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Christopher Bell Captures 9th Annual Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon Speedway

Christopher Bell celebrates Lou Blaney Memorial victory. (Vince Vellella Photo)

From Tyler Altmeyer

HARTFORD, OH (July 8, 2017) – Becoming the ninth different winner in nine contested events, Christopher Bell scored the 9th Annual Lou Blaney Memorial victory at Sharon Speedway, this time leading all 30 circuits around the Hartford 3/8-mile oval to score $5,000. For Bell, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions victory was the second of his young career and his first since July of 2016, earning the Dirt Classic Indiana preliminary win at Kokomo Speedway. On a special note, Bell’s Lou Blaney Memorial triumph occurred during the 100th Arctic Cat All Star visit to Sharon Speedway.

The Norman, Oklahoma, native started second on the Lou Blaney Memorial grid and took command instantly, ultimately lapping up to the ninth position, crossing under the final checkers 1.03 seconds ahead of the “Brownsburg Bullet” Joey Saldana and defending Arctic Cat All Star champion, Chad Kemenah.

“I just want to thank all of you fans for coming out here tonight,” Christopher Bell said in victory lane. “It’s a pleasure to drive in front of a crowd like this. You guys are the reason why we are out here. It’s a true honor to be able to win this race. It means so much to me. I think sprint cars have kinda been the downfall of my career, so I’m glad to prove to all of you fans that I can be a great sprint car driver, too.”

Bell survived three cautions during his campaign at the front of the field, extending his advantage to nearly three seconds during certain segments of the main event. Even when traffic intensified, the pilot of the Dough-Si-Dough/Linder’s Speed Equipment/No. 11N was flawless, maneuvering by two to three cars at a time.

“The track was really technical up there on the wall,” Christopher Bell said. “It made it pretty easy to screw up and crash, so I’m thankful that didn’t happen. Some of the lapped cars would get going on the top, but when I got to them they would drop down. I was glad to build up a lead because I did screw up a couple of times, but nobody was able to show me a nose.”

Saldana, who started on the outside of row two, moved his way into second by lap two. At one point, the Brownsburg, Indiana, native successfully used traffic to chase down Bell, nearly erasing all of his lead just before the halfway point. A caution on lap 22 would give Saldana his best chance at getting by Bell, but Bell’s route around the outer ring of the speedway proved to be too much of an upper hand.

“There was a little bit of grip at the exit of four, but I probably should have waited until the end to use it instead of right after that last restart,” Joey Saldana said, pilot of the Indy Race Parts/No. 71. “Bell is good. He’s always winning in something, so to be second to him is a good night. I really enjoy racing with the All Stars. Hopefully Bernie and I can come back out here and do it again soon.”

With many of the Series regulars making the trek to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, for the 34th Annual Kings Royal on July 13-15, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will not return to competition until Friday, July 21, when the Series kicks-off the second-ever I-79 Summer Shootout in Western Pennsylvania. Action will commence on Friday evening, July 21, at the Eriez Speedway just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania.

I-79 Summer Shootout competition will continue on Saturday evening, July 22, with a visit to Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway near Imperial, Pennsylvania, followed by a stop at Tri-City Raceway Park near Franklin, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, July 23. All three programs will award a $5,000 top prize, as well as full points toward the 2017 Arctic Cat All Star championship.

Additional news and notes regarding the second annual I-79 Summer Shootout will be posted online at www.allstarsprint.com in the coming days.

