SAPULPA, Okla. — Entering the sixth annual Turnpike Challenge featuring POWRi Lucas Oil National and West Midget League competition, Christopher Bell would have been a safe bet for the victor heading into tonight’s race at Creek County Speedway.
And that safe money bet would have paid off. Bell is now nine-for-nine in Turnpike competition.
While the opening night of four straight nights of racing presented a challenge, as this was the inaugural visit of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League to Creek County Speedway, Bell proved he is always up for a challenge as he took a dominant heat race win.
Starting inside row two, Bell immediately jumped to second and set his sights on race leader and polesitter Tanner Carrick. As the duo approached traffic, Bell showed his hand and tossed a slider at Carrick, but Carrick returned.
Another circuit later and heading into turn one, both Carrick and Bell went for the same real estate on the bottom and their Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports entries collided, sending Carrick to an abrupt stop.
With Bell inheriting the lead, the race was his to lose. Enduring several yellows and one red flag, Bell held off a determined Zeb Wise and later fended off a late race charge by Logan Seavey. As the laps wound down, Seavey’s determination to get past Bell got the best of him, allowing Wise to regain control of the second position.
Seavey took third with Tyler Thomas in fourth. Defending POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League champion Tucker Klaasmeyer rounded out the top five after charging the 23rd position.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Bell. “I felt really bad about me and Carrick getting together getting into turn one. I had no idea he was to the inside of me there, just racing with lap traffic. This track was tough. The ledge got built up really tall so it was very difficult to go up there and run consistent laps. I’ve just got to say thanks to Keith, Pete, Big Al, Chuckie, and everyone that works on these things. They do a really great job. Obviously, we have really fast racecars to drive, so that makes my job easier.”
“I knew Chris was going to be the star of the show and that’s who we have to beat,” Wise commented. “Near mid race we were kind of hanging with him and then Seavey got by me. We were able to get Seavey picked back off there at the end but just not enough laps. These Clauson Marshall guys had the Drive2Save Lives Sun Dollar 39BC hooked up tonight. They worked their butt off for me and to stand up here on the podium is pretty special.”
Christopher Bell, Zeb Wise, Logan Seavey, Tyler Thomas, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Jake Neuman, Tony Bruce Jr., Jerry Coons Jr., Karter Sarff, Andrew Layser, Tanner Carrick, Brady Bacon, Zach Daum, Blake Hahn, Cannon McIntosh, Andrew Felker, Holley Hollan, Jonathan Beason, Ace McCarthy, Cole Bodine, Hank Davis, Trey Marcham, Kevin Bayer, Wesley Smith.