The last time Super Late Models roared around the 37-degree banking of Winchester, Indiana’s Winchester Speedway just about one month ago, Christopher Bell took the checkered flag. He’s hoping to do the same thing this Sunday afternoon. But that race was just 100 laps.
This race is 400 grueling laps around the famed half mile and it’s one of the most prestigious short track events in the country – the Winchester 400.
“This will be a way tougher race,” Bell told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’ve never done anything quite like this before as far as race length.”
Bell has run some long races, especially in his few NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this year, but none come close to Sunday’s Winchester 400. But it’s not just the amount of laps that makes things tough. It’s the grueling nature of each lap around the challenging Winchester Speedway.
“This definitely won’t be easy,” said Bell. “I’m hoping my guys can help me through it. If anything goes haywire in the beginning we’re not going to get down. I know my team will be able to carry me a little bit. Hopefully I can fall back on them and learn a little bit at the beginning of the race to hopefully be there at the end.”
Should Bell be there at the end he’ll most likely find himself battling with his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teammate Erik Jones. Jones is looking to become the first driver to win the ARCA/CRA Super Series Triple Crown with wins at the Battle at Berlin 251, the Redbud 300 at Anderson Speedway (IN), and the Winchester 400.
Bell said should he not win the race on Sunday that he hopes Jones can get the job done and take home the $100,000 bonus that comes with the Triple Crown.
“If he wins I’ll be super happy for him,” said Bell. “He’d have done a feat that’s really hard to do.
“But obviously I want to win and add this one to my resume,” added Bell. “I want to beat him because I want to win the race. That’s what it’s all about.”
Bell said he believes that he will have on advantage over most other drivers come Sunday, and that’s his experience doing live pit stops thanks to his foray into the Truck Series this year.
“We’re going to have a lot of pit stops and that will break the race up into segments,” he said. “I think having experience doing live pit stops will definitely help me. I think that will play huge into my favor. But at the same point, Chase Elliott and Erik have been doing it a lot longer than me.”
Not only have Elliott and Jones being doing live stops a lot longer than Bell, but they’ve also been racing at Winchester more than Bell. Elliott and Jones have 10 combined starts at the Winchester Speedway compared to Bell’s one.
But Bell isn’t said he isn’t concerned with that or with anyone else. He’s just concerned with learning as much as he can possibly learn, and staying out of trouble before going for the win in the late stages on Sunday.
“I’ve never been to this race before, so it’s going to be a learning experience,” he said. “To be able to win this race you have to get to lap 400 at the end. We’ll see if I can make it 400 laps without making a mistake.”
Watch Christopher Bell chase a Winchester 400 victory live by purchasing the 51 TV pay-per-view here: http://speed51.com/51livetv-events/
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com