A wild Turkey Night Grand Prix that featured four cautions and two red flags ended with Christopher Bell taking the checkered flag at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, becoming the latest winner of one of midget racing’s most revered events.
Bell was also in contention for the USAC Honda Midget Series title last night, but ultimately lost out to teammate Rico Abreu, who locked up the title with a fifth-place finish behind Bell, Darren Hagen, Sprint Cup star Kyle Larson, and Zach Daum.
But joining the likes of A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, and Tony Stewart as a Turkey Night winner had to have softened that blow for Bell.
“This place was not really my favorite in my first couple trips here, but tonight the track came to me and was definitely to my liking,” Bell said afterwards. “Once it got up pretty high and slick underneath it, I really got into a rhythm.
“It’s great to add this race to our list and get my name on there with all the great guys who have won it before me. We had a shot at the championship tonight, but Rico got the job done. It’s a great accomplishment for our team and caps off an amazing year.”
Abreu, a 22-year-old from Rutherford, California, ended up winning the USAC Midget title over Bell by 10 points, with Tracy Hines (-46) finishing third in the standings. Abreu won four races on the dirt this year in USAC National Midget competition.
Larson, who cut his teeth on the dirt before ascending to the heights of NASCAR, avoided disaster after getting into the back of a lapped car while running sixth. He fell back into the pack, but made a late charge to score a podium finish.
“…After I got into the lapped car and went to the work area, it just was so much better,” he said. “They said they didn’t even really do anything, but we were really good. I would have loved a caution once I got to third, but I was so happy to get a podium. I thought I was gonna stall out about sixth.”