Contingency Awards/Results: Sharon Speedway – Saturday, July 8, 2017:

9th Annual Lou Blaney Memorial

EMi Driver’s Meeting: 45 entries

State Water Heaters Warm-Ups: A.J. Flick – 13.596 seconds

Lincoln Electric Fast Qualifier: A.J. Flick – 13.619 seconds

Ford Performance Heat #1: Christopher Bell

All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads Heat #2: Danny Holtgraver

Hunt Brothers Pizza Heat #3: Tim Shaffer

Daido Engine Bearings Heat #4: Joey Saldana

Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts C-Main: Hunter Mackison

JE Pistons Dash #1: Caleb Armstrong

Kistler Racing Products Dash #2: Christopher Bell

Classic Ink USA B-Main: Max Stambaugh

Daido Engine Bearings Main Event Winner: Christopher Bell

MSD Performance Hard Charger Award: Caleb Helms (+13)

Outback Steakhouse A-Main 5th Place Finisher: Lee Jacobs

Outback Steakhouse A-Main 10th Place Finisher: Brandon Matus (11th)

Outback Steakhouse A-Main 15th Place Finisher: Carl Bowser

(Lincoln Electric, Daido Engine Bearings, MSD Performance, Outback Steakhouse: Need decal to qualify for contingency award)

Qualifying

Group (A)

1. 2-AJ Flick, 13.619; 2. 7C-Caleb Armstrong, 14.388; 3. 11n-Christopher Bell, 14.419; 4. 4N-Jim Morris, 14.706; 5. 5K-Adam Kekich, 14.709; 6. X-Cory Good, 14.871; 7. 17-Caleb Helms, 15.173; 8. 55-Gary Kriess, 15.183; 9. 35-Tyler Esh, 15.213; 10. 95-Hunter Mackison, 15.427; 11. 4W-Eric Williams, 15.824; 12. 91-Sadie Siegel, 16.612

Group (B)

1. 33M-Max Stambaugh, 13.805; 2. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr., 14.049; 3. D4-Danny Holtgraver, 14.172; 4. 7K-Dan Shetler, 14.35; 5. 71m-Dave Blaney, 14.788; 6. 171-Max McGhee, 14.83; 7. 33-Brent Matus, 14.984; 8. 8-Dean Jacobs, 15.111; 9. 46-Michael Bauer, 15.311; 10. 19-Joe Kubiniec, 15.686; 11. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau, 15.838

Group ( C )

1. 49x-Tim Shaffer, 13.889; 2. 59-Ryan Smith, 14.424; 3. 81-Lee Jacobs, 14.516; 4. 91F-Anthony Fiore, 14.687; 5. 51-John Garvin, 14.723; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler, 14.858; 7. 45-Trevor Baker, 14.992; 8. 5-Justin Barger, 15.2125; 9. 9C-Roger Campbell, 15.22; 10. 1080-Jordan Mackison, 15.55; 11. 12X-Michael Flynn, 16.232

Group (D)

1. 71-Joey Saldana, 13.843; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 14.072; 3. 13-Brandon Matus, 14.173; 4. 8M-TJ Michael, 14.553; 5. 4-Danny Smith, 14.58; 6. 98-Carl Bowser, 14.668; 7. 23-Darren Pifer, 14.913; 8. O8-Dan Kuriger, 15.006; 9. 42-Sye Lynch, 15.086; 10. 27-Zachary Morrow, 15.453; 11. 4C-Paul Kish, 16.442

Heat #1 – Group (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer

1. 11N-Christopher Bell [2]; 2. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [3]; 3. 2-AJ Flick [4]; 4. 4N-Jim Morris [1]; 5. 35-Tyler Esh [9]; 6. 5K-Adam Kekich [5]; 7. 55-Gary Kriess [8]; 8. 95-Hunter Mackison [10]; 9. 17-Caleb Helms [7]; 10. X-Cory Good [6]; 11. 4W-Eric Williams [11]; 12. 91-Sadie Siegel [12]

Heat #2 – Group (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer

1. D4-Danny Holtgraver [2]; 2. 8-Dean Jacobs [8]; 3. 71M-Dave Blaney [5]; 4. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [3]; 5. 33-Brent Matus [7]; 6. 7K-Dan Shetler [1]; 7. 33M-Max Stambaugh [4]; 8. 171-Max McGhee [6]; 9. 19-Joe Kubiniec [10]; 10. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau [11]; 11. 46-Michael Bauer [9]

