Photo: DB3

Bell Best Again On Thursday

TULSA, Okla. – Christopher Bell has owned the River Spirit Expo Center on Thursday nights during the Chili Bowl and in 2020 it didn’t change, as the Norman, Oklahoma native drove to his fifth straight preliminary night win.

Driving for a new team this year in Tucker Boat Motorsports, Bell didn’t miss a beat. Driving from his sixth starting spot, Bell made quick work of the front two rows and was up to second on Lap 8 when he threw a massive slide job on Keith Kunz Motorsports young rookie talent Buddy Kofoid.

Three laps later Bell had race leader Thomas Meseraull in his cross hairs, as Bell lined up the pass on the front stretch and threw a massive slider on Lap 11, the two touched wheels going down the backstretch and Bell’s Toyota had the lead by Turn 3.

Bell, Tmez and Kofoid reached heavy lap traffic on Lap 16, with Bell holding a straightaway advantage while Meseraull and Kofoid duked it out for the final Saturday night A-main transfer.

When the checkers flew it was Bell emerging victorious, while Meseraull took the second spot.

“That was about as fun as gets right there, I freaking love this place, the way the track was you could run anywhere it was just so much fun,” Bell said.  “I knew when the prelim nights were posted that this night was going to be tough, Tmez is really fast and Kofoid is a great race car driver, I have a feeling next year Kofoid won’t be that easy to pass.”

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He usually makes it looks easy here in Tulsa, but tonight it wasn’t, as lap traffic played a massive role in the outcome of the race. Bell even made contact with a lap car taking the white flag which almost cost him the race.

“That startled me pretty bad, I kind of floated the middle and I was looking out the right side, and I thought he gave it to me, and he didn’t give it to me, but I’m glad it didn’t cost us.” Bell said. “I knew when the prelim nights were posted that this night was going to be tough, Tmez is really fast and Kofoid is a great race car driver, I have a feeling next year Kofoid won’t be that easy to pass.”

In the post-race press conference Bell raved about Kofoid, a young sprint car driver who has recently been signed by Keith Kunz Motorsports to not only compete in this year’s Chili Bowl, but contend for a USAC National Midget Title next season.

“I literally see me right here, I’ve been watching him for a while now, he’s got a little head start on me, whenever I started at Keith’s I was 18 and I promise I wasn’t running third on my prelim night. I told Pete in this off-season this kid is it.” Bell said.

An outlaw Kart driver from Penngrove, California, the 18 year old Kofoid has gotten some sprint car starts in the Midwest and turned to the midgets after receiving high praise from both Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell. Kofoid smiled as Bell made kind remarks about him.

“It means a lot and makes you feel pretty good, he’s in Cup right now, and to have someone fight for you, it means a lot to me, this is the start of opportunities I never thought would be possible. Sitting next to a guy like Christopher on my prelim night is incredible.” Kofoid said.

Second-place finisher Meseraull earned his best prelim night finish ever here in Tulsa, it was also the third time in his career he took advantage of the prelim night to lock into Saturday Night’s A-main.

Messaraul, who had to leave the building quickly following the checkered flag due to a family emergency, raved about his team in victory lane, and showed excitement about the opportunity to race Bell and Larson in Saturday’s main.

“I got some family problems back home, I got to leave right now to go back to Indy, I don’t know how I’m going to get back.” Meseraull said “That’s just part of my life, I’m excited to be here, I’m in some best stuff in the pits, and it shows. We’re running up front, I like to think I do a good job, we’ve just been good. Christopher Bell is one of the best but I think Larson is better. I’m just here trying to pay my bills and I’m excited to be up here and make a little money to do that.”

Bell’s win sets up a rematch that everyone has been hoping for, part four of Christopher Bell versus Kyle Larson. Bell has gotten the best of him for the past three years, but Larson has been incredible coming into the week, winning in New Zealand, the Turkey Night Grand Prix and the Hangtown 100 at the Placerville Speedway.

“I mean it seems that it keeps going on that’s for sure, You know he’s going to be there at the end.”
Bell said about he and Larson’s friendly rivalry and the battles here in Tulsa. “Rico is on kill mode right now, my teammate Aaron Ruetzel was outstanding at the end of Monday night. I think there are a ton of guys that will show up and be contenders and we are in for a treat on Saturday.”

