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Thursday Belongs to Bell at Chili Bowl

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 15 2021

Christopher Bell continues to be a Chili Bowl superstar. (RacinToday/HHP file photo)

Oklahoma favorite son Christopher Bell threw the iRacing/CB Industries No. 84X into high gear during the closing laps of Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night A-Feature to score a popular victory in Day 4 of the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa.

A three-time Golden Driller Award winner (2017-19), Bell won a qualifier for the seventh time since 2014 on River Spirit Expo Center’s quarter-mile clay oval. Bell took the point from Spencer Bayston for good on Lap 10 of the 30-lapper to advance into Saturday night’s Championship A-Feature for the eighth time in as many years.

“Chad (Boat) has got this thing tuned-up and it’s driving really good,” said Bell, a 26-year-old native of Norman, Okla. “But man, those yellows were killing me at the beginning of the race. I just wanted to get some green flag laps in. I knew this thing was good, where I could stick the bottom nice and run up if I needed to.”

Bell’s charge into the lead began from the fourth starting spot, chasing Steve Buckwalter and Bayston through the opening laps. Bell rolled the cushion from third to first only to have the pass called back by a caution working Lap 8. Reverting to Lap 7, Bayston, Bacon and Bell again went at it for the lead with Bell taking second on the restart. Following another caution on Lap 9, Bell used a slide job to gain the point for good through Turns 1 and 2.

“It’s was frustrating,” Bell said in reference to the parade of yellows. “You’re only going to get so many shots at the lead with those guys. Spencer and Brady are really talented drivers so I knew when they got put back in front of me, they were going to take my line away and I was going to have to find something else. Didn’t want that to happen, but luckily my car was good enough I could kind of go where they didn’t.”

Bell, who cut his racing teeth on the dirt tracks of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, Bell has replaced Erik Jones in the No. 20 Camry.

Thursday’s feature ran green through Lap 17. The final restart saw Bell having to maneuver through traffic on Lap 24 with just under 1.5-seconds on the field. Bell went on to capture the win by 0.973-seconds over Michael Kofoid, with Bacon in third. Bayston ended up fourth with Joe B. Miller fifth. Making up seven spots, Logan Seavey placed sixth with Tim Buckwalter, Trey Gropp, Andre Deal and Matt Sherell completing the top-10. The field included NHRA Top Fuel driver Austin Prock of John Force Racing. Prock posted a DNF in 24th.

The annual John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night saw 64 drivers make the call. Eight Fatheadz Eyewear Heat Race wins went to Zeb Wise, Kofoid, Chance Crum, Bayston, Jeffrey Champagne, Bell, Bacon and Buckwalter. A pair of C-Features were won by Jason McDougal and Brent Shearer. Team Toyota Qualifiers went to Kaylee Bryson, Carson Garrett, Bayston and Bell. Dave.com B-Features were topped by Noah Gass and Wise.

The WorldWide Technology Raceway Flip Count made it to 34, with all drivers uninjured.

Two-time event champion Rico Abreu christened a new Spike Chassis with a wire-to-wire win during Wednesday night’s Circle City Raceway Qualifying Night feature, capping Day 3. The Golden Driller Award winner in 2015-16, Abreu was forced to roll down the new No. 97 car for his qualifying run after bouncing through a massive flip during Tuesday night’s Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions. The Californian responded with his sixth consecutive victory at River Spirit Expo Center. Alex Bright, who finished second by 3.588-seconds, also advanced into Saturday’s title finale.

On Tuesday night, NASCAR veteran Kyle Larson launched defense of his 2020 Golden Driller Award to headline Day 2 of the event. Larson’s fourth Warren CAT Qualifying Night victory in as many years punched the Californian’s ticket into Saturday’s Championship A-Feature for the 10th time since 2010. Larson posted his seventh overall preliminary night win at the wheel of the MAVTV No. 01, finishing 0.395-seconds in front of Thomas Meseraull.

Oklahoma teen-ager Cannon McIntosh opened the 35th annual program Monday night with a statement win, wheeling the Keith Kunz Motorsports-Curb-Agajanian No. 71K to his second Cummins Qualifying Night victory in as many years. McIntosh handed car-owner Kunz his 30th A-Feature win at River Spirit Expo Center. Runnerup Tyler Courtney, who finished 1.466-seconds behind McIntosh, also punched his ticket into Saturday’s A-Feature.

The 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire continues Friday with Driven2SaveLives Qualifying Night. A limited number of pit passes will be available to the general public, who are reminded that all attending are required to wear masks inside River Spirit Expo Center.

Fans can follow the action live on http://www.floracing.com. Continued updates also are available on Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.

