MARION, Ill. (September 16, 2017) – It’s quite fitting that for the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s inaugural appearance at Southern Illinois Raceway, NASCAR star Christopher Bell would claim victory. Winning the inaugural Mike Phillips Memorial, “the 66,” in 2011 with the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro League was a catalyst in thrusting Bell into the open wheel ranks with Keith Kunz Motorsports.
Tonight, Bell returned to the Southern Illinois Raceway and added to his two victories with the league from early spring at his hometown track, I-44 Riverside Speedway.
Starting outside row four, Bell quickly pushed forward on the high-banked 1/8th mile into the second position. Following closely behind pole sitter Tucker Klaasmeyer, Bell challenged Klaasmeyer repeatedly until taking over the top spot on lap nine. Enduring only two yellows and one red for the remaining 21 laps, Bell rode to victory relatively unchallenged to capture his 24th career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League feature event. Tucker Klaasmeyer finished second with Zeb Wise in third. Leading candidate for POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League rookie of the year and championship contender Logan Seavey took fourth, with Jake Neuman rounding out the top five.
“That was tough,” stated Christopher Bell. “The track was extremely technical. The cushion was really treacherous. This was a fun race. This would be the track to do an Ironman 55 like they do at Pevely. It’s a really physical race track. It’s always fun when I get to come out and midget race. I’m just thankful that Keith and Pete let me come out and have fun. It’s always a lot of fun to race in front of a packed house.”
“It’s hard enough to get a win and when Chris Bell shows up, he’s the class of our sport, it’s hard to beat him,” commented Tucker Klaasmeyer. “He doesn’t make any mistakes and when he does, normally I make a mistake right behind him. We didn’t have Flea with us tonight, so we all had to pull our heads together tonight. Austin, Corey, and Tommy had the cars great tonight. Couldn’t ask for much more.”
“It’s been a lot of fun so far in the midget,” said Zeb Wise. “I came from the micro ranks and jumping into these, it’s a lot different. It’s a lot of fun. Clauson Marshall, Tim, Rizzy, and my mom and dad for everything they do for me; I can’t thank them enough.”
Speedway Motors Heat Race Winners:
Heat 1: 91 – TYLER NELSON, Heat 2: 37X – JASON MCDOUGAL, Heat 3: 37 – ANDREW FELKER
Mesilla Valley Transportation Feature Winner:
21 – CHRISTOPHER BELL
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Feature Results
(35 laps): 1. 21 – Christopher Bell 2. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer 3. 39 – Zeb Wise 4. 4a – Logan Seavey 5. 3n – Jake Neuman 6. 37 – Andrew Felker 7. 6a – Aidan Roosevans 8. 91 – Tyler Nelson 9. 3b – Shelby Bosie 10. 5d – Daniel Robinson 11. 95 – Jimmy Miller 12. 56v – Matt Veatch 13. 67 – Kyle O’Gara 14. 2 – Brian Grogan 15. 37x – Jason Mcdougal 16. 5c – Colten Cottle 17. 1 – Brian Jones 18. 66 – Joe B Miller 19. 0 – Johnny Murdock