Results

Pos Start Driver
1 6 Christopher Bell
2 3 Thomas Meseraull
3 2 Michael Kofoid
4 5 Logan Seavey
5 1 Shane Golobic
6 15 Spencer Bayston
7 12 C.J. Leary
8 11 Jason McDougal
9 14 Jerry Coons Jr
10 8 Steve Buckwalter
11 4 Tanner Berryhill
12 10 Jake Neuman
13 16 Joe B. Miller
14 17 Shane Cottle
15 20 Ryan Smith
16 23 Dave Darland
17 13 Chance Crum
18 9 Andrew Deal
19 24 Travis Berryhill
20 18 Kyle Cummins
21 21 Cory Kruseman
22 7 Cole Bodine
23 22 Jack Dover
24 19 Andrew Felker

B-Main 1 (15 Laps): 1. 9P-Shane Cottle[3]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[2]; 3. 21K-Cory Kruseman[5]; 4. 2ND-Dave Darland[1]; 5. 47X-Danny Stratton[4]; 6. 17B-Ryan Bickett[10]; 7. 6-Bill Rose[14]; 8. 10C-Dalton Camfield[6]; 9. 87F-Johnny Kent[12]; 10. 321-Chad Winfrey[9]; 11. 2C-Seth Carlson[8]; 12. 78M-Merle Scherb[15]; 13. 7R-Austin Williams[11]; 14. 11-Cale Conley[13]; 15. 52C-Cody Karl[7]; 16. (DNS) 56D-Mitchell Davis

B-Main 2 (15 Laps): 1. 1G-Kyle Cummins[1]; 2. 67S-Ryan Smith[2]; 3. 117-Jack Dover[7]; 4. 27D-Travis Berryhill[3]; 5. 7MF-Chance Morton[4]; 6. 5G-Ben Worth[10]; 7. 35L-Cody Ledger[9]; 8. 49-Scott Kreutter[5]; 9. 23S-Kyle Simon[6]; 10. 77U-Chris Urish[8]; 11. 4M-Michelle Decker[13]; 12. 02-Andy Gage[11]; 13. 67K-Holley Hollan[14]; 14. 00X-Jason Martin[15]; 15. 51X-Joe Walker[12]; 16. (DNS) 17T-Stevie Sussex

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 76M-Jason McDougal[1]; 2. 39B-Cole Bodine[10]; 3. 91B-Tanner Berryhill[5]; 4. 2ND-Dave Darland[4]; 5. 15D-Andrew Deal[6]; 6. 7MF-Chance Morton[2]; 7. 49-Scott Kreutter[9]; 8. 117-Jack Dover[8]; 9. 77U-Chris Urish[7]; 10. 35L-Cody Ledger[3]

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 67-Michael Kofoid[4]; 2. 3N-Jake Neuman[3]; 3. 39-Logan Seavey[5]; 4. 67S-Ryan Smith[1]; 5. 55V-CJ Leary[6]; 6. 47X-Danny Stratton[7]; 7. 10C-Dalton Camfield[8]; 8. 2C-Seth Carlson[10]; 9. 56D-Mitchell Davis[9]; 10. 5G-Ben Worth[2]

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[5]; 2. 08M-Joe B Miller[1]; 3. 7X-Thomas Meseraull[6]; 4. 19B-Spencer Bayston[9]; 5. 11A-Andrew Felker[7]; 6. 27D-Travis Berryhill[8]; 7. 21K-Cory Kruseman[4]; 8. 23S-Kyle Simon[3]; 9. 7R-Austin Williams[10]; 10. 17B-Ryan Bickett[2]

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 84X-Christopher Bell[3]; 2. 25-Jerry Coons Jr[2]; 3. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[5]; 4. 1G-Kyle Cummins[7]; 5. 31B-Chance Crum[6]; 6. 9P-Shane Cottle[4]; 7. 52C-Cody Karl[1]; 8. 321-Chad Winfrey[9]; 9. 02-Andy Gage[10]; 10. 17T-Stevie Sussex[8]