Meanwhile, MAVTV Motorsports Network will provide coverage of Saturday’s closing program starting at 6:30 p.m. (EST). Additionally, fans can tune in to MAVTV at 6:30 a.m. Saturday for a special Tulsa Shootout and Chili Bowl Nationals Marathon leading into the live SPEED SPORT broadcast from River Spirit Expo Center at 6:30 p.m. 

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Thursday Results/John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night

Fatheadz Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 37W-Zeb Wise[2]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[1]; 3. 35L-Cody Ledger[4]; 4. 17B-Ryan Bickett[8]; 5. 8B-Brock Berreth[6]; 6. 11X-Donovan Peterson[7]; 7. 58-Norman Rose[5]; 8. (DNF) 87F-Johnny Kent[3].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 67-Michael Kofoid[3]; 2. 15X-Carson Garrett[2]; 3. 321-Chad Winfrey[7]; 4. 68S-Andy Bradley[8]; 5. 117-Ryan Ellis[1]; 6. 21D-Justin Dickerson[4]; 7. (DNF) 11G-Mike Goodman[6]; 8. (DNF) 51X-Joe Walker[5].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 47C-Chance Crum[1]; 2. 39-Logan Seavey[3]; 3. 49J-Joe B Miller[6]; 4. 29-Tim Buckwalter[7]; 5. 2H-Nick Hoffman[5]; 6. 08J-Jace McIntosh[4]; 7. 84S-Shaun Shapel[2]; 8. 5H-Casey Hicks[8].

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 1S-Spencer Bayston[2]; 2. 1G-Chase Stockon[1]; 3. 88-Terry Babb[3]; 4. 5W-Ben Worth[5]; 5. 17X-Tres Mehler[7]; 6. 28Q-Sean Quinn[4]; 7. (DNF) 22Z-Zac Millikin[6]; 8. (DNF) 40-JT Imperial[8].

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 72C-Jeffrey Champagne[1]; 2. 19P-Austin Prock[2]; 3. 11A-Andrew Felker[5]; 4. 15D-Andrew Deal[7]; 5. 2L-Matt Linder[3]; 6. 71D-Jeff Wheeler[8]; 7. (DNF) 12S-Brent Shearer[4]; 8. (DNF) 15N-Joey Brasil[6].

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 84X-Christopher Bell[1]; 2. 31K-Frankie Guerrini[3]; 3. 2D-Matt Sherrell[7]; 4. 22T-Don Droud Jr[2]; 5. 53R-Sean Robbins[4]; 6. 17-Tanner Berryhill[6]; 7. 7M-Brody Roa[8]; 8. 7MF-Chance Morton[5].

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 21H-Brady Bacon[8]; 2. 20G-Noah Gass[2]; 3. 21G-Trey Gropp[6]; 4. 83-TJ Smith[7]; 5. 4B-Jason McDougal[3]; 6. 78M-Merle Scherb[5]; 7. 17D-Garrett Smithley[1]; 8. 25C-Courtney Crone[4].

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[6]; 2. 71-Kaylee Bryson[3]; 3. 93-Kyle Bellm[2]; 4. 79M-Keith Martin[5]; 5. 56X-Mark Chisholm[4]; 6. 26M-Marshall Skinner[1]; 7. 15-Aaron Farney[7]; 8. 69-Stephen “Gravy” Fairfield[8].

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature

C-Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 4B-Jason McDougal[1]; 2. 17-Tanner Berryhill[2]; 3. 7M-Brody Roa[3]; 4. 11G-Mike Goodman[6]; 5. 25C-Courtney Crone[12]; 6. 51X-Joe Walker[11]; 7. 15-Aaron Farney[5]; 8. 08J-Jace McIntosh[4]; 9. 5H-Casey Hicks[8]; 10. 58-Norman Rose[7]; 11. 17D-Garrett Smithley[10]; 12. (DNF) 69-Stephen “Gravy” Fairfield[9].

C-Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 12S-Brent Shearer[7]; 2. 7MF-Chance Morton[9]; 3. 87F-Johnny Kent[10]; 4. 21D-Justin Dickerson[3]; 5. 117-Ryan Ellis[1]; 6. 26M-Marshall Skinner[5]; 7. 78M-Merle Scherb[2]; 8. 84S-Shaun Shapel[8]; 9. 28Q-Sean Quinn[4]; 10. (DNF) 22Z-Zac Millikin[6]; 11. (DNS) 40-JT Imperial; 12. (DNS) 15N-Joey Brasil.

