Bell Outduels Larson For The Turkey Classic At Ventura

Christopher Bell

Thanksgiving is the day each year when we take a little extra time to realize how fortunate we are and to give thanks.

For those in attendance at Thursday’s “Turkey Night Grand Prix,” the realization quickly came to how thankful we are to have witnessed Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson duking it out against each other for 98 laps in USAC Midgets at Ventura Raceway.

The three official lead changes listed in the box score aren’t indicative of the back-and-forth battle these two titans waged with sliders being exchanged like currency on both ends of the racetrack!

On the 54th lap, Bell ultimately made the winning pass on Larson with a daring outside move on the front straightaway, but would have to endure the relentless persistence of Larson all the way down to turn one of the final lap when he stifled Larson’s slider before it even had time to develop.

Bell, of Norman, Oklahoma, joined the ranks of two-time “Turkey Night” winners just six days after wrapping up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title at Homestead (Fla.) Speedway.  Though he and Larson have reached success in the NASCAR ranks in recent years, their home lies in the dirt tracks, just like old times when they were regulars on the USAC trail.

“Oh my god, it’s so much fun,” Bell exclaimed.  “I just told Kyle that if he would’ve beat me, I would’ve been, maybe not just as happy, but still happy because it was just that much fun.  That race was one of the most fun races I’ve run in a long time.”

Straight from the outset, polesitter Larson had the upper hand as inside second row starter Bell followed in his wake on the bottom.

As Larson ringed around the berm lining the bottom of the racing surface, Bell became the first in line to venture to the top on the 12th lap, using a big bite off turn four to pull to a dead-heat at the line alongside Larson before nudging into the lead by a sliver into the first turn.

Bell never wavered in his decision to go “high, wide, and handsome”, and it would pay off one lap later when he slipped by Larson off turn four to secure the lead.

“I could tell that the top was going to be good,” Bell theorized.  “Watching the sprint car feature, we saw that it got pretty good.  They tilled the bottom and I could tell it was going to be really good at the beginning.  Once it started going away, I tried the top and it was right there.”

On lap 40, Brayton Lynch got sideways in a shuffle for position at the exit of turn four.  Facing oncoming traffic, Chad Boat met front-bumper to front-bumper with Lynch, melding the noses of each car together as Boat attempted to peel away to no avail.  Courtney Crone and newly-crowned five-time USAC Light Up the World Beverages Western States Midget champ Ronnie Gardner were also involved, but would restart.

When racing resumed on lap 52, Larson went to the bottom and slid his teammate Bell to snare the lead.  One lap later, Bell returned the favor and slithered by Larson with just inches to spare as he tunneled between Larson’s right-side wheels and the front straightaway wall.  Larson attacked again into turn one with a slider, but the motion was denied, and Bell cleared away the Tryptophan after the wake-up call and sprinted back into the lead.

Following a lap 57 tangle between the two most recent USAC National Midget feature winners – Brady Bacon and series champion Spencer Bayston – Larson harassed Bell, putting it all on the line in the prestigious race in an attempt to become just the third driver to win the event three times.  On lap 66, Larson got on the bike, lifting the left side wheels as he ripped the edge of the turn three cushion in his tireless pursuit.

With three-quarters of the race in the rearview mirror, it was time to turn up the wick!  The bottom became just a distant memory as the two were now inside the barrel, riding the wave in turns three and four above the cushion.  On lap 80, Larson slid Bell into turn one momentarily.  Bell retaliated by crossing underneath Larson off the second turn to recapture the point.  In turn three, the second verse played out the same as the first as Larson slid to the lead and Bell, so Allen Iverson-esque, used a killer crossover to bolt back to the front.

“The majority of drivers understand you have to be good at the end of the race to win the race,” Bell said.  “At the beginning, you’re just cruising and making sure you make It to the end of the race.  That’s the biggest thing.  Kyle and I were both rolling around there about quarter-throttle at the beginning, trying to save our tires and kill some laps.  It worked out and we were racing our butts off at the end.”

Larson, the five-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup winner, set up another Hail Mary that was denied as Bell wheelied away off the top of turn two to remain in front.  Tyler Courtney, the USAC West Coast/VRA Sprint Car feature winner earlier in the night, slowed to a stop in turn one to bring out the yellow and provide a breather for both the drivers and fans alike.

On the ensuing restart, Bell jetted away from Larson and, with ten to go, held a lead of over one second with a full nest of lappers resting in the distance.  Just prior to lapped traffic possibly becoming a factor with a mere four laps to go, Holly Shelton and Bacon performed a synchronized spin between turns one and two that brought out the final yellow and one more stanza that Bell had to deal with Larson.