Heat #3 – Group ( C ) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer

1. 49X-Tim Shaffer [4]; 2. 59-Ryan Smith [3]; 3. 81-Lee Jacobs [2]; 4. 51-John Garvin [5]; 5. 5-Justin Barger [8]; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler [6]; 7. 91F-Anthony Fiore [1]; 8. 1080-Jordan Mackison [10]; 9. 45-Trevor Baker [7]; 10. 9C-Roger Campbell [9]; 11. 12X-Michael Flynn [11]

Heat #4 – Group (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer

1. 71-Joey Saldana [4]; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah [3]; 3. 8M-TJ Michael [1]; 4. 13-Brandon Matus [2]; 5. 4-Danny Smith [5]; 6. 42-Sye Lynch [9]; 7. O8-Dan Kuriger [8]; 8. 23-Darren Pifer [7]; 9. 98-Carl Bowser [6]; 10. 4C-Paul Kish [11]; 11. 27-Zachary Morrow [10]

Dash #1 (4 Laps)

1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [2]; 2. 59-Ryan Smith [1]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [4]; 4. 2-AJ Flick [3]; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer [5]

Dash #2 (4 Laps)

1. 11N-Christopher Bell [2]; 2. 71-Joey Saldana [5]; 3. 8-Dean Jacobs [1]; 4. D4-Danny Holtgraver [4]; 5. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [3]

C-Main (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer

1. 95-Hunter Mackison [3]; 2. 9C-Roger Campbell [1]; 3. 46-Michael Bauer [2]; 4. 1080-Jordan Mackison [5]; 5. 27-Zachary Morrow [4]; 6. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau [8]; 7. 19-Joe Kubiniec [6]; 8. 4W-Eric Williams [7]; 9. 4C-Paul Kish [10]; 10. 12X-Michael Flynn [9]; 11. 91-Sadie Siegel [11]

B-Main (12 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer

1. 33M-Max Stambaugh [1]; 2. 98-Carl Bowser [3]; 3. 42-Sye Lynch [12]; 4. 7K-Dan Shetler [2]; 5. 22-Brandon Spithaler [7]; 6. O8-Dan Kuriger [11]; 7. 91F-Anthony Fiore [4]; 8. 95-Hunter Mackison [15]; 9. 55-Gary Kriess [14]; 10. 171-Max McGhee [6]; 11. 45-Trevor Baker [10]; 12. 23-Darren Pifer [9]; 13. 17-Caleb Helms [13]; 14. 5K-Adam Kekich [5]; 15. X-Cory Good [8]; 16. 9C-Roger Campbell [16]

A-Main (30 Laps)

1. 11N-Christopher Bell [2]; 2. 71-Joey Saldana [4]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [5]; 4. 49X-Tim Shaffer [9]; 5. 81-Lee Jacobs [11]; 6. D4-Danny Holtgraver [8]; 7. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [1]; 8. 8-Dean Jacobs [6]; 9. 71M-Dave Blaney [13]; 10. 5-Justin Barger [19]; 11. 13-Brandon Matus [14]; 12. 17-Caleb Helms [25]; 13. 4-Danny Smith [17]; 14. 59-Ryan Smith [3]; 15. 98-Carl Bowser [22]; 16. 8M-TJ Michael [12]; 17. 2-AJ Flick [7]; 18. 51-John Garvin [16]; 19. 7K-Dan Shetler [24]; 20. 22-Brandon Spithaler [26]; 21. 4N-Jim Morris [15]; 22. 35-Tyler Esh [20]; 23. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [10]; 24. 33-Brent Matus [18]; 25. 33M-Max Stambaugh [21]; 26. 42-Sye Lynch [23] Lap Leaders: Christopher Bell (1-30)

Current Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Standings (July 8, 2017):

1. Chad Kemenah – 3416

2. Ryan Smith – 3134

3. Caleb Armstrong – 3130

4. Caleb Helms – 3008

5. Max Stambaugh – 2858

6. T.J. Michael – 2742

7. Brandon Spithaler – 2569

8. Tim Shaffer – 2520

9. Brandon Matus – 2504

10. Tyler Esh – 2503