Christmas Time Magic: Bell Flies to Leffler Memorial Win

Winner Christopher Bell (Norman, Okla.)
(Ray Hague Photo)

By: Lucas Halbert – Grassroots Racing News

Du Quoin, Illinois (December 18, 2021)………Christopher Bell came, saw, and conquered the 8th running of the Jason Leffler Memorial presented by Fatheadz Eyewear on Saturday night inside the Southern Illinois Center.

Less than a week before the USAC Midget non-points special event, it was announced that the NASCAR Cup Series driver and 2013 USAC National Midget champion from Norman, Okla. would be making his RMS Racing debut in the Walkapedia/EnviroFab/Response Management Services sponsored Spike/Speedway No. 7XT.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the open-wheel dirt racing community and made the Leffler a must-see event with 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe making a surprise appearance as well.

Eyes and ears were tuned in to see what magic could take place on the “Mini Magic Mile.” A mystical race-winning move may not have been made in the end, but something magical seemed to possess Bell in the 50-lap, $8,000-to-win feature race.

Outside front row starter Cannon McIntosh looked like he had been shot out of a cannon in the early going, taking the early advantage over pole sitter Briscoe to lead the opening 10 laps with ease. Hot on his heels was third-starting Bell, waiting for his chance to pounce.

As the two neared lap traffic, Bell’s motor began to jingle in McIntosh’s ear. After three laps of heavy pressure, Bell was finally able to sneak by to take the lead.

From there, chaos ensued from about second through fifth with McIntosh, Briscoe and Rudeen Racing drivers Chance Crum and Cory Eliason. Not long after Bell went to the lead, bad luck struck two drivers inside the top-five.

Eliason was the first to go around, then just a few laps later, second place running Briscoe went around as well nearing halfway.

From laps 30-44, the longest green-flag run of the race transpired and it’s where Bell said “adios” as McIntosh chased after.

McIntosh’s final chance at Bell on restart came with six laps to go. The Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports driver was not able to capitalize on the opportunity as Bell drove away to win the race and become the eighth different Leffler Memorial winner in eight tries.

The win was Bell’s first in the Jason Leffler Memorial, besting his previous best effort of second in 2014. Bell also picked up his second career win in the Southern Illinois Center, his first coming during the Junior Knepper 55 in 2017. With the victory, Bell ended his USAC-sanctioned Midget winless streak at three years and 27 days.

McIntosh held on to finish second for the newly combined Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports team. Crum placed third with Sam Johnson fourth and and Mitchel Moles rounding out the top-five.

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USAC MIDGET SPECIAL EVENT RACE RESULTS: December 18, 2021 – Southern Illinois Center – Du Quoin, Illinois – 1/5-Mile Dirt Oval – 8th Jason Leffler Memorial Presented by Fatheadz Eyewear

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Chad Boespflug (#14x Rosenboom) (3), 2. Christopher Bell (#7XT RMS) (4), 3. Chase Howard (#5o Hagar-Proctor) (2), 4. Rylan Gray (#36D Gray) (8), 5. R.J. Corson (#15 Corson) (1), 6. Garrett Thomas (#56 Chisholm) (7), 7. Travis Berryhill (#77s Sturgeon) (5). NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Mitchel Moles (#08m Dave Mac-Dalby) (3), 2. Chase Briscoe (#5 Briscoe) (7), 3. Derek Doerr (#20 Doerr) (2), 4. Terry Babb (#88 Babb) (6), 5. Don Dawson II (#6D Dawson) (1), 6. Carter Chevalier (#15c Rosenboom) (4), 7. Braydon Cromwell (#38 Horn) (5), 8. Joel Thorpe (#3 Thorpe) (8). NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Cannon McIntosh (#08 Dave Mac-Dalby) (2), 2. Chett Gehrke (#37x Felker) (1), 3. Jake Neuman (#3N Neuman) (3), 4. Sean Quinn (#28Q Rosenboom) (5), 5. Jeff Schindler (#11s Martin) (4), 6. Austin Barnhill (#08B Dave Mac-Dalby) (6), 7. Dillon Silverman (#4A RAMS) (7). NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Max Adams (#37T Felker) (1), 2. Cory Eliason (#26 Rudeen) (6), 3. Patrick Lawson (#45L Lawrence) (2), 4. Greg Mitchell (#001 Mitchell) (3), 5. Kayla Roell (#11K Martin) (5), 6. Sean Robbins (#53 Robbins) (7), 7. Chuck Walker (#55 Walker) (4). NT

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Chance Crum (#26R Rudeen) (1), 2. Sam Johnson (#72J Johnson) (4), 3. Mark Chisholm (#56x Chisholm) (6), 4. Zach Daum (#91 Harris) (5), 5. Jordan Kinser (#5K Briscoe) (2), 6. Zach Boden (#51 Boden) (3), 7. Daniel Robinson (#37 Felker) (7). NT

FIRST QUALIFIER: (15 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Cannon McIntosh (5), 2. Chase Briscoe (6), 3. Terry Babb (3), 4. Max Adams (4), 5. Zach Boden (8), 6. Travis Berryhill (9), 7. Patrick Lawson (2), 8. R.J. Corson (7), 9. Kayla Roell (1). NT

SECOND QUALIFIER: (15 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Christopher Bell (5), 2. Chance Crum (4), 3. Jeff Schindler (1), 4. Cory Eliason (6), 5. Dillon Silverman (8), 6. Sean Quinn (2), 7. Jake Neuman (3), 8. Don Dawson II (7), 9. Braydon Cromwell (9). NT

THIRD QUALIFIER: (15 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Zach Daum (2), 2. Rylan Gray (4), 3. Sam Johnson (5), 4. Chad Boespflug (6), 5. Chase Howard (3), 6. Austin Barnhill (7), 7. Chuck Walker (9), 8. Sean Robbins (8), 9. Garrett Thomas (1). NT

FOURTH QUALIFIER: (15 laps, passing points, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Jordan Kinser (1), 2. Mitchel Moles (6), 3. Greg Mitchell (2), 4. Daniel Robinson (8), 5. Chett Gehrke (4), 6. Derek Doerr (3), 7. Carter Chevalier (7), 8. Mark Chisholm (5), 9. Joel Thorpe (9). NT

FIRST SEMI: (15 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Dillon Silverman (3), 2. Zach Boden (2), 3. Austin Barnhill (6), 4. Jeff Schindler (1), 5. R.J. Corson (8), 6. Sean Quinn (4), 7. Kayla Roell (9), 8. Sean Robbins (7), 9. Patrick Lawson (5). NT

SECOND SEMI: (15 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Jake Neuman (4), 2. Chase Howard (1), 3. Travis Berryhill (5), 4. Garrett Thomas (9), 5. Derek Doerr (3), 6. Chuck Walker (6), 7. Don Dawson II (8), 8. Carter Chevalier (7). NT

ALSO AT THE TRACK: Tyler Robbins (#35 Robbins)

FEATURE: (50 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Christopher Bell (3), 2. Cannon McIntosh (2), 3. Chance Crum (5), 4. Sam Johnson (9), 5. Mitchel Moles (4), 6. Jordan Kinser (13), 7. Chad Boespflug (8), 8. Zach Daum (10), 9. Chett Gehrke (14), 10. Chase Briscoe (1), 11. Terry Babb (12), 12. Greg Mitchell (15), 13. Chase Howard (20), 14. Rylan Gray (7), 15. Jake Neuman (18), 16. Cory Eliason (6), 17. Max Adams (11), 18. Zach Boden (19), 19. Dillon Silverman (17), 20. Daniel Robinson (16). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 14-50 Christopher Bell