Lonnie Wheatley, NORMAN, Okla. (January 20, 2015) – Little more than 72 hours after competing in his second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals championship finale, Christopher Bell will kick off five consecutive nights of Sprint Car action on the other side of the world in Australia.
Bell battled through a record field of 326 competitors at the Chili Bowl last week to put the Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 71 Toyota-powered Midget among the 24-car starting field for Saturday night’s 55-lap finale.
Now it’s back to 410-ci Sprint Car action with the Consol Racing No. 21 for five nights that culminates with the Grand Annual SprintCar Classic at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway.
Bell arrived in Tulsa last week fresh off four consecutive top-ten runs in winged 410-ci Sprint Car Winter Heat action at Yuma’s Cocopah Speedway.
After a run to fourth in the Tuesday night VIROC (Race of Champions), the 20-year-old found himself behind the eight ball when he cut a right rear tire in his Thursday night qualifying race.
Bell bounced back with a “B” Main win and then after getting caught up in a lap two melee that collected half the feature field, the Norman, OK, native rallied from the tail of the field to post a fifth-place finish.
Beginning Saturday’s action in row two of a “B” Main before a packed house and live television audience on MavTV, Bell drove to a convincing heat race win to earn the 14th starting position for the Chili Bowl main event.
Bell was on the move early, cracking the top ten by the eighth round and setting himself up to be in contention for the win as the laps clicked off. This one wasn’t meant to be however. After a harmless turn four spin while dicing for fifth with Andrew Deal on the 22nd lap, Bell’s race came to a sudden end when he was forced to the work area with a flat right front tire.
With action resuming before the tire could be changed, Bell could only watch teammate Rico Abreu race on to Chili Bowl glory.
The fifth Chili Bowl in the books, Bell is back in action beginning Wednesday night in Australia (early Wednesday morning American time) at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway before moving on to Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway and then the three-night Grand Annual SprintCar Classic.
2015 Quick Stats: 8 races, 2 top-fives, 6 top-tens.
Wednesday – Avalon Raceway (Geelong, AUS)
Thursday – Borderline Speedway (Mount Gambier, AUS)
Friday, Saturday and Sunday – Premier Speedway (Warrnambool, AUS)
Keep Track: Keep track of Christopher Bell’s on-track action including schedule and results at http://www.christopherbellracing.com/
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Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on racinboys.com, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events. For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org