Christopher Bell Right at Home in Turnpike Challenge Opener
The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume VI, No. 2
Lonnie Wheatley, OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (March 23, 2018) – There’s no place like home. At least that was the case for Christopher Bell in Friday night’s POWRi Midget Fifth Annual “Turnpike Challenge” opener atop the 1/5-mile I-44 Riverside Speedway clay oval.
After starting tenth, Bell rallied past Zeb Wise for the lead on the 18th round en route to victory lane at the track where it all began for the Norman, OK, ace. It was Bell’s seventh triumph in nine editions of Turnpike Challenge history.
“It’s awesome to come back to my home track and win and it’s even better that this track is so much fun to race on,” the two-time and reigning Chili Bowl champion and current NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie-of-the-Year contender commented in victory lane.
Bell had to work for it though after posting a convincing heat race win from the pole starting position. Gridding the feature five rows deep, Bell had to work through the field and then chase down early pacesetters Wise, Tyler Thomas and Zach Daum.
With Bell beginning his march, Wise outdueled Thomas and Daum for the point in the opening pair of corners and set the pace as Bell cracked the top five by the fifth round and then moved the Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota-powered JBL No. 21 entry into third by the seventh round.
Dicing through traffic on a 20-lap green flag stretch after a lap two caution, Bell slid into second and then chased down Wise for the point with a dozen laps remaining.
The race took a turn in Bell’s wake just four laps later when Wise pulled his CMR entry to the infield and then Thomas looped it in turn two. With the second and third place runners both encountering problems, KKM rep Logan Seavey moved up to second albeit four lapped cars separated him from the race leader.
Seavey had just one lapped car remaining when a final caution flew with two laps remaining, but there was too little time to mount a charge on Bell.
“The track was great, you could move around wherever you needed to,” Bell explained. “I had to use the bottom some early and then this place is really fun when it’s on the top like that.”
Seavey settled for second from the 16th starting position after advancing from “B” Main action while Jason McDougal charged through the field to claim the show position after starting 18th. Daum crossed the stripe fourth with Ryan Robinson rounding out the top five after starting 23rd.
Thomas, Scott Sawyer, Andrew Felker, Wise, Karter Sarff, Daum, Bell and Marcham topped heat race action for the 64-car field. Dustin Weland and Kade Morton won “C” Mains with Tyler Courtney and Blake Hahn topping “B” Mains.
Series: POWRi National / POWRi West Midgets
Track: I-44 Riverside Speedway (Oklahoma City, OK)
Car Count: 64
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Thomas (2), Sawyer (1), Felker (1), Wise (4), Sarff (2), Daum (5), Bell (1) and Marcham (3).
“C” Main Winners: Weland (8), K. Morton (2)
“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses): Courtney (2), Hahn (3).
“A” Main Cautions: Three
2 Laps – Tyler Courtney bikes it in three and comes to a stop on the frontstretch with suspension problems. Courtney returns after a quick stop to the work area.
22 Laps – Tyler Thomas clips an infield tire and spins in turn two just as Zeb Wise pulls to the infield with issues.
28 Laps – Karter Sarff and Andrew Felker get tangled up in turn four.
“A” Main Hard Charger: Ryan Robinson rallied 18 positions from 23rd to round out the top five.
The Box Score…
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 91T-Tyler Thomas, 2. 67-Logan Seavey, 3. 71-Ryan Robinson, 4. 7bc-Tyler Courtney, 5. 8J-Jonathan Beason, 6. 44-Wesley Smith, 7. 77w-Joey Wirth, 8. 24-Hunter Fischer.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 21h-Scott Sawyer, 2. 37x-Michael Faccinto, 3. 9$-Kyle Clark, 4. 4b-Ty Hulsey, 5. 14x-Jody Rosenboom, 6. 15-Alison Slaton, 7. 42-Hank Davis, 8. 97F-Jesse Fernandez.
Heat Thee (8 Laps): 1. 7F-Andew Felker, 2. 52-Blake Hahn, 3. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 4. 73-Jason McDougal, 5. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 6. 96-Cody Brewer, 7. 9-Matt Moore, 8. 2s-Travis Scott.
Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 39bc-Zeb Wise, 2. 28-Kory Schudy, 3. 00c-Chris Cochran, 4. 5T-Presley Truedson, 5. 67k-Holly Shelton, 6. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 7. 4m-Michelle Decker, 8. 59-Austin Shores.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 21ks-Karter Sarff, 2. 00-Grady Chandler, 3. 2-Luke Icke, 4. 79-Blake Carrick, 5. 3n-Jake Neuman, 6. 9u-Doug McCune, 7. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 8. 88-Dustin Weland.
