Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (March 24, 2022) – The POWRi Midget League’s “Turnpike Challenge” has always treated Christopher Bell quite well.
Thursday night was no exception, as the Norman, OK, native kicked off the Ninth Annual “Turnpike Challenge” by wiring the field aboard the Toyota-powered Keith Kunz Motorsports / Curb Records No. 67 in the 30-lap Midget main event atop the 1/5-mile Port City Raceway clay oval.
The NASCAR Cup Series star was joined on the podium by KKM stablemate Bryant Wiedeman and CB Industries rep Mitchel Moles.
The victory marked Bell’s tenth “Turnpike Challenge” triumph in 21 feature events since its inception in 2014 and the 30th of his POWRi career.
But it was the first time in just over three years that Bell had reached victory lane at Port City.
“It feels like it has been a while since I won a race here,” Bell commented afterward. “I finished second to Buddy (Kofoid) here last October. I have his crew chief Jarrett (Martin) working on the car this weekend and he had it working great.”
Bell rounded out the night by winning the Outlaw Micro Sprint feature event as well.
The evening started inauspiciously with early heat race struggles. “I was running last!” Bell exclaimed. But, Bell capitalized on a pair of mid-race cautions and then battled past Moles to claim runner-up heat race honors that earned him the pole starting position for the feature event.
From there, it was smooth sailing all the way as Bell outgunned Wiedeman for the point at the outset and never looked back.
Following a caution after two laps, Bell reached traffic after eight rounds and worked high and low to slice through traffic as he maintained a safe lead until the first of three late race cautions appeared after 23 rounds.
Bell weathered the spate of cautions and raced unabated to the checkered flag following the final interruption with three rounds remaining.
“I feel like I’ve been sitting on 29 POWRi wins for a while now, so it’s good to get the 30th,” Bell commented. “Hopefully we can get the 31st tomorrow night in Oklahoma City.”
Defending series champion Wiedeman was solid in second throughout, while California’s Moles battled past Broken Arrow shoe Jonathan Beason in the closing rounds to claim the show position.
Fellow Cali racer and CBI entry Dominic Gorden made his way into fourth as Beason rounded out the top five. Taylor Reimer was sixth with Chance Crum, Kaylee Bryson, Cannon McIntosh and Brenham Crouch completing the top ten.
Bryson held down the fourth position until the 23rd round when she slid to a stop in turn two before managing to battle back up to eighth. Crum tangled with a lapped car while battling for a top-five position three laps later before racing back through the field to salvage a seventh-place showing. McIntosh rallied from the tail to ninth after switching to a back-up car following heat race action.
McIntosh, Wiedeman and Bryson topped heat race action for the 26-car field.
POWRi Midget “Ninth Annual Turnpike Challenge”
Port City Raceway – Tulsa, OK
Thursday – March 24, 2022
A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 67-Christopher Bell; 2. 01-Bryant Wiedeman; 3. 89-Mitchel Moles; 4. 83-Dominic Gorden; 5. 8J-Jonathan Beason; 6. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 7. 26-Chance Crum; 8. 71-Kaylee Bryson; 9. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 10. 97-Brenham Crouch; 11. 32-Trey Marcham; 12. 00-Ryan Timms; 13. 87-Jace Park; 14. 60M-Zac Millikin; 15. 84-Jade Avedisian; 16. 71E-Mariah Ede; 17. 44-Branigan Roark; 18. 40-Chase McDermand; 19. 14E-Hank Davis; 20. 21-Emilio Hoover; 21. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 22. 17-Tanner Berryhill
Super Clean B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 44-Branigan Roark; 2. 84-Jade Avedisian; 3. 87-Jace Park; 4. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 5. 14E-Hank Davis; 6. 21-Emilio Hoover; 7. 7U-Kyle Jones; 8. 22-Curtis Jones; 9. 15-Gavin Stout; 10. 21K-Karter Sarff
Advanced Racing Suspensions Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 2. 26-Chance Crum; 3. 17-Tanner Berryhill; 4. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 5. 71E-Mariah Ede; 6. 44-Branigan Roark; 7. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 8. 21K-Karter Sarff; 9. 22-Curtis Jones
MVT Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 01-Bryant Wiedeman; 2. 8J-Jonathan Beason; 3. 40-Chase McDermand; 4. 83-Dominic Gorden; 5. 97-Brenham Crouch; 6. 00-Ryan Timms; 7. 14E-Hank Davis; 8. 15-Gavin Stout; 9. 21-Emilio Hoover
Auto Meter Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 71-Kaylee Bryson; 2. 67-Christopher Bell; 3. 89-Mitchel Moles; 4. 60M-Zac Millikin; 5. 32-Trey Marcham; 6. 7U-Kyle Jones; 7. 87-Jace Park; 8. 84-Jade Avedisian