Seavey Stops Bell’s Turnpike Challenge Perfection with OKC Score!
The Wheatley Chronicles
Lonnie Wheatley, OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (March 22, 2019) – Christopher Bell’s run of Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget series “Turnpike Challenge” perfection finally came to a halt in Friday night’s 30-lap feature event atop the 1/5-mile I-44 Riverside Speedway clay oval in Oklahoma City.
But not by much, as it took ten races over the span of six years and a Keith Kunz Motorsports stablemate to finally knock Bell off the top step of the Turnpike Challenge podium with reigning USAC National champion Logan Seavey countering a last-lap slider from Bell in turns one and two to reach victory lane by little more than a car-length.
While Seavey led the way to the green flag from the pole position, Bell had his work cut out from the outset by gridding the feature seven rows deep in the 14th position.
With Seavey setting the early pace, third-starter Cannon McIntosh moved in to pressure for the lead as Bell navigated his way through the field. And, when McIntosh’s charge was cut short after bouncing through a turn one rut and knocking the battery loose after a dozen laps, Bell was already up to sixth and then into the top five when third-running Karter Sarff ate a rival’s right rear and went for a wild turn two tumble at the midway point.
Bell worked his way to fourth on the restart and then slid past Blake Hahn for third on the 18th lap before pouncing on POWRi West rep Hank Davis for second on the race’s final restart after 22 laps. And the chase was on from there.
Bell, trying for a ninth “Turnpike Challenge” triumph in as many events, closed in on Seavey and threw a slider for the lead going into turn one on the final round. Seavey was up to the task though, diving back underneath Bell exiting turn two and then getting through the final pair of corners in perfect fashion to secure the win aboard the Toyota-powered Mobil 1 No. 67 Midget.
Bell settled for runner-up honors with Davis rounding out the podium in third while Hahn and Zeb Wise rounded out the top five. Wise rallied from the tail of the field for the fifth-place finish after spinning on the warm up lap as the feature field was aligning.
Series: POWRi National / POWRi West Midgets
Track: I-44 Riverside Speedway (Oklahoma City, OK)
Car Count: 55
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Tyler Thomas (1), Andrew Felker (2), Tye Mihocko (1), Blake Edwards (1), Wesley Smith (1), Jerry Coons, Jr. (1), Blake Hahn (2).
Heat Moments: After Kyle Jones gets upside down in turn two in the third heat, Tye Mihocko bounces back from a fireless Creek County night to hold off Hank Davis for the heat win – the Twister stopped twisting the rest of the night with mechanical problems sidelining Mihocko in both qualifier and “B” Main action; Cannon McIntosh battled past Bell for second on the final lap of the sixth heat as Coons, Jr., held both off for the win.
“C” Main Winner: Alex DeCamp.
Qualifying Race Winners (starting position in parentheses): Holley Hollan (2), Logan Seavey (7), Chris Andrews (2), Trey Marcham (2).
Qualifier Moments: Seavey rallies from seventh for the win to secure the pole position for the feature; Tough times for Cole Bodine in the second qualifier after spinning out of the second position in turn two and then flipping in the same location a couple of laps later; Brett Becker took a rough ride down the fronstretch without injury in the third qualifier.
“B” Main Winners (starting position in parentheses): Daison Pursley (4), Tanner Carrick (2).
“B” Main Moments: Pursley snookered fellow Micro Sprint moveup Kaylee Bryson on a lap five restart to win the first “B” Main with Carrick keeping Coons, Jr., at bay to win the second “B” Main; After spinning four laps into the first “B” Main, Tyler Thomas rallied from the tail to steal the third and final transfer away from Chance Morton on the final lap of the first “B” while Pennsylvania’s Alex Bright finally battled past Jake Neuman after a pair of cautions in the second “B” for the final transfer.
“A” Main Cautions: Five
12 Laps – Closing in on race leader Logan Seavey, McIntosh bounces it getting into turn one and comes to a stop minus a battery. His race was done.
14 Laps – The red flag flies when Holley Hollan flips getting into turn one and collects Kaylee Bryson in the aftermath. Both were done.
15 Laps – Zach Daum slides to a stop at the top of turn one.
Lap 16 Restart – Another red flies when third-runner Karter Sarff goes for a turn two tumble.
22 Laps – Tucker Klaasmeyer comes to a stop in turn two.
“A” Main Hard Charger: Jerry Coons, Jr., rallied from 20th to capture a seventh-place finish.
The Box Score…
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 67-Logan Seavey (1), 2. 21-Christopher Bell (14), 3. 42-Hank Davis (2), 4. 52-Blake Hahn (7), 5. 39bc-Zeb Wise (15), 6. 95-Chris Andrews (9), 7. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. (20), 8. 71-Jesse Colwell (5), 9. 21h-Brady Bacon (12), 10. 32-Trey Marcham (10), 11. 71k-Tanner Carrick (18), 12. 28-Ace McCarthy (11), 13. 9-Daison Pursley (17), 14. 44-Wesley Smith (13), 15. 56-Alex Bright (22), 16. 44s-Andrew Felker (6), 17. 91T-Tyler Thomas (21), 18. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (16), 19. 21ks-Karter Sarff (4), 20. 5d-Zach Daum (23), 21. 67k-Holley Hollan (8), 22. 11b-Kaylee Bryson (19), 23. 08-Cannon McIntosh (3).