Bell Wins Lou Blaney Memorial

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell celebrates the Lou Blaney Memorial victory. (Photo: Vince Vellella)

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Race Results

Becoming the ninth different winner in nine contested events, Christopher Bell scored the 9th Annual Lou Blaney Memorial victory at Sharon Speedway, this time leading all 30 circuits around the Hartford 3/8-mile oval to score $5,000. For Bell, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions victory was the second of his young career and his first since July of 2016, earning the Dirt Classic Indiana preliminary win at Kokomo Speedway. On a special note, Bell’s Lou Blaney Memorial triumph occurred during the 100th Arctic Cat All Star visit to Sharon Speedway.

The Norman, Oklahoma, native started second on the Lou Blaney Memorial grid and took command instantly, ultimately lapping up to the ninth position, crossing under the final checkers 1.03 seconds ahead of the “Brownsburg Bullet” Joey Saldana and defending Arctic Cat All Star champion, Chad Kemenah.

“I just want to thank all of you fans for coming out here tonight,” Christopher Bell said in victory lane. “It’s a pleasure to drive in front of a crowd like this. You guys are the reason why we are out here. It’s a true honor to be able to win this race. It means so much to me. I think sprint cars have kinda been the downfall of my career, so I’m glad to prove to all of you fans that I can be a great sprint car driver, too.”

Bell survived three cautions during his campaign at the front of the field, extending his advantage to nearly three seconds during certain segments of the main event. Even when traffic intensified, the pilot of the Dough-Si-Dough/Linder’s Speed Equipment/No. 11N was flawless, maneuvering by two to three cars at a time.

“The track was really technical up there on the wall,” Christopher Bell said. “It made it pretty easy to screw up and crash, so I’m thankful that didn’t happen. Some of the lapped cars would get going on the top, but when I got to them they would drop down. I was glad to build up a lead because I did screw up a couple of times, but nobody was able to show me a nose.”

Saldana, who started on the outside of row two, moved his way into second by lap two. At one point, the Brownsburg, Indiana, native successfully used traffic to chase down Bell, nearly erasing all of his lead just before the halfway point. A caution on lap 22 would give Saldana his best chance at getting by Bell, but Bell’s route around the outer ring of the speedway proved to be too much of an upper hand.

“There was a little bit of grip at the exit of four, but I probably should have waited until the end to use it instead of right after that last restart,” Joey Saldana said, pilot of the Indy Race Parts/No. 71. “Bell is good. He’s always winning in something, so to be second to him is a good night. I really enjoy racing with the All Stars. Hopefully Bernie and I can come back out here and do it again soon.”

With many of the Series regulars making the trek to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, for the 34th Annual Kings Royal on July 13-15, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will not return to competition until Friday, July 21, when the Series kicks-off the second-ever I-79 Summer Shootout in Western Pennsylvania. Action will commence on Friday evening, July 21, at the Eriez Speedway just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania.

I-79 Summer Shootout competition will continue on Saturday evening, July 22, with a visit to Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway near Imperial, Pennsylvania, followed by a stop at Tri-City Raceway Park near Franklin, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, July 23. All three programs will award a $5,000 top prize, as well as full points toward the 2017 Arctic Cat All Star championship.

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