Christopher Bell will be going for his 28th victory to close out a remarkable year in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center presented by K&N Filters on Dec. 20 at the one-sixth Mini-Magic Mile in the Southern Illinois Center on the grounds of the DuQuoin State Fair.
Bell will be driving a Toyota-powered Bullet, a car the 19-year-old won 11 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and a total of 16 midget features this season, for Keith Kunz Motorsports. Bell is the National Midget Driver of the Year for the second straight season and also won the Badger Midget Series crown in 2014. He’s also won races in sprint cars and super late model stock cars in 2014 to establish himself as one of motor racing’s fastest rising stars.
“It’s a race I really enjoy going to and I’m really excited about it,” Bell said. “It’s a fun event and a beautiful track. It definitely would be nice to win it. It’s right in the middle of the off-season and it will help us get ready for the Chili Bowl.”
Bell has raced once previously in the Battle at the Center, a non-points event sanctioned by POWRi. He was running third late in the 2012 feature before being caught up in a crash.
Bell’s victory in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series $10,000-to-win 66 Mike Phillips Memorial at age 16 in 2011 launched his career. He moved into midgets and sprint cars the next year and joined Kunz’s powerhouse operation in 2013. Bell had four POWRi Midget victories and also won the Honda USAC National Midget championship in his first season with Kunz.
Driving a Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Bell won his first pavement race in his third late model start at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C., in October.
Bell finished third in the championship feature at the prestigious Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals a year ago. He doesn’t have any definitive plans beyond the 2015 event from Jan. 12-17 at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center.
“I know I’ll be at the Chili Bowl with Keith,” Bell said. “The Chili Bowl is my favorite race. After that, next year depends on what comes my way.”