“The track was so technical,” Bell explained.  “It was all about hitting your marks and minimizing mistakes because you weren’t going to make a mistake-free lap tonight.  You just had to make sure when you made a mistake that you could recover from it.  Once I got going on those green flag runs, I could get my momentum built up and make good, competitive laps.  But after the yellow flags, it was tough to pick your rhythm back up.  I knew I was a sitting duck their leading on the restarts.  On the final one, Kyle got one last bomb on me and I was able to get him back.”

Larson’s first lob of a bomb was a success in turn one on the lap 95 restart as he scraped across the surface to snag the race lead from Bell.  Bell counter-punched and ripped away the lead back away from Larson with a slider into turn three.  Entering turn one with two laps remaining, wheels banged and nerf bars clanged as Larson shot to the lead past Bell once again.

As a uncertain as a game of tug-of-war teetering on a see-saw, Bell launched like a missile on a hell-bound train to slide across the nose of Larson and into the lead between turns three and four to capture the lead for good.  Larson threw a haymaker entering turn three coming to the white flag, pulling side-by-side with Bell at the exit of four where it momentarily became three-wide with Shane Golobic arriving seemingly out of the clear blue sky to mount a challenge for the lead.

Larson tried once more on the final lap, but Bell savagely, and wisely, took a lower entrance into turn one, thus preventing a final pull of the pin from Larson.  Bell carried on with a 0.193 second lead across the finish line as Larson blasted off the top of the final corner to nip Golobic by a wheel at the line for the runner-up spot.  Past “Turkey Night” winner Tanner Thorson was fourth and Don Basile “Rookie of the Race” Zeb Wise was fifth in his second-career USAC National Midget start.

Bell was 4 for 7 in USAC National Midget feature appearances in 2017 for a .571 batting average.  His 21st career series victory tied him with Steve Cannon, Jimmy Caruthers, Rex Easton and Ken Schrader for 27th all-time.

The fourth-straight “Turkey Night” win for the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team began with Bell’s victory in 2014. Firsts are always special in any circumstance, but this one has even more meaning for the 22-year-old, 2013 USAC National Midget titlist.

“I definitely had to work harder for this one.  This one was even more fun and more special.”

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Ventura Raceway were Kyle Larson (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Qualifier Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Chad Boat (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Qualifier Winner), Zeb Wise (Chalk Stix/Keizer Aluminum Wheels/Saldana Racing Products/Indy Race Parts Last Chance Winner) and Ryan Robinson (KSE Racing Products/Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger).

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Is The 2017 CWTS Champion, Chase Briscoe Wins The Ford EcoBoost 200

Christopher Bell

The tandem burnouts filled the frontstretch at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a thick cloud of smoke, as Chase Briscoe celebrated his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory, and runner-up Christopher Bell exulted in his first NASCAR championship.

In a Ford EcoBoost 200 that ran caution-free except for the planned breaks after the first and second stages, Briscoe, the pole winner, passed Ben Rhodes for the lead on Lap 96 of 134 on Friday night and pulled away to beat Bell to the finish line by 2.887 seconds, after Rhodes ran out of gas on Lap 129.

Two enormously talented open-wheel stars who have made successful transitions to stock car racing, Bell and Briscoe are close friends, but their careers have been following markedly different trajectories as of late.

Briscoe collected the last trophy for Brad Keselowski Racing, which is closing its doors at the end of the season, and he hasn’t announced plans for next year. Bell, on the other hand, will run for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship next season in top-of-the-line equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bell gave Kyle Busch Motorsports its second title in three years under a format where the highest finisher among four eligible drivers—in this case Bell, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Austin Cindric–is crowned champion.

“To be able to do this for all of the guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports and to win the championship for a team that deserves the championship, words just can’t describe my feelings right now,” said Bell, who scored a series-high five victories this season.

“To run as good as we have, week in and week out, and not just this year … This whole organization, this whole team has been good for so many years. You just don’t want to be the guy that lets them down, and I’m glad I didn’t let them down tonight.”

Briscoe, who also won the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, certainly improved his standing with the win, achieved in his 23rd start in the series.

“This is a long time coming,” said Briscoe who finished one position and nearly 16 seconds ahead of third-place Sauter, the defending series champion. “So proud of all these guys. To know that they’re not going to have a job next year, and we continued to bring really good trucks even though we were outside the playoffs, such a testament to how good these Brad Keselowski guys are.

“I know two years ago I was sleeping on couches, and now to be a winner in NASCAR. I wish we were in the final four. I felt like we could have been, but that’s part of the circumstances.”

By virtue of his third-place finish, Sauter was runner-up for the championship. Cindric, Briscoe’s teammate at BKR, ran fifth, one position ahead of Crafton, a two-time series champion.

Bell started 2017 with a victory in the Chili Bowl Nationals for midget cars, a title the Oklahoma native has coveted since childhood. He ends the year as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, a perfect bookend to a banner year for the 22-year-old prodigy.

