-Christopher Bell (3), 2. 39bc-Zeb Wise (2), 3. 67-Logan Seavey (7), 4. 91T-Tyler Thomas (11), 5. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (23), 6. 3n-Jake Neuman (10), 7. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr. (19), 8. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. (9), 9. 21ks-Karter Sarff (18), 10. 47bc-Andrew Layser (14), 11. 71k-Tanner Carrick (1), 12. 21h-Brady Bacon (12), 13. 5d-Zach Daum (16), 14. 52-Blake Hahn (13), 15. 08-Cannon McIntosh (6), 16. 44s-Andrew Felker (15), 17. 67k-Holley Hollan (17), 18. 8J-Jonathan Beason (4), 19. 28-Ace McCarthy (8), 20. 15-Cole Bodine (22), 21. 42-Hank Davis (20), 22. 32-Trey Marcham (5), 23. 91-Kevin Bayer (21), 24. 44-Wesley Smith (24).