PLACERVILLE, Calif. – As of last week, prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series season finale, Christopher Bell was not planning to head west and race with the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series.
However, plans changed, and Bell found himself in California when the pits opened Tuesday for the inaugural Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway.
Bell will drive Chad Boat’s familiar No. 84 both Tuesday and Wednesday night at the quarter-mile dirt oval, chasing his second midget win of the year with Tucker/Boat Motorsports in advance of his Chili Bowl run with the team in January at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla.
The Norman, Okla., driver and recent Xfinity Series championship finalist chuckled when reminded by Sprint Car & Midget in the pit area Tuesday afternoon that five days ago, he wasn’t going to be there.
“Yeah, it was a last-minute decision to come out here,” Bell admitted. “I won’t say I got talked into it … but there was an opportunity here to jump behind the wheel and I’ll never pass up an opportunity to jump in a race car and drive.”
The Hangtown 100 will utilize a modified Trophy Cup format, with a premium on passing cars and scoring points and a $12,000 event champion’s prize up for grabs, in addition to a $20,000 paycheck for winning the 100-lap main event on Wednesday night.
It’s a crown-jewel event on prestige alone, even before cars have hit the track, and Bell is looking forward to being a part of it.
“What Matt (Wood) has done to put this deal on is really neat. It’s a big deal for midget racing,” Bell noted. “We’ll go out to win, just like we always do, but it’s cool to be out here for the inaugural Hangtown and hopefully it’s a great show both nights.”