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 5d-Zach Daum, 2. 7jr-Holley Holland, 3. 80-Josh Hawkins, 4. 5b-Bobby Brewer, 5. 14-Harley Hollan, 6. 8m-Kade Morton, 7. 72-Sam Johnson, 8. 14r-Randy Brands.
Heat Seven (8 Laps): 1. 21-Christopher Bell, 2. 23-Hannah Adair, 3. 721-Brendon Wiseley, 4. 71T-Zac Taylor, 5. 10-Lance Bennett, 6. 19-Pierce Urbanosky, 7. 84-Shaun Shapel, 8. 9h-Emilio Hoover.
Heat Eight (8 Laps): 1. 32-Trey Marcham, 2. 37-Terry Babb, 3. 28m-Ace McCarthy, 4. 7m-Chance Morton, 5. 27b-A.J. Burns, 6. 5m-Alex DeCamp, 7. 77-Payton Pierce, 8. 10b-Blaze Bennett.
“C” Feature One (10 Laps – 2 Transfer): 1. 88-Dustin Weland, 2. 96-Cody Brewer, 3. 10-Lance Bennett, 4. 24-Hunter Fischer, 5. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 6. 19-Pierce Urbanosky, 7. 77-Payton Pierce, 8. 97F-Jesse Fernandez, 9. 77w-Joey Wirth, 10. 10b-Blaze Bennett, 11. 72-Sam Johnson, 12. 27b-A.J. Burns.
“C” Feature Two (10 Laps – 2 Transfer): 1. 8m-Kade Morton, 2. 4m-Michelle Decker, 3. 84-Shaun Shapel, 4. 2s-Travis Scott, 5. 42-Hank Davis, 6. 9u-Doug McCune, 7. 14r-Randy Brands, 8. 9h-Emilio Hoover, 9. 9-Matt Moore, 10. 8J-Jonathan Beason, 11. 59-Austin Shores.
“B” Feature One (12 Laps – 5 Transfer): 1. 7bc-Tyler Courtney, 2. 00c-Chris Cochran, 3. 7m-Chance Morton, 4. 5m-Alex DeCamp, 5. 28-Kory Schudy, 6. 71-Ryan Robinson, 7. 14x-Jody Rosenboom, 8. 79-Blake Carrick, 9. 4b-Ty Hulsey, 10. 96-Cody Brewer, 11. 88-Dustin Weland, 12. 3n-Jake Neuman, 13. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 14. 7jr-Holley Hollan, 15. 5b-Bobby Brewer, 16. 9$-Kyle Clark, 17. 15-Alison Slaton.
“B” Feature Two (12 Laps – 5 Transfer): 1. 52-Blake Hahn, 2. 67-Logan Seavey, 3. 73-Jason McDougal, 4. 67k-Holley Shelton, 5. 37-Terry Babb, 6. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 7. 28m-Ace McCarthy, 8. 44-Wesley Smith, 9. 80-Josh Hawkins, 10. 8m-Kade Morton, 11. 4m-Michelle Decker, 12. 71T-Zac Taylor, 13. 721-Brendon Wiseley, 14. 5T-Presley Truedson, 15. 2-Luke Icke, 16. 14-Harley Hollan.
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 21-Christopher Bell (10), 2. 67-Logan Seavey (16), 3. 73-Jason McDougal (18), 4. 5d-Zach Daum (1), 5. 71-Ryan Robinson (23), 6. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (12), 7. 32-Trey Marcham (3), 8. 37-Terry Babb (22), 9. 00-Grady Chandler (11), 10. 52-Blake Hahn (14), 11. 91T-Tyler Thomas (4), 12. 67k-Holly Shelton (20), 13. 00c-Chris Cochran (15), 14. 28-Kory Schudy (21), 15. 21h-Scott Sawyer (8), 16. 21k-Karter Sarff (5), 17. 7f-Andrew Felker (9), 18. 23-Hannah Adair (7), 19. 7bc-Tyler Courtney (13), 20. 39bc-Zeb Wise (2), 21. 44-Wesley Smith (24), 22. 37x-Michael Faccinto (6), 23. 5m-Alex DeCamp (19), 24. 7m-Chance Morton (17).
A part of the recurring “The Wheatley Chronicles” series of articles on www.sprintcarmania.com, the Open Wheel Power Rankings are determined by cumulative points based on a sliding scale dependent upon car count at Sprint Car and Midget events across all sanctions and non-sanctions throughout North America.
The Wheatley Chronicles brings insight and highlights from all variety of racing series throughout the nation in 2018 and beyond along with the Open Wheel Power Rankings. Please send any comments, questions or advertising inquiries regarding The Wheatley Chronicles at www.sprintcarmania.com to Lonnie Wheatley at firstname.lastname@example.org.