(Dylan Duvall Photography)
Tulsa, OK | December 20, 2017 – Before his Chili Bowl Nationals title defense begins in January, Christopher Bell will be chasing another Golden Driller at this year’s 33rd annual Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout. Returning in the Winged Outlaw and Outlaw Non-Wing divisions, Bell will be teaming up with New Jersey’s Michael Pjatikin as he chases his first-career victory at the Shootout. Also competing in the A-Class and Stock Non-Wing classes, the reigning NASCAR Trucks champion will have a full plate and plenty of track time at this year’s running.
“Driving for PJ was a great time last year,” said Bell. “We have been friends for a long time and it is fun to be able to go race with him. The Shootout is the race that I haven’t been able to win yet, so being so close last year gives me hope that I can do it this year.”
Although the results didn’t come to fruition at last year’s showing, Bell and Pjatikin were a lethal combination together and everyone knew it. In feature action, Bell was two-tenths faster than the Outlaw Non-Wing field and in Winged Outlaw, he was three-tenths better. With lady luck not on their side, however, the duo walked away with a pair of DNF’s, but a vengeance to come back stronger.
“I feel our chances with Bell are really great this year,” commented Pjatikin. “We had the fastest car in both main events last year off lap times, but just really unfortunate luck. I think Christopher has become a more poised racer in the past year and he is much more methodical now, which will really shine in Tulsa.”
The Norman, Oklahoma native will be making his seventh attempt at the Tulsa Shootout, one of the rare events that the 23-year old phenom has yet to claim victory at. Growing up in the micro sprint ranks at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, and the traveling series of ASCS2, Bell is a household name in the “Sooner State.” Although he has yet to win at the Shootout, he has been close on numerous occasions. In nine feature starts, Bell has four top-ten finishes and two podium results. His best-career finish came during last year’s Stock Non-Wing feature as he moved up to claim a second-place run.
One of the most versatile drivers on the planet, Bell claimed the NASCAR Trucks championship and when opportunity struck, he often returned to his roots and dominated midget and sprint car racing across the country. Teaming up with Pjatikin, the duo are sure to be major threats and leave with a Golden Driller or several. With one of the most well-built cars in the building featuring an Adams Performance Yamaha, Engler EFI Injection, Lightning Wings, CSI Shocks, Leading Edge Carbon, MyChron Tom, and Scott Sawyer, the No. 21 will be one to watch all weekend.
Not only will Bell competing in the Outlaw divisions with Pjatikin, but the former micro sprint racing star will be running the A-Class and Stock Non-Wing classes as well. With four of his nine feature starts coming in Outlaw Non-Wing, three in Stock Non-Wing, and two in Winged Outlaw, surprisingly so, A-Class is the only division that Bell has yet to record a feature start in.
Beginning on Thursday, December 28th with practice and heat races, the 33rd edition of the Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout will run through Sunday, December 31st when a new batch of Golden Driller winners are crowned. Walkapedia will continue our Tulsa Shootout coverage all week long with countless previews leading up to the race as we highlight this year’s contenders.