NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Bell wins delayed Winternationals Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown

Stephen Bell defeated David Davies in Las Vegas to win the delayed Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition from the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.
13 Apr 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff

Two weeks ago a severe rain shower that included a brief hailstorm halted the Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Dragstrip at Pomona. Points leader and No. 1 qualifier Mark Pawuk, Stephen Bell and David Davies II remained in competition and completed the race today at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. Flexjet 2023 championship runner-up Bell emerged victorious outrunning Davies in a classic Chevrolet versus Dodge final round. Bell took a starting line advantage and never trailed in the race posting a winning time of 7.984 second at 172.41 mph over Davies’ 12.098 second run that was hampered by tire shake off the starting line.
“It's just an absolute dream come true to get out here and race with your friends and be competitive,” said Bell, at the top end of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “Man, outside of marrying my wife and having my three beautiful children winning a Wally is right up there with one of the greatest days of your life. So, no complaints here.”
The two-week delay in getting to the winner’s circle was always in the back of Bell’s mind. In 2023 Bell won the Norwalk Nationals and was runner-up twice in a solid run for the championship. He opened the 2023 season with a runner-up finish at the NHRA Gatornationals. With the win today he moved into the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown points lead and will carry the Flexjet $1,000 bounty into tomorrow’s Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals event.
“In the back of my mind, there was just always something on my mind the past two weeks,” said Bell. “About half the time I couldn't remember what it was, you know. We've always been able to complete races, whether it was Monday or whatever it was so, in the back of my mind, I was just like, something was always bothering me. I finally realized it was the race I still needed to finish. It was way cool to win the Winternationals in Las Vegas. This was just incredible.”
In the semifinals, Davies got the jump on the starting line against Mark Pawuk and never trailed in the drag race winning on a hole shot. For his effort Davies also collected the Flexjet Bounty of $1,000 to defeat the Gatornationals winner. On the track Davies’ reaction time of .030 combined with his elapsed time of 7.983 seconds at 172.50 mph was enough to get him to the finish line in front of Pawuk’s quicker 7.958 seconds elapsed time. Davies advanced to his first career final in the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series.
“We had a tough weekend and I am really happy with the effort from my whole team,” said Davies. “Our generator went out on our trailer yesterday and then we lost a motor in the second qualifying session. We had to get a new generator here at 7 a.m. today and replace our motor. The win over Mark was huge and that is a big boost of confidence to get a win like that. Mark is a tough, tough competitor. We just got a little aggressive the final, but I have a lot of confidence in our Mission 22 Dodge Drag Pak team.”
Bell was racing a competition bye in semifinal, and the driver of the Stanfield Engines Red Chevrolet COPO Camaro overpowered the track and drove down the right lane with a time of 12.881 seconds. He will give up lane choice to Davies in the final.
During the original race there were several huge races in the opening rounds including Scott Libersher taking a solid starting line advantage and leading 2023 championship runner-up Bell until 1,000 feet when Bell chased him down for the win. Bell posted low E.T. of the event on the run with a blistering 7.799 seconds at 173.38 mph run in his red Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Two pairs later, Tony Scott Jr. had 0.005 reaction time combined with an 8.252 second at 149.65 mph run to try and take out Gatornationals winner Mark Pawuk and win the Flexjet $1,000 Bounty. Unfortunately for Scott, Pawuk’s Dodge Drag Pak had more power at the top end and defeated Scott’s Chevrolet COPO Camaro to advance to the quarter finals with a winning run of 7.875 seconds at 179.16 mph.
In the second round Davies made his best run of the weekend, 7.828 seconds at 175.82 mph to advance to the semifinals outrunning No. 3 qualifier David Janac. No. 1 qualifier Pawuk earned a competition bye and he stepped his performance up with a 7.831 second run at 175.21 mph. Bell and Doug Hamp were racing with the chance to secure a guaranteed appearance in the final round. Bell made the most of his run getting off the line first with a 0.029 reaction time and posting a 7.800 second pass, the quickest run of the session.  
The Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series will complete the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals tomorrow and then return to action at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, May 17-19.