Bell Repeats Eight Years Later!
The smell of high-octane fuel and burning rubber hung in the air over 7 Springs for the first time as Stock Car Championship Racing made it’s return to WBC after an 8 year absence.
Racers qualified for the Final through a series of Heats with Heat winners automatically advancing, and the remaining field filled out by highest point-earners that failed to capture a checkered flag.
The first Heat was played on a one-mile oval course with 130 laps and a mandatory pit window between 60 – 70 laps. Heat 1 saw 2 races roar through First Tracks Slope-side. In Race 1, John Coussis earned the checkered flag after leading 52 laps overall taking the lead just before the pit-window and refusing to let it go. In Race 2, Steve Lollis surged to first in the final 3 laps of his race (the only laps he led throughout the race but ultimately the only laps that mattered)!
Heat 2 saw the greatest turnout of the week with 4 races held on the Super Speedway. This was a 175 lap race featuring a mandatory pit window between laps 75-90. In Race 1, it was David Wolfe’s #29 that dominated the race capturing 100 of the 175 laps and essentially held the lead from lap 66 to the finish line. In Race 2, Brad Johnson and Bill Dyer shared the lion share of laps with Brad taking the win. In Race 3, high lap count cards led to a quick pit window before the race began to stretch out in the second half. Josh Coyle, leading with 94 laps in the race seemed to have everything in hand, before Justin Rice (who hadn’t moved from 6th place between the start of the race and the pit window) used the second half of the race to weave up to the front and capture the final 7 laps of the race and the checkered flag. Finally in Race 4, Carol Caler (who led 55 laps) took first place managing to edge out Josh Githens who led 75 laps of the race to come in second.
For Heat 4, a total of 3 races were held as entrants that had not yet won races desperately clawed to get to the Final before the window of opportunity closed. In Race 1, Curt Collins II road to victory leading the final 62 laps of his race. In Race 2, Andy Lewis took the checkered flag late in the last 5 laps overcoming threats from Patrick McLafferty, Ralph Gleaton, and Shannon Keating who led 49, 42, and 34 laps, respectively. In Race 3, Steve Lollis claimed a second checkered flag as he slammed the door on Marc Houde who had led 99 of the 130 laps and seemed to have the race on lock.
The Final saw point qualifiers Jim Bell, David Schneider, Josh Githens, and Bill Dyer join the winners due to their impressive race performances over the heats. Alternates Steve Cameron, Shannon Keating, and Steve Caler joined the field as 3 winners were unable to attend. The field of 12 was set and featured two former champions in Steve Caler and Jim Bell.
The Final race was held on a 200 lap Tri-Oval with two mandatory pit windows. Shannon Keating (#22) took the early lead during the first 21 laps of the race before track and weather conditions started to rear their ugly head. Shannon and Justin Rice (#28) were both showing signs of engine troubles in Turn 2 that was sure to hamper their vehicles until they came in for a pit. As Steve Cameron (#7) lost traction and found himself slipping to the back of the pack. David Wolfe (#29), who originally held pole position, took advantage of the situation to take the lead during the next 36 laps which proved be brutal to the field. During this rush to the first pit window, 3 Yellow Flags were drawn resulting in overheating engines for both Assistant Managers Steve Lollis and Steve Cameron, eliminating them both from the race. After the first pit window, Jim Bell (#17) took the next 12 laps moving from his starting position of 10th up to 1st. As the next 54 laps rolled forward, Jim Bell and Dave Schneider (#3) each jockeyed for the lead. However, it was Steve Caler (#1) who managed be out in front going into the 2nd mandatory pit. The pit came just a little too early for Josh Githens (#10) experienced some engine trouble shortly after exiting the pit. From lap 138 through lap 195, it was Steve Caler (#1) and Dave Schneider (#3) at the front of the pack and nose to nose looking for the victory. However, in the final 5 laps, it was Jim Bell (#17) who managed to weave his way to the front of the pack and pull away to daylight and the championship win.
A fitting script could not have been written better than the final result which saw the last champion of Stock Car Championship in 2015 successfully defend his title when the racing action returned to WBC in 2023.
|Final Race Standings
||Laps in Lead
|Curt Collins II||6||5||9||0|
Thank you to all racers to make this a successful returning event to WBC. Hope to see all of you back on the track in 2024!
|Moving towards the turn.
||A sunny day at the races.
|Heats of SCC return to WBC.
||Finalists including GM David Wolfe.