From Lonnie Wheatley
MEEKER, Okla. (July 10, 2018) – Norman, Oklahoma native Christopher Bell continues to be seemingly unstoppable on his home turf.
For the fifth time this year, the NASCAR Xfinity Series title contender took to the dirt aboard a Keith Kunz Motorsports Midget in the Sooner State. And, for the fifth time this year, Bell came away with victory honors by driving the Toyota Racing No. 21 to victory lane in the 30-lap finale of “Tuesday Night Thunder” atop the ¼-mile Red Dirt Raceway as the USAC Midget series made a return to Oklahoma for the first time since 1975.
This time, Bell outdueled KKM teammate and current USAC Midget points leader Logan Seavey over the closing rounds to become the seventh different winner in as many series events in the opening leg of the Mid-America Midget Week that continues on throughout Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri with another four nights of competition over the next five nights.
“I hope you all liked that one, that was an awesome track and I can’t thank Cody Brewer enough for having us here,” Bell said in victory lane. “I couldn’t be more proud to have USAC back in Oklahoma and to get a win in front of this incredible crowd.”
Bell started the night by establishing the new USAC Midget track record of 13.558 seconds over a field of 33 in qualifying and then secured the sixth starting position in the feature by racing to a second place finish in his heat race.
With Bell gridding the feature outside the third row, it was pole starter Ryan Robinson gunning into the initial lead as fellow front row starter Tyler Courtney slid off the top of turn one after the first round to bring out the race’s first caution.
Tanner Carrick threw his hat into the lead mix, briefly slipping by Robinson for the point on the third round before Robinson surged back to the front. Seavey was on the move from the fifth starting position, working the low side to edge into the lead by the sixth round with Bell making his way to fourth the ninth circuit.
Bell rode the high side past Carrick and Robinson for second by the time Dave Darland slowed to bring out a caution after 14 laps and the battle was on.
Seavey stayed true to the low side and Bell worked the cushion in the ensuing laps, ultimately nosing into the lead by the 19th lap but not securing the point until low side traffic disrupted Seavey’s pace on the 25th lap.
One final caution for an Ace McCarthy spin in turn four with just three laps to go gave Seavey one last chance to knock off the two-time and reigning Chili Bowl Midget Nationals champion. But, Bell worked the low side of turns one and two and the top of turns three and four over the closing circuits to preserve the win.
“I’m just really fortunate to drive the cars that I do, I have some great teams and fast racecars,” Bell commented.
Sutter, California’s Seavey settled for runner-up honors in the Mobil 1 No. 67 Toyota entry. “It’s tough when the track changes like that,” Seavey said afterward. “I was committed to the bottom, I was just hoping he might make a mistake but he didn’t.”
Another Cali shoe, Carrick, rounded out the podium in third aboard another KKM entry. “I needed a couple of more laps, I think maybe we could have got to second,” he commented.
Tucson native Jerry Coons, Jr., raced from 10th to capture fourth with Broken Arrow native Brady Bacon rounding out the top five. Justin Grant was sixth ahead of Jason McDougal and Kevin Thomas, Jr., while defending series champion Spencer Bayston earned Hard Charger honors by racing from 18th to ninth. Courtney rallied to complete the top ten after his early mishap.
After Bell set quick time to start the night, Chad Boat, Tyler Thomas, Tucker Klaasmeyer and Bayston scored heat race wins before Carrick won the “B” Main.
The USAC Mid-America Midget Week continues with Wednesday’s “Chad McDaniel Memorial” at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, KS, before shifting to Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway for the “Midwest Midget Championship” on Friday and Saturday and then wrapping up at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex on Sunday.
