Race Weekend Central

Daytona to Dirt: Christopher Bell Starts Open-Wheel Team; Stewart Friesen, Ken Schrader Race Late Models

Say hello to our newest feature for 2023, which will keep tabs on NASCAR’s past and present regulars and their dirt racing exploits.

Christopher Bell

The NASCAR Cup Series regular didn’t race on dirt but made a major splash over the weekend with the announcement that he has formed a new open-wheel race team, Bell Kemenah Racing. 

The team is slated to make its competitive debut this weekend in winged sprint car competition with Gavan Boschele behind the wheel according to Speed Sport; the USCS sprint car series will be contesting a two-day event at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.

See also
Driller to Daytona? Tulsa Shootout Winner Gavan Boschele Hopes So

Stewart Friesen

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular made a return to super late model racing as part of the World of Outlaws late model tour’s Sunshine Nationals at Volusia on Thursday and Friday (Jan. 19-20).

Thursday night showed some rust for the modified powerhouse, as he went backwards from sixth to eighth in his heat race and ran at the back of his last chance showdown race, never threatening to qualify for the A-main.

Friday night, Friesen ran far more competitively in his last chance showdown race but still missed an A-main transfer by several positions.

It doesn’t appear as if Friesen will be making any more late model starts as part of Speedweeks, as his tweets from Sunday reference his upcoming modified season debut.

Kasey Kahne

The former Cup regular announced late last week that he would again attempt to run the full World of Outlaws sprint car schedule with his self-owned race team.

The WoO schedule kicks off as part of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia next month. Ultimately, a violent crash in this event last season effectively derailed Kahne’s campaign before it started, as Kahne had to sit out the WoO races at Cotton Bowl Speedway in March due to lingering injury concerns.

Ken Schrader

The longtime Cup regular also made a long-awaited return to late model racing last week, running Thursday, Friday and Saturday as part of the Early Thaw at Central Arizona Raceway.

Thursday, Schrader started hot with an easy heat race win and then ran between fifth and ninth during the late model feature before finishing sixth despite suffering damage to the passenger-side door that was visible all feature long.

Start at fifth and finish sixth. The bottom half of our door went away someone must’ve had a can opener! Billy started fourth and finish third, good track!

Posted by Ken Schrader on Thursday, January 19, 2023

Friday, Schrader found himself buried mid-pack in the feature after being stuck in a stacked fourth heat race that included the dominant drivers of the week in Ricky Weiss and Billy Moyer. Schrader fought his way forward into the top 10 by mid-race, finishing 10th on the night.

See also
This Weekend in Dirt: Hall of Famer Billy Moyer Scores Late Model Win at Central Arizona

Saturday, Schrader capitalized on heat race carnage to from sixth to third, starting and finishing toward the back of the top 10 (ninth) in the feature.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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