Bell Lands WoO Win for Kunz
The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume III, No. 41
Lonnie Wheatley, PEVELY, Mo. (May 2, 2015) – Keith Kunz Motorsports doesn’t lack for skins on the wall. USAC titles, Golden Drillers from the Chili Bowl, Belleville Midget Nationals triumphs, you name it.
A World of Outlaws triumph was one thing missing from the list though.
Christopher Bell changed that on Saturday night, besting the World of Outlaws at Pevely’s Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway to give the Speedway Motors-powered Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 67 J&J an Outlaw triumph in just its second outing of the season.
“I’m pumped, I don’t know if I’ve ever been this happy, I just beat the Outlaws,” the jubilant 20-year-old from Norman, OK, exclaimed after the triumph.
And it wasn’t his first, as he scored his first World of Outlaws win in May of 2014 at Jacksonville Speedway in Illinois.
This time, he did it with Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby, the duo for whom he has piloted Midgets over the past couple of seasons.
And with just a half dozen Winged Sprint Car starts last year to go along with a random winged weekend back in 1999 for the Kunz team, it didn’t take long for the dynamic grouping to reach victory lane.
Bell’s Pevely triumph was a hard-earned one, with Bell chasing down early leader Kerry Madsen on the 15th round and then fighting off a Sammy Swindell challenge past the midway point to take the win. A talented duo with Pevely creds as well, as Madsen won last year’s Iron Man 55 at Pevely while Swindell was the reigning champion of the Spring event at I-55.
“I knew probably about ten laps in that I could get the lead, just didn’t know if I could hold it,” Bell commented. “I didn’t know who would come on late.”
After disposing of Madsen for the lead, Bell’s first challenger was Swindell after a mid-race caution. Swindell raced into the lead, only to have Bell battle back in front three laps later.
“He made me get my elbows up,” Bell explained.
Bell slipped away soon after, leaving Swindell and Jason Sides to battle it out for second. And with traffic in play, Sides and Swindell were closing the gap on Bell as the laps wound down until a final caution with just two laps to go denied a potential Sides sneak attack.
“Those last two laps, I told myself I was either gonna win or crash trying,” Bell explained.
There was no crash and Bell solidly put away his second career World of Outlaws triumph and the first for car owner Kunz.
Sides fought off Swindell and more challengers over the final pair circuits to secure runner-up honors. “It was pretty crazy, I don’t even remember half of the stuff that went on with Sammy, it was wild,” Sides commented.
Up to sixth from his 18th starting position by the time the final caution flew with two laps to go, Joey Saldana gained three late positions to capture third with Daryn Pittman and Swindell rounding out the top five.
Scheduled to start from the pole position after winning the Dash, Rico Abreu’s mount never fired for the “A” Main due to mechanical problems, reducing the reigning Chili Bowl champ to role of spectator.
Series: World of Outlaws
Track: Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway (Pevely, MO)
Car Count: 33
Quick Time: A new track record opened the night as tenth out among the field of 33, Kraig Kinser set his first quick time of the year with a lap of 10.891 seconds to shatter the previous record of 11.177 set by Craig Dollansky in April of 2013.
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Sammy Swindell (1), Rico Abreu (2), Bill Balog (1), Jason Sides (4).
Heat Moments: The competitive heat races were run off in clean, caution-free fashion. Rico Abreu outdueled David Gravel to win heat two, Balog denied Brad Sweet in heat three and Sides rallied past Brad Loyet on the fourth round to top heat four.
“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses): Hunter Schuerenberg (13).
“B” Main Moments: Hunter Schuerenberg rallied from 13th to third in the opening pair of rounds before going on to win the “B” Main after early leader Brian Brown slipped too high getting into turn three on the ninth lap and went for a wild ride; Steve Kinser led the opening round before looping it in front of the field in turn two for the first caution; Brady Bacon clipped a spinning Kinser and retired pitside a couple of laps later with front end woes; Joey Moughan came to a stop against the frontstretch wall after five laps following contact from Kinser, who was charging back through the field; Kinser was challenging for the final transfer only to bobble again in turn two in the closing rounds; A.J. Bruns rode the high line to take the fourth and final transfer away from Jacob Allen in the final corner; Allen caught a break and was added to the feature as the last alternate when Bill Balog scratched from the feature after breaking in the Dash.
“A” Main Cautions: Two
Lap 20 – A David Gravel spin on the frontstretch creates a mid-race breather as Bill Rose pulls to the infield.
Lap 38 – Paul McMahan goes up in smoke to create a green-white-checker just as Sides and Swindell were closing in on Bell for the lead.
“A” Main Hard Charger: Joey Saldana gained 15 positions by rallying from 18th to round out the podium in third.
