Bell on top in FS1’s WoO iRacing Invitational

Photo by SETH EGGERT for KICKIN' THE TIRES / iRacing

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

With $1,000 on the line and the World of Outlaws iRacing Invitational broadcasted nationally on Fox Sports 1, leave it to Christopher Bell to steal the show.

At the virtual recreation of the Dirt Track at Charlotte, Bell maneuvered his No. 21 CB Industries Sprint Car into the lead just after halfway. Much like the real-life exciting passes Bell is known for, he traded slide jobs with race leader Kevin Swindell.

The duo traded the lead back and forth on the four-tenths-mile Charlotte dirt track. Bell prevailed, taking the lead almost at the exact same time as the final caution.

David Gravel got out of shape and was nailed by Austin McCarl. The impact flipped Gravel onto his side and damaged the virtual engine on McCarl’s car.

Bell shot ahead of the field on the ensuing restart and never looked back. The NASCAR Cup Series driver left Swindell to hold off a charge from Logan Schuchart. When the checkered flag waved, Bell had extended his lead to 2.352 seconds.

The Leavine Family Racing driver, who worked with iRacing to develop their dirt track product, understood what his win meant:

“That was fun, that’s for sure. I had the honor of working with iRacing to get these things going a little bit when they released the dirt. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of that. This was a special night with everything that went into it.

“It’s been really cool to see the evolution of iRacing as a whole. I’ve been on this thing for so long now that it was a game and a lot of fun for my friends and I to get on here and start. Now, it’s our job, with NASCAR on Sundays and the Outlaws coming onboard as well. It’s just really cool to see iRacing capitalizing on this moment of everyone being at home and needing something to do.”

Following the duo of Swindell and Schuchart was late model driver Trent Ivey, who went on to win the Late Model feature of the World of Outlaws iRacing Pro Invitational, and Max McLaughlin.

Carson Macedo, Kyle Larson, Brian Brown, Robbie Kendall, and Ryan Bernal rounded out the top-10.

Finishing 12th was notable iRacer and NHRA Funny Car Champion Ron Capps.

Special guest, and defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Kyle Busch was swept up in an early accident. Contact between pole sitter Rico Abreu and reigning Knoxville Nationals winner David Gravel sent Gravel down the track. Busch’s right rear clipped Gravel’s right front. The contact sent Busch for a wild ride as he flipped into the catch fencing, ending his night in the Sprint Car.

The Finish

1. 21-Christopher Bell [5], 2. 39-Kevin Swindell [7], 3. 1s-Logan Schuchart [9], 4. 88-Trent Ivey [4], 5. 17-Max McLaughlin [14], 6. 2-Carson Macedo [8], 7. 57-Kyle Larson [2], 8. 21b-Brian Brown [13], 9. 55-Robbie Kendall [3], 10. 87b-Ryan Bernal [16], 11. 7bc-Tyler Courtney [20], 12. 28-Ron Capps [19], 13. 2c-Wayne Johnson [18], 14. 41-David Gravel [6], 15. 87-Aaron Reutzel [11], 16. 51-Kyle Busch [10], 17. 49-Brad Sweet [15], 18. 2m-Kerry Madsen [17], 19. 17a-Austin McCarl [12], 20. 24-Rico Abreu [1].

Lead Changes: Two among three drivers.

Lap Leader(s): Rico Abreu Grid, Kevin Swindell 1-21, Christopher Bell 22-35.

Laps Led: Kevin Swindell 21, Christopher Bell 14.

Hard Charger: 17-Max McLaughlin (+9)

Cautions: Four for 12 laps.

Margin of Victory: 2.352 seconds.

Average Speed: 64.742 mph

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