By Tim Tuttle
MACON, Ill. (May 8, 2012)—Chris Bell has rebounded from a difficult start to the season in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series to climb into fifth in the points heading into Saturday’s (May 12) event at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
Bell finished fourth Friday (May 4) at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., and second Saturday (May 5) at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. They were his two top feature results in 12 career POWRi Midget races. The 17-year-old from Norman, Okla., raced in seven features in 2011, with a best of 10th at Macon on Sept. 24.
“We had DNFs (did not finish) in two of the first three races, but knowing that we have to discard two events under the POWRi rules has encouraged us to keep going for the championship,” Bell said. “We’ll be running a lot of the races and we’re also going after the POWRi West Midget championship.”
Bell’s Mel Mark Pipe/KMK Transportation Eagle-Esslinger had mechanical problems and finished 22nd at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, Texas, on March 17 and was 17th at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway on April 27. Bell was 10th despite power steering problems in the season opener at Cowtown on March 16.
Bell will also be driving in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Micro Series event at Macon. He pulled double duty at Jacksonville, too, finishing second in the feature to Andrew Felker of Carl Junction, Mo.
Bell isn’t racing for points in the POWRi Micros, which races 16 times with the POWRi Midgets and has seven stand alone events.
“We’re going to bring the Micro along most of the time when they’re with the Midgets,” Bell explained.
Bell took home the largest paycheck of the POWRi Micro season in 2011, $10,000 for winning the 66 Mike Phillips Memorial at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion on June 25. He plans on racing in this year’s July 19-21 event, too.
Jake Blackhurst’s first victory in the POWRi Midgets last Saturday moved him into championship lead over Tyler Thomas, 615-520. Garrett Aitken is third with 515. Blackhurst, of Mapleton, Ill, Thomas, of Collinsville, Okla., and Aitken, of Paris, Ill., are all 16 years old.
POWRi is co-sanctioning one-fifth mile Macon with the Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series. There were 53 entries at the previous event co-sanctioned by POWRi and Badger this season at Jacksonville.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after five of 31 events); 1. Jake Blackhurst 615, 2. Tyler Thomas 520, 3. Garrett Aitken 515, 4. Brett Anderson 510, 5. Chris Bell 485, 6. Tyler Courtney 475, 7. Andrew Felker 450, 8. Brad Kuhn 430, 9. Chett Gehrke 405, 10. Zach Daum 340.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2012 race winners: Kennedale, Texas—Brady Bacon; Kennedale, Texas—Dave Darland; Jacksonville, Ill.—Mario Clouser; Grain Valley, Mo.—Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Jake Blackhurst.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings (after one of 23 events): 1. Andrew Felker 200, 2. Cale Thomas 180, 3. Michael Bustamonte 170, 4. Jacob Patton 150, 5. Carlee Gress 140, 6. Joe B. Miller 130, 7. Cole Campbell 120, 8. Aaron Andruskevitch 110, 9. Austin Brown 100, 10. Justin Peck 90.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2012 race winners: Jacksonville, Ill.—Andrew Felker.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.