USAC Midgets – “Tuesday Night Thunder” at Red Dirt Raceway, July 10, 2018
Qualifying: 1. 21-Christopher Bell 13.558, 2. 71k-Tanner Carrick 13.597, 3. 27z-Zane Hendricks 13.628, 4. 67-Logan Seavey 13.647, 5. 17bc-Justin Grant 13.697, 6. 76m-Brady Bacon 13.727, 7. 7bc-Tyler Courtney 13.767, 8. 71-Ryan Robinson 13.837, 9. 8k-Jonathan Beason 13.880, 10. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. 13.881, 11. 15-Jason McDougal 13.898, 12. 39bc-Cole Bodine 14.081, 13. 28-Ace McCarthy 14.092, 14. 25-Dave Darland 14.122, 15. 63-Kevin Thomas, Jr. 14.137, 16. 67k-Holly Shelton 14.216, 17. 76e-Kyle Craker 14.260, 18. 91T-Tyler Thomas 14.274, 19. 2s-Travis Scott 14.322, 20. 97-Spencer Bayston 14.443, 21. 84-Chad Boat 14.461, 22. 08-Cannon McIntosh 14.472, 23. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer 14.483, 24. 32-Trey Marcham 14.508, 25. 14-Holley Hollan 14.559, 26. 35-Maria Cofer 14.607, 27. 72-Sam Johnson 14.693, 28. 1k-Brayton Lynch 14.799, 29. 77-Payton Pierce 14.915, 30. 89jr-Todd McVay 15.098, 31. 4-Curtis Spicer 16.177, 32. 84s-Shaun Shapel 17.065, 33. 2b-Brett Becker NT.
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 84-Chad Boat, 2. 21-Christopher Bell, 3. 17bc-Justin Grant, 4. 28-Ace McCarthy, 5. 76e-Kyle Craker, 6. 8k-Jonathan Beason, 7. 14-Holley Hollan, 8. 77-Payton Pierce, 9. 2b-Brett Becker
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 91T-Tyler Thomas, 2. 08-Cannon McIntosh, 3. 85-Dave Darland, 4. 76m-Brady Bacon, 5. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr., 6. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 7. 35-Maria Cofer, 8. 89jr-Todd McVay.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1.27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 2. 63-Kevin Thomas, Jr., 3. 15-Jason McDougal, 4. 7bc-Tyler Courtney, 5. 72-Sam Johnson, 6. 2s-Travis Scott, 7. 4-Curtis Spicer, 8. 27z-Zane Hendricks.
Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 97-Spencer Bayston, 2. 67k-Holly Shelton, 3. 71-Ryan Robinson, 4. 67-Logan Seavey, 5. 39bc-Cole Bodine, 6. 32-Trey Marcham, 7. 1k-Brayton Lynch. DNS: 84s-Shaun Shapel.
“B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 2. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 76e-Kyle Craker, 4. 8k-Jonathan Beason, 5. 27z-Zane Hendricks, 6. 35-Maria Cofer, 7. 72-Sam Johnson, 8. 14-Holley Hollan, 9. 2s-Travis Scott, 10. 2b-Brett Becker, 11. 77-Payton Pierce, 12. 1k-Brayton Lynch, 13. 32-Trey Marcham, 14. 4-Curtis Spicer, 15. 39bc-Cole Bodine, 16. 89jr-Todd McVay. DNS: 84s-Shaun Shapel.
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 21-Christopher Bell (6), 2. 67-Logan Seavey (5), 3. 71k-Tanner Carrick (7), 4. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. (10), 5. 76m-Brady Bacon (3), 6. 17bc-Justin Grant (4), 7. 15-Jason McDougal (11), 8. 63-Kevin Thomas, Jr. (14), 9. 97-Spencer Bayston (18), 10. 7bc-Tyler Courtney (2), 11. 84-Chad Boat (19), 12. 67k-Holly Shelton (15), 13. 71-Ryan Robinson (1), 14. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (21), 15. 91T-Tyler Thomas (17), 16. 1k-Brayton Lynch (24), 17. 8k-Jonathan Beason (9), 18. 08-Cannon McIntosh (20), 19. 27z-Zane Hendricks (8), 20. 76e-Kyle Craker (16), 21. 39b-Cole Bodine (23), 22. 28-Ace McCarthy (12), 23. 35-Maria Cofer (22), 24. 85-Dave Darland (13).
Lap Leaders: Ryan Robinson 1-2, Tanner Carrick 3, Ryan Robinson 3-5, Logan Seavey 6-18, Christopher Bell 19-30.