Christopher Bell had never seen the Winchester Speedway before arriving at the 37-degree banked half-mile oval in Winchester, Indiana this Labor Day weekend for the World Stock Car Festival. But it didn’t take long for the 20-year-old driver from Norman, Oklahoma to figure the place out.
Bell took the lead from Stephen Nasse on the first circuit of the 100-lap event and never looked back. He dominated the Winchester 100 to score the win in his first trip to “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
“It’s really awesome to have won here,” Bell told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “It’s also really surprising. I didn’t expect to come here and win in my first start here.”
While Bell was up front all race long, at no point was it an easy race. Bell had to deal with multiple restarts and multiple fast drivers.
The defending Winchester 100 winner, Cody Coughlin, put up a valiant effort as he tried to take down Bell. Daniel Hemric tried and failed to take down Bell. No matter who the challenger was, Bell was able to stay strong as he used the outside lane to power away on every restart.
Even on a restart with 15 laps to go, Bell was able to hold off Hemric and Coughlin to maintain the lead. Bell took the outside like he had every restart prior, and Hemric was on to his inside. Coughlin lined up in fourth and charged into third to begin a battle with Hemric allowing Bell to drive away.
Bell beat Hemric to the checkered flag by about 10 car lengths to take the win. Hemric held off a hard-charging Coughlin for second. Harrison Burton finished fourth and Quinnton Bear completed the top five.
Bell said that his dirt background helped him quickly adjust to the fast race track of Winchester.
“This place just suits my style with the banking,” said Bell. “It’s fast and you slide around and it’s just what I like to do.
“But the best part about today is we learned a lot for when we come back here for the 400.”
Bell said he’s looking to hold off his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Erik Jones as Jones tries for the $100,000 Triple Crown bonus. Jones won the Battle at Berlin 251 and the Redbud 300 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway. While Bell said he’d be very happy if Jones does win the bonus, he’d rather be the one celebrating the win.
“There’s definitely bragging rights on the line,” Bell said. “But he’ll be really hard to beat. He’s won the last two 400’s here so he definitely knows how to get the job done.”
An on-demand replay of today’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Earnest Performance can be found here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-world-stock-car-festival-sunday-at-winchester-2/
Highlights from today’s Winchester 100 will be available only on the 51 Network.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo
ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 100
Winchester Speedway, Winchester, Indiana
|9||81||Terry Fisher Jr|
|16||33||Wes Griffith Jr|
|26||20||Jack Dossey III|