Dirt track specialist getting pavement experience.
Racing a full-bodied Late Model on asphalt looked like anything but new for 19-year-old Christopher Bell this past Saturday night as the Norman, OK, native raced to victory lane in just his third try on asphalt.
Saturday’s win aboard the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 52 in the 150-lapper at Durham, North Carolina’s Orange County Speedway marked the young racer’s 22nd overall feature win of the 2014 season after reeling off 21 triumphs in a mix of Midgets, winged and non-wing Sprint Cars.
With his first asphalt triumph under his belt, Bell shifts his attention beginning tonight to I-30 Speedway’s Short Track Nationals in Little Rock, AR, where he has finished second in the previous two editions of the $15,000 to win event.
“It was awesome,” Bell said of Saturday night’s asphalt late model triumph at Orange County Speedway. “It shocked me that I won, it shocked the whole team.”
It probably shouldn’t have been that much of a shock, as Bell was fast throughout the weekend.
“We were the best car all weekend, we were fast in practice Friday night and then qualified well on Saturday and redrew for the pole,” Bell said.
While the pole starter jumped out to the early lead, Bell reeled him in soon enough and took command.
“The spotter was telling me to slow down to save my equipment,” Bell says. “I did and John Hunter Nemecheck.”
Battle with Nemecheck
Nemecheck passed Bell for the lead, with the duo swapping the point a number of times along the way.
“Nemecheck got to me and passed me,” Bell says. “Then he’d slow down to save tires, someone would get up to me so I would pick up the pace and pass him back for the lead. We probably passed each other six or seven times.”
Bell eventually took command and checked out to put the race away.
“John Hunter finally slowed down after about 100 laps or so, I guess he wore his stuff out, we checked out then and won it.”
The experience was a new one for Bell. “It’s entirely different from Sprint Car racing but I enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun.”
After breaking his maiden in the asphalt late model ranks, Bell shifts his attention to I-30 Speedway’s prestigious Short Track Nationals that gets under way Wednesday night with the Short Track Nationals Open before Bell’s qualifying night on Friday.
“I hope we can get the win this time, I’m tired of running second,” Bell explains after running second each of the past two years in October atop the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval.
“This is such a tough event, we could just as easily miss the show after running second twice before,” Bell comments. “There’s so many good cars at this race, everything has to go just right to have a chance of it.”
Bell’s ride for the Short Track Nationals is Brandon Berryman’s All Pro Auto Reconditioning No. 31b, a ride he drove to a pair of ASCS Speedweek wins in June.