Tom Bell hadn’t been west of Chillicothe, Ohio, until the past weekend. That’s when Bell and his longtime friend, fellow Waterloo resident Jamie Davis, made a cameo appearance at the Wolverine Fall Nationals, a gigantic, indoor RC racing event held in Bay City, Mich.
The trip for the North East MudBoss Series-sanctioned event paid dividends, as Bell won his first career feature, taking Saturday night’s unpredictable 200-lapper.
“I never would have guessed it,” Bell said. “You know, every time you go out you think, hey, I’m going to win. You have to, but realistically, we didn’t have a lot of speed.”
Bell faced some adversity throughout Saturday night.
First, he missed locking into the A-main by one spot. Only seven drivers earned guaranteed starting positions; there were three transfer spots available from the consolation race. Bell started on the pole, but a scoring error in the transponder system set him a lap behind the pace in the six-car field. He made the lap up during the four-minute race, and clawed all the way back up to second, positioning him ninth in the 10-car feature.
In the A-main, Tom Snow was a rocket early, but the 200-lap rules mandate a pit stop. Davis pitted first among the two Empire State invaders, and was barely back on track when Bell was charging to the pit lane. Bell’s stop was among the fastest of the day, helping him gain valuable track time.
Meanwhile, a speed control problem on Snow’s entry left him in the pits for an extended period. Bell was able make up the laps, and as the pit stops cycled, Bell took the lead for good on lap 107.
“The track had so much grip … you were on and off the throttle,” Bell explained of the carpeted racing surface. “I didn’t think the battery would make it to the end. I was waiting for anything and everything to go wrong.”