Christopher Bell, doing what he does best, stole the show in dramatic fashion winning the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards SCOTT 150 Thursday night at Chicagoland Speedway.
Bell, at 22-years old and arguably one of the greatest raw talents in the sport today, used a combination of strategy and sheer determination to earn his third career ARCA series win.
Taking a risk on strategy, Venturini Motorsports bolted on four fresh General Tires on Bell’s Toyota machine during the final caution; then, with a bold, bonsai move on the high-side, Bell charged from the eighth starting position to the front over a green-white-checker finish to win the thrilling ARCA race under the lights at Chicagoland.
Bell, in the No. 25 Musselman's Big Cup Apple Sauce-JBL Toyota, got a big break with 10 laps to go when the leader cut a right-front tire and brought out the final caution. Bell, under the direction of his crew chief Dave Leiner, came down pit road for his last set of tires, which gave the Norman, Oklahoma driver the magic he needed to get the lead.
"I was getting nervous," said Bell. "I knew we were running out of time...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. Don't know if we had the fastest car but my crew kept four tires laying there for us to bring it home. Obviously 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. Bell’s victory also marks the 44th overall team victory in series competition for the high-powered Toyota team.
"Really special day," Bell said. "The Venturini’s 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. My pit crew just did a fantastic job, all these guys on this Venturini Motorsports 25-Camry were amazing. All of our partners – Musselman’s and JBL and all the guys at Toyota – Toyota Racing Development they help us out and they’re the reasons why we’re here."
Venturini Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished fourth in the No. 15 Switch-Venturini Motorsports Toyota.