Team Toyota Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 71-Kaylee Bryson[2]; 2. 21G-Trey Gropp[4]; 3. 21H-Brady Bacon[6]; 4. 83-TJ Smith[1]; 5. 2D-Matt Sherrell[5]; 6. 17B-Ryan Bickett[3]; 7. 93-Kyle Bellm[8]; 8. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[7]; 9. 8B-Brock Berreth[9]; 10. (DNF) 53R-Sean Robbins[10].

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 15X-Carson Garrett[1]; 2. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[6]; 3. 22T-Don Droud Jr.[9]; 4. 11A-Andrew Felker[2]; 5. 47C-Chance Crum[4]; 6. 1G-Chase Stockton[7]; 7. 5W-Ben Worth[8]; 8. 56X-Mark Chisholm[10]; 9. (DNF) 37W-Zeb Wise[5]; 10. (DNF) 68S-Andy Bradley[3].

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 1S-Spencer Bayston[5]; 2. 29-Tim Buckwalter[2]; 3. 39-Logan Seavey[3]; 4. 67-Michael Kofoid[6]; 5. 72C-Jeffrey Champagne[4]; 6. 35L-Cody Ledger[7]; 7. 19P-Austin Prock[1]; 8. 11X-Donovan Peterson[10]; 9. 79M-Keith Martin[8]; 10. 71D-Jeff Wheeler[9].

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 84X-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 15D-Andrew Deal[2]; 3. 49J-Joe B Miller[5]; 4. 20G-Noah Gass[1]; 5. 31K-Frankie Guerrini[3]; 6. 2H-Nick Hoffman[9]; 7. 321-Chad Winfrey[6]; 8. 88-Terry Babb[7]; 9. 2L-Matt Linder[10]; 10. 17X-Tres Mehler[8].

Dave.com B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature

B-Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 20G-Noah Gass[2]; 2. 35L-Cody Ledger[4]; 3. 19P-Austin Prock[6]; 4. 7M-Brody Roa[13]; 5. 2H-Nick Hoffman[5]; 6. 72C-Jeffrey Champagne[1]; 7. 17-Tanner Berryhill[12]; 8. 321-Chad Winfrey[3]; 9. 11G-Mike Goodman[14]; 10. 88-Terry Babb[7]; 11. 71D-Jeff Wheeler[10]; 12. 11X-Donovan Peterson[8]; 13. (DNF) 4B-Jason McDougal[11]; 14. (DNF) 2L-Matt Linder[9]; 15. (DNS) 5W-Ben Worth; 16. (DNS) 68S-Andy Bradley.

B-Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 37W-Zeb Wise[6]; 2. 93-Kyle Bellm[5]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[7]; 4. 31K-Frankie Guerrini[2]; 5. 7MF-Chance Morton[14]; 6. 83-TJ Smith[1]; 7. 17B-Ryan Bickett[4]; 8. 17X-Tres Mehler[9]; 9. 87F-Johnny Kent[13]; 10. 12S-Brent Shearer[11]; 11. (DNF) 8B-Brock Berreth[10]; 12. (DNF) 21D-Justin Dickerson[15]; 13. (DNF) 1G-Chase Stockon[3]; 14. (DNF) 56X-Mark Chisholm[8]; 15. (DNF) 53R-Sean Robbins[12]; 16. (DNS) 79M-Keith Martin.

A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature

A-Feature (30 Laps): 1. 84X-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 67-Michael Kofoid[7]; 3. 21H-Brady Bacon[2]; 4. 1S-Spencer Bayston[3]; 5. 49J-Joe B Miller[8]; 6. 39-Logan Seavey[13]; 7. 29-Tim Buckwalter[11]; 8. 21G-Trey Gropp[5]; 9. 15D-Andrew Deal[12]; 10. 2D-Matt Sherrell[14]; 11. 71-Kaylee Bryson[6]; 12. 31K-Frankie Guerrini[24]; 13. 15X-Carson Garrett[9]; 14. 11A-Andrew Felker[15]; 15. 47C-Chance Crum[16]; 16. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[22]; 17. 20G-Noah Gass[17]; 18. 93-Kyle Bellm[20]; 19. 22T-Don Droud Jr[10]; 20. 7M-Brody Roa[23]; 21. (DNF) 25B-Steve Buckwalter[1]; 22. (DNF) 35L-Cody Ledger[19]; 23. (DNF) 37W-Zeb Wise[18]; 24. (DNF) 19P-Austin Prock[21].

Lap Leader(s): Steve Buckwalter 1-5; Spencer Bayston 6-7, 9; Christopher Bell 8, 10-30.

Hard Charger: Frankie Guerrini, plus-12

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 15 2021
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