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Bell Basking in Glory of Second Turkey Night Victory

By T.J. Buffenbarger

VENTURA, Ca. (November 23, 2017) — Christopher Bell is now a two-time Turkey Night Grand Prix champion.

Bell earned his second victory in the historic midget event Thursday night at Ventura Raceway passing his Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson for the lead on lap 13 and countered multiple slide job attempts by Larson late in the event for the victory.

“That was fun! I hope you enjoyed that one. I know I enjoyed it from the seat,” said Bell about his wild exchange of slide jobs with Larson throughout the feature. “The track was so tough. It was really technical, and it was hard to hit your marks.”

Bell explained after the race his car was a bit of handful after the caution flags until he was able to cut a couple of green flag laps.

“It was such a rhythm race track tonight once we got those green flag runs I could get going pretty good about the cushion. Under the yellow my tires would go down and it made it tough. I’d have to fight it for a couple of laps.”

For Larson he threw everything he had at Bell, but couldn’t gain enough momentum to make the pass.

“That was a fun race with Bell,” said Larson. “I knew the laps were winding down there. The restart before that last one Tanner (Thorson) tried to throw a slide job at me and got close to me. I thought if I could stay with Bell down the front stretch I was going to throw something at him. I slid him a few times, but could never get going down the straightaway. He would either rip around me or cross back underneath me.”

Larson started from the pole and led until Bell was able to slide him of lap 15 following a caution flag. Larson would not relent though keeping pace with Bell and throwing multiple slide jobs trading the lead back and forth at times at each end of the race track. Even through all those slide jobs Bell managed to keep the upper hand.

Dduring longer green flag runs Bell would pull away and Larson found himself under pressure first from teammate Tanner Thorson and later from Shane Golobic.

Larson’s finale hope was a restart with four laps to go. Larson tried sliding Bell multiple times including on the final lap. The challenges were to no avail as Bell held off not only Larson but a late surge by Golobic on the bottom of the track off turn four for the victory.

The victory capped off a season where Bell won the Chili Bowl Nationals, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship, to go with his Turkey Night victory. With all that Bell was already looking forward to returning to try for a third Turkey Night victory.

“I hope everyone enjoyed that and we’ll be back next year.”

USAC National / Western Midget Car Series
77th Turkey Night Grand Prix
Ventura Raceway
Ventura, CA
Thursday November 23, 2017

Qualifying: 1. 1 – Kyle Larson, 11.888; 2. 73 – Jake Swanson, 11.909; 3. 21 – Christopher Bell, 11.933; 4. 17W – Shane Golobic, 12.060; 5. 39BC – Justin Grant, 12.081; 6. 1K – Brayton Lynch, 12.119; 7. 4A – Logan Seavey, 12.200; 8. 97 – Spencer Bayston, 12.210; 9. 67 – Tanner Thorson, 12.238; 10. 9D – Michael Faccinto, 12.249; 11. 76M – Brady Bacon, 12.266; 12. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer, 12.269; 13. 25 – Kevin Thomas Jr., 12.274; 14. 84 – Chad Boat, 12.276; 15. 63X – Brad Sweet, 12.282; 16. 25 – Michael Pickens, 12.290; 17. 67K – Holly Shelton, 12.326; 18. 25 – Courtney Crone, 12.342; 19. Zeb Wise, 39, Clauson/Marshall-12.391; 20. 5 – Chase Briscoe, 12.393; 21. 73X – Carson Macedo, 12.460; 22. 68 – Ronnie Gardner, 12.471; 23. 63 – Frankie Guerrini, 12.490; 24. 11E – Cory Elliott, 12.505; 25. 7R – Clayton Ruston, 12.512; 26. 57 – Maria Cofer, 12.520; 27. 47 – Tyler Nelson, 12.535; 28. 17G – Dustin Golobic, 12.593; 29. 98 – Danny Stratton, 12.605; 30. 22Q – David Prickett, 12.608; 31. 17 – Cody Swanson, 12.680; 32. 71 – Ryan Robinson, 12.696; 33. 4D – Robert Dalby, 12.702; 34. 73T – Dave Darland, 12.729; 35. 71K – Tanner Carrick, 12.745; 36. 99 – Colton Heath, 12.802; 37. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, 12.820; 38. 8 – Randi Pankratz, 12.847; 39. 56 – Daniel Robinson, 12.872; 40. 1P – Terry Nichols, 12.878; 41. 15G – Carson Garrett, 12.882; 42. 2JD – Tyler Edwards, 12.894; 43. 9E – Mack DeMan, 12.924; 44. 87JR – Jake Vermeer, 12.938; 45. 15 – Ron Hazelton, 12.972; 46. 31 – Kyle Beilman, 13.020; 47. 55 – Kyle Smith, 13.113; 48. 71X – Bryan Drollinger, 13.385; 49. 75 – Matt Mitchell, NT. (First 12 qualifiers were locked into the A-Main)