C-Main 1 (12 Laps): 1. 11-Cale Conley[8]; 2. 6-Bill Rose[6]; 3. 87F-Johnny Kent[3]; 4. 78M-Merle Scherb[1]; 5. 32D-Casey Shuman[4]; 6. M1-Mark Smith[10]; 7. 11P-Laydon Pearson[16]; 8. 24F-Hunter Fischer[9]; 9. 72X-Jeff Wheeler[11]; 10. 33J-James Davison[13]; 11. 46X-Jeffrey Champagne[15]; 12. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[14]; 13. 1H-Rick Horn[12]; 14. 73-Dylan Ito[7]; 15. 7JR-JD Black[5]; 16. 2X-AJ Fike[2]; 17. (DNS) 3B-Jessie Barber

C-Main 2 (12 Laps): 1. 4M-Michelle Decker[10]; 2. 51X-Joe Walker[3]; 3. 00X-Jason Martin[4]; 4. 67K-Holley Hollan[5]; 5. 57K-Kevin Studley[2]; 6. 11X-Donovan Peterson[1]; 7. 68B-Blain Petersen[12]; 8. 21D-Justin Dickerson[14]; 9. Q23-Barrie Valentino[8]; 10. 41X-Howard Moore[9]; 11. 00D-Daniel Sanchez[11]; 12. 715-Robert Bell[6]; 13. 84S-Shaun Shapel[7]; 14. 17M-Kala Keliinoi[13]; 15. (DNS) 72-Eric Fenton; 16. (DNS) 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 55V-CJ Leary[5]; 2. 15D-Andrew Deal[8]; 3. 11A-Andrew Felker[4]; 4. 02-Andy Gage[1]; 5. 52C-Cody Karl[9]; 6. 7JR-JD Black[6]; 7. 41X-Howard Moore[3]; 8. 3B-Jessie Barber[2]; 9. 11P-Laydon Pearson[7]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[3]; 2. 77U-Chris Urish[1]; 3. 2ND-Dave Darland[7]; 4. 117-Jack Dover[6]; 5. 87F-Johnny Kent[4]; 6. 39B-Cole Bodine[8]; 7. M1-Mark Smith[5]; 8. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr[2]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 7X-Thomas Meseraull[5]; 2. 31B-Chance Crum[7]; 3. 49-Scott Kreutter[2]; 4. 78M-Merle Scherb[1]; 5. 51X-Joe Walker[3]; 6. 2C-Seth Carlson[8]; 7. Q23-Barrie Valentino[6]; 8. 21D-Justin Dickerson[4]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 21K-Cory Kruseman[2]; 2. 47X-Danny Stratton[1]; 3. 3N-Jake Neuman[6]; 4. 5G-Ben Worth[8]; 5. 57K-Kevin Studley[5]; 6. 84S-Shaun Shapel[4]; 7. 72-Eric Fenton[7]; 8. 46X-Jeffrey Champagne[3]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 91B-Tanner Berryhill[4]; 2. 17B-Ryan Bickett[3]; 3. 56D-Mitchell Davis[2]; 4. 11X-Donovan Peterson[1]; 5. 19B-Spencer Bayston[7]; 6. 7R-Austin Williams[8]; 7. 4M-Michelle Decker[5]; 8. 33J-James Davison[6]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 39-Logan Seavey[4]; 2. 25-Jerry Coons Jr[3]; 3. 23S-Kyle Simon[6]; 4. 67S-Ryan Smith[7]; 5. 32D-Casey Shuman[2]; 6. 6-Bill Rose[5]; 7. 68B-Blain Petersen[1]; 8. 1H-Rick Horn[8]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 84X-Christopher Bell[1]; 2. 35L-Cody Ledger[4]; 3. 17T-Stevie Sussex[3]; 4. 321-Chad Winfrey[2]; 5. 10C-Dalton Camfield[8]; 6. 715-Robert Bell[5]; 7. 24F-Hunter Fischer[7]; 8. 00D-Daniel Sanchez[6]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 9P-Shane Cottle[2]; 2. 76M-Jason McDougal[3]; 3. 67-Michael Kofoid[7]; 4. 2X-AJ Fike[1]; 5. 27D-Travis Berryhill[8]; 6. 11-Cale Conley[4]; 7. 72X-Jeff Wheeler[5]; 8. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[6]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 7MF-Chance Morton[1]; 2. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[5]; 3. 1G-Kyle Cummins[4]; 4. 08M-Joe B Miller[7]; 5. 00X-Jason Martin[2]; 6. 67K-Holley Hollan[6]; 7. 73-Dylan Ito[8]; 8. 17M-Kala Keliinoi[3]