Fresh Tires Take Bell To ARCA Win At Chicagoland

RaceChaser Staff ARCA, Featured 0 Comments

Christopher Bell celebrates with a burnout after winning Thursday’s SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway. (Jeremy Thompson photo)

JOLIET, Ill. — Christopher Bell may not have had the best car, but he and his team certainly had the best strategy in scoring the win in Thursday night’s ARCA Racing Series SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Bell bolted on four fresh General Tires during the final caution, and with a bold, bonsai move on the high-side, charged from the eighth to the front during a green-white-checker finish to take down the checkers in his first ARCA appearance of the season.

The Norman, Okla. native barely had a top-five car, but got a big break with 10 laps to go when leader Michael Self cut a right-front tire and brought out the final caution after pacing 29 laps.

Under the direction of crew chief Dave Leiner, Bell came down pit road at that point for his last set of tires, which gave him the magic he needed to get the lead — and the win.

“I was getting nervous,” said Bell. “I knew we were running out of time … but I’m just glad I was able to capitalize on those tires. Today was big for me. I was able to practice for the (NASCAR) Truck race and race this car. I don’t know if we had the fastest car, but my crew kept four tires laying there for us to bring it home.

“Obviously (it was) an awesome advantage to have tires over everyone at the end.”

It also gave Venturini Motorsports, which grew its roots in the Chicago area, a hometown win and the team’s first victory of the season.

“Really special day,” Bell said. “The Venturinis have always been really fun to race with. To be able to win again for them and to see how happy they were in victory lane was really special.”

Christopher Bell (25) charges forward during a late restart Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway. (Jeremy Thompson photo)

Bell, with a surge on the outside on the last restart, was running second by the time the pack came off turn two. With a big head of steam, Bell dived to the bottom and drove underneath Austin Theriault for the lead.

Theriault finished second, two-lengths away after leading one lap.

“I was really tight and then Christopher Bell passed me,” said Theriault. “Can’t thank everyone enough at Ken Schrader Racing. We’ve been working so hard to get our intermediate program better. We knew some of it was aero and some was the car…we had to balance the two.”

“We’ve turned the corner. We wanted a solid run this weekend and we got one. We ran over some debris in that last caution and smashed the front bumper in. With all the variables and all the damage, I’m pretty happy with second place.”

Brandon Jones, in the No. 8 Australian Gold Toyota for MDM Motorsports, finished third after leading the first eight laps from the General Tire Pole.

“I thought we were going to have a Michigan repeat,” said Jones, who won the last two ARCA races at Michigan. “Honestly, it was just too loose in the end … I just couldn’t hold onto it. Everything was there … I just needed a little more in the end.”

Noah Gragson and Chad Finley completed the top five.

Dalton Sargeant finished sixth, ahead of Ty Majeski, Shane Lee, Myatt Snider and Bret Holmes.

Majeski showed his might early on, driving past Jones for the top spot to take lead on lap nine. The Roush Fenway Racing development driver dominated much of the race, leading 50 laps before Self surfaced at the front and drove away from everyone.

Self built a three second lead before his right-front tire went down causing extensive damage to his car. It also gave Bell the chance to get four fresh tires and ultimately compete for the win.

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returns to action at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 22, with the running of the Crosley 150.

CREDIT: ARCA Communications

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