FREMONT, Ohio – Christopher Bell thought he had a feature locked up Friday night in Illinois only to experience mechanical issues. He wasn’t going to be denied again.
Bell, an Oklahoma native who now calls Columbus, Ind., home, led all 30 laps of the 410 sprint feature Saturday to claim his second career win at Fremont Speedway on Burns Petroleum Night.
Saturday’s race was the second in the Kistler Racing Products FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) Championship Series Presented by KS Sales and Service which will reward the champion $10,000 at season’s end. It was the first FAST race of the year at “The Track That Action Built.”
Bell was piloting the Keith Kunz winged 410 sprint car on Friday and had a motor issue leading late in the race. Bell, the 2013 USAC National Dirt Midget champion, teamed up with Steve and Brad Fox in their No. 53 at Fremont Saturday to score the win.
“It’s awesome to come out and have fun every time I get in this 53. Brad and Steve are awesome people and they are really fun to race with,” said Bell.
“We were going so good at Granite City in Keith’s car. It’s awesome to run so good there and come back here and get a win. This is my first sprint car win of the year. I’ve kind of struggled in the 410 stuff this year so it’s nice to be back up here,” said Bell. “This Ohio deal is so tough. I got a little worried. At times when I caught the lapped cars they would drive away from me which told me I wasn’t very good. I pulled the wing back and sat up in the seat and fortunately we’re on the front stretch. Fremont is definitely one of the toughest places to win at.”
Chad Kemenah and Bell would bring the 20 car field to the green for the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints. Bell would take the lead as third place starter Craig Mintz drove into second with Kemenah, Broc Martin, Travis Philo and Caleb Helms in tow. By lap six the leaders were racing into heavy lapped traffic as Mintz closed on Bell with Kemenah, Martin, Helms, Philo, Chris Andrews and Byron Reed giving chase.
By the ninth circuit Mintz was on Bell’s rear bumper with Kemenah within striking distance. The race’s only caution would fly on lap 10 for a Scott Euler spin and when the green reappeared Kemenah would drive around Mintz for the runner-up spot. Just past the half-way point as the leaders prepared to catch the back of the pack Kemenah closed on Bell with Mintz, Martin, Helms, Reed and Andrews in pursuit.
Bell would pick his way through the traffic and began to pull away slightly from Kemenah as Mintz was locked in a tremendous battle with Martin for third. With five laps to go Bell led Kemenah, Martin, Mintz, Helms, Reed and Andrews. Bell had a few close calls with lapped cars but used patience to cruise to the win. Kemenah, Martin, Mintz and Reed would round out the top five.
For Bellevue, Ohio’s Jimmy Colvin it was a night of redemption. On the first lap of last week’s Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 sprint feature Colvin took a nasty flip. He, his dad and crew worked all week to put his sprint car back together and it paid off. Colvin led all 25 laps but it wasn’t easy as defending track champion John Ivy raced him hard the final five laps.
“I don’t want to even talk about last week. It was one of those weeks when you get home from work at five o’clock and get back in the house and to bed at 10 o’clock just so we could get back out here this weekend. But this makes up for it. That was the longest 25 laps you could race when you know John Ivy is behind you. Especially when he sticks his nose inside of you and outside of you. Then we kind of got some good luck in lapped traffic. It was kind of one lane around the bottom but we held on for 25 laps,” said Colvin.
“I have to thank mom and dad. They are there every week no matter what. Whether we’re wadding a car up and spending all week in the shop or we’re sitting here on the front stretch,” added Colvin.
For the second consecutive week Risingsun, Ohio’s Shawn Valenti would cruise to the win in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Truck feature. Valenti, who also scored a win last week at Attica Raceway Park, also set a new track record in qualifying for the second straight week.
“You know you’re doing something right when you hear that,” said Valenti in the victory lane amid a smattering of boos. “Once again I have to thank Jeff Babcock and all the sponsors on this thing…JP Enterprises, Dave Story Equipment, Craig Miller Trucking, Conrad Transportation, Gressman Powersports. It was Burns Petroleum Night so I’m glad to see we could finally get a race in…Day Dreams and Memories Crafts and Antiques, KS Sales and Service…can’t think everyone enough.
“We kept watching the track conditions and in the heat race it kind of come back on us and we just kept adjusting on it and made the right calls and was able to keep all four tires on it,” added Valenti.