Qualifying Race #1 (12 Laps): 1. 25 – Kevin Thomas Jr, 2. 39 – Zeb Wise, 3. 73X – Carson Macedo, 4. 63X – Brad Sweet, 5. 67K – Holly Shelton, 6. 17 – Cody Swanson, 7. 98 – Danny Stratton, 8. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, 9. 7R – Clayton Ruston, 10. 4D – Robert Dalby, 11. 71K – Tanner Carrick, 12. 47 – Tyler Nelson, 13. 56 – Daniel Robinson, 14. 55 – Kyle Smith, 15. 9E – Mack DeMan, 16. 15G – Carson Garrett, 17. 15 – Ron Hazelton, 18. 63 – Frankie Gueririni. (First Four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Qualifying Race #2 (12 Laps): 1. 84 – Chad Boat, 2. 25X – Michael Pickens, 3. 25C – Courtney Crone, 4. 11E – Cory Elliott, 5. 68 – Ronnie Gardner, 6. 5 – Chase Briscoe, 7. 57 – Maria Cofer, 8. 17G – Dustin Golobic, 9. 71 – Ryan Robinson, 10. 8 – 2JD – Tyler Edwards, 11. 8 – Randi Pankratz, 12. 99 – Colton Heath, 13. 1P – Terry Nichols, 14. 22Q – David Prickett, 15. 73T – Dave Darland, 16. 31 – Kyle Beilman, 17. 87JR – Jake Vermeer. (First Four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Last Chance Race (15 Laps): 1. 67K – Holly Sheldon, 2. 68 – Ronnie Gardner, 3. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, 4. 5 – Chase Briscoe, 6. 2JD – Tyler Edwards, 7. 99 – Colton Heath, 8. 7R – Clayton Ruston, 9. 4D – Robert Dalby, 10. 71K – Tanner Carrick, 11. 57 – Maria Cofer, 12. 8 – Randi Pankratz, 13. 98 – Danny Stratton, 14. 47 – Tyler Nelson, 15. 17G – Dustin Golobic, 16. 17 – Cody Swanson. (First six finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Feature (98 Laps): 1. 21 – Christopher Bell, 2. 1 – Kyle Larson, 3. 17 – Shane Golobic, 4. 67 – Tanner Thorson, 5. 39 – Zeb Wise, 6. 73X – Carson Macedo, 7. 39BC – Justin Grant, 8. 71 – Ryan Robinson, 9. 63X – Brad Sweet, 10. 9D – Michael Faccinto, 11. 71K – Tanner Carrick, 12. 76M – Brady Bacon, 13. 24 – Kevin Thomas Jr, 14. 67K – Holly Shelton, 15. 4A – Logan Seavey, 16. 97 – Spencer Bayston, 17. 22Q – David Prickett, 18. 68 – Ronnie Gardner, 19. 73 – Jake Swanson, 20. 25C – Courtney Crone, 21. 5 – Chase Briscoe, 22. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, 23. 84 – Chad Boat, 24. 1K – Brayton Lynch, 25. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer, 26. 2JD – Tyler Edwards, 27. 11E – Cory Elliott, 28. 63 – Frankie Guerrini, 29. 25X – Michael Pickens.