Bell Rings In POWRi Micro Biggie

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MARION, Ill. — Christopher Bell won the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series’ 66 Mike Phillips Memorial and its $10,000 paycheck Saturday at Southern Illinois Raceway.

“It’s by far the biggest win I’ve had in my life and will be for a while,” the 16-year-old from Norman, Okla., said. “I’m still in shock. It’s unbelievable.”

Trent Beckinger, of Evansville, Ind., led the opening 30 laps and had to settle for second place and a $5,000 paycheck.

“It would have been nice to win the $10,000, but second place and $5,000 isn’t too bad,” Beckinger said.

Scott Sawyer finished third, earning $3,250. Andrew Felker was fourth and Dereck King was fifth.

The $10,000-to-win purse, the largest in the United States this year, and $35,000 total payout for Saturday’s feature attracted 113 entries for 24 starting positions.

Bell passed Beckinger with 10 laps remaining in the 40-lap feature on the eighth-mile track and drove away to win by 10 car lengths. He had started sixth and was up to third by the end of the initial lap.

Bell had finished sixth in Friday’s opening round of the Phillips Memorial, the final position that guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s feature. He had been third in his heat, third in his qualifier and started 18th in the feature.

“It’s amazing,” Bell said. “We didn’t win a heat or a qualifier, had to start in the back on Friday and started sixth in the feature (Saturday).”

Bell’s car came alive midway through the feature. “I made some early adjustments that paid off,” he said. “I had to free the car up and when the track got slick, I was able to get out to the cushion on the outside.”

The finish:

Christopher Bell, Trent Beckinger, Scott Sawyer, Andrew Felker, Dereck King, Frank Flud, Jacob Patton, Ryan Greth, Jake Rosario, Layne Himebaugh, Travis Senter, Jeremy Camp, Nate Lauderbaugh, Jake Palmisano, Rick King, Trent Wilson, Ryan Smith, Tyson Hall, Jordan Campbell, Eric Bodine, Will Harvey, Ryan Guyett, Blake Hahn, Brad Meyer.