The Box Score…
Qualifying: 1. 11k-Kraig Kinser 10.891, 2. 1s-Logan Schuchart 10.901, 3. 29-Kerry Madsen 10.906, 4. 7s-Jason Sides 10.947, 5. 67-Christopher Bell 10.951, 6. 9-Daryn Pittman 10.961, 7. 49-Brad Sweet 11.000, 8. 9x-Paul Nienhiser 11.018, 9. 17w-Bryan Clauson 11.058, 10. 24-Rico Abreu 11.104, 11. 41-Jamie Veal 11.159, 12. 6-Bill Rose 11.193, 13. 01-Sammy Swindell 11.198, 14. 7-David Gravel 11.200, 15. 17b-Bill Balog 11.203, 16. O5-Brad Loyet 11.219, 17. 2-Shane Stewart 11.262, 18. 15-Donny Schatz 11.276, 19. 51-Paul McMahan 11.300, 20. 71m-Joey Saldana 11.306, 21. 11-Steve Kinser 11.332, 22. 99x-Brady Bacon 11.351, 23. 4k-Kody Kinser 11.388, 24. 83-Kyle Hirst 11.398, 25. 1a-Jacob Allen 11.477, 26. 21-Brian Brown 11.568, 27. 17m-Joey Moughan 11.576, 28. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman 11.681, 29. 72-Kevin Petty 11.768, 30. 51b-Joe B. Miller 11.777, 31. 99-Korey Weyant 11.842, 32. 2b-A.J. Bruns 11.881, 33. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg 12.335.
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 01-Sammy Swindell, 2. 17w-Bryan Clauson, 3. 11k-Kraig Kinser, 4. 67-Christopher Bell, 5. 2-Shane Stewart, 6. 11-Steve Kinser, 7. 1a-Jacob Allen, 8. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. 72-Kevin Petty.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 24-Rico Abreu, 2. 7-David Gravel, 3. 1s-Logan Schuchart, 4. 9-Daryn Pittman, 5. 15-Donny Schatz, 6. 21-Brian Brown, 7. 99x-Brady Bacon, 8. 51b-Joe B. Miller.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 17b-Bill Balog, 2. 49-Brad Sweet, 3. 51-Paul McMahan, 4. 41-Jamie Veal, 5. 29-Kerry Madsen, 6. 17m-Joey Moughan, 7. 4k-Kody Kinser, 8. 99-Korey Weyant.
Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 7s-Jason Sides, 2. O5-Brad Loyet, 3. 71m-Joey Saldana, 4. 83-Kyle Hirst, 5. 9x-Paul Nienhiser, 6. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman, 7. 6-Bill Rose, 8. 2b-A.J. Bruns.
Dash (8 Laps): 1. 24-Rico Abreu, 2. 29-Kerry Madsen, 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 67-Christopher Bell, 5. 11k-Kraig Kinser, 6. 1s-Logan Schuchart, 7. 01-Sammy Swindell, 8. 17b-Bill Balog.
“B” Main (12 Laps – 4 Advance): 1. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg, 2. 4k-Kody Kinser, 3. 6-Bill Rose, 4. 2b-A.J. Bruns, 5. 1a-Jacob Allen, 6. 17m-Joey Moughan, 7. 99-Korey Weyant, 8. 51b-Joe B. Miller, 9. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman, 10. 11-Steve Kinser, 11. 72-Kevin Petty, 12. 21-Brian Brown, 13. 99x-Brady Bacon.
“A” Main Finish (40 Laps): 1. 67-Christopher Bell (4), 2. 7s-Jason Sides (3), 3. 71m-Joey Saldana (18), 4. 9-Daryn Pittman (9), 5. 01-Sammy Swindell (7), 6. 15-Donny Schatz (16), 7. 2-Shane Stewart (17), 8. 11k-Kraig Kinser (5), 9. 49-Brad Sweet (8), 10. 9x-Paul Nienhiser (11), 11. 7-David Gravel (15), 12. 29-Kerry Madsen (2), 13. 1s-Logan Schuchart (6), 14. 17w-Bryan Clauson (10), 15. 83-Kyle Hirst (20), 16. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg (22), 17. O5-Brad Loyet (14), 18. 2b-A.J. Bruns (23), 19. 51-Paul McMahan (19), 20. 6-Bill Rose (12), 21. 41-Jamie Veal (13), 22. 4k-Kody Kinser (21), 23. 1a-Jacob Allen (24), 24. 24-Rico Abreu (1).
Note: Jacob Allen started the feature as the first alternate after scheduled eighth-starter Bill Balog was unable to make the call.
Lap leaders: Kerry Madsen 1-14, Christopher Bell 15-20, Sammy Swindell 21-23, Bell 24-40.
The Wheatley Chronicles brings insight and highlights from all variety of racing series throughout the nation in 2015 and beyond along with the Open Wheel Power Rankings on a regular basis. Please send any comments, questions or advertising inquiries regarding The Wheatley Chronicles at www.sprintcarmania.com to Lonnie Wheatley at firstname.lastname@example.org.