Check out the unofficial results of the Ford EcoBoost 200.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Their 2018 NXS Driver Stable

Christopher Bell
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today its driver and crew chief lineup for 2018 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The lineup will feature Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece and an all-star lineup of current Monster Energy Cup Series drivers.

JGR announced last month that Christopher Bell would compete fulltime in the XFINITY Series next season. Since that time, he earned his first victory in the Series at Kansas Speedway on October 21. He will pilot the No. 20 Toyota Camry with Jason Ratcliff serving as the team’s crew chief. Ratcliff is currently the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.

Joining Bell fulltime next season will be Brandon Jones behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for JGR. Chris Gabehart will handle the crew chief duties for the team in 2018.

In addition, JGR announces that Ryan Preece will return to drive a partial schedule behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry, with Eric Phillips serving as crew chief. Preece competed in three races for JGR this season and earned a top-five finish in each, including his first-career win at Iowa Speedway. He will also be behind the wheel of the No. 18 this weekend in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Our NASCAR XFINITY Series program is so important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are focused on the opportunities we have this weekend in Miami of course, but excited about the talented lineup of drivers we will have competing for us in 2018. The addition of Brandon Jones to our lineup will provide tremendous competition to the Series and give us two opportunities to run for the XFINITY Driver’s Championship, as well as the Owner’s Championship next season. For as young as he is, Brandon has gained a lot of experience across several different series and we are excited to see what he can do in our equipment and with Chris (Gabehart) leading that team.

“We’re proud of our crew chiefs in that series as well,” added Gibbs. “Jason (Ratcliff) is someone we obviously have a lot of confidence in having had great success for us in both the XFINITY and Cup Series. Having Chris (Gabehart) and Eric (Phillips) back gives us proven winners atop each pit box. We believe their experience and ability to work together will really help the development of our young drivers and help our veterans compete for wins each weekend.”

Jones has spent the past two seasons driving in the XFINITY Series. He has also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), K&N Pro Series East, and ARCA this season. Over the course of his young career he has built an impressive resume of accomplishments which includes making the Chase in his NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie season (2016), compiling four second-place finishes in NCWTS and picking up a win in the K&N Pro Series (Iowa). He also has four ARCA Series wins, including two consecutive wins at Michigan, and was the first driver in ARCA history to win their first two races.

“I’m really fortunate to have gotten as much experience as I have to this point of my career and very thankful to have worked with so many great people and teams over the past several years,” said Jones. “When you look at what JGR has done with Toyota in the XFINITY Series over the past decade the results speak for themselves and I’m excited to go out next season knowing I have an opportunity to be successful each and every week.”

Preece has made three starts in the XFINITY Series for JGR this season and has earned one win, a second and a fourth-place finish. He will be driving JGR’s No. 18 entry on Saturday looking to earn the organization’s fifth Series owner’s Championship. The 26-year-old Berlin, Connecticut native is a very accomplished short-track racer with 20 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) career victories, 70 top-five and 96 top-10 finishes. He was crowned the 2013 season champion.

“Obviously I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that I have already had with JGR this season and now to be able to increase the number of races next season is a great step in my career,” said Preece. “I’m looking forward to going out there and make the most out of the opportunity.”

Preece will share JGR’s third XFINITY Series entry with the organization’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Kyle Busch, the all-time leader in XFINITY Series wins with 91, is expected to run seven races in 2018, while Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez and others will fill out the remaining races.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Still Has His Eye On The Big Prize

Christopher Bell

 Christopher Bell put up solid numbers last year in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Despite finishing third in the 2016 championship standings, Bell felt that his season was lackluster and aimed to run up front and win more races in 2017.

The Oklahoma native has done just that and if you ask him about the strides he has taken, he’ll tell you that a lot of the credit goes to his crew chief, Ryan “Rudy” Fugle. Fugle is in his fourth season as a crew chief at Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and sixth overall with the organization. The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 and 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015.

Entering Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, Fugle’s drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles, 2,920 laps led, 47 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes across his 89 races calling the shots at KBM. He led Jones to three wins en route to the Driver’s championship in 2015 and last season guided William Byron to a NCWTS rookie-record seven wins. Last year at Phoenix, Byron was an engine failure away from delivering back-to-back Driver’s championships for Fugle, but was still able to earn KBM its fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship when he rebounded from the heartbreak to win the series finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

With Byron graduating to a full-time XFINITY Series ride this season, Fugle was paired with Bell and the duo has the No. 4 Toyota team in contention for another combined championship. In addition to pacing the standings for the last 10 races, the 22-year-old driver leads the Truck Series in nearly every major statistical category this season, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (19), driver rating (117.9), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.1), laps led (775) and fastest laps run (368).

Bell stands 55 points above the cutoff line for earning one of the three remaining spots for the championship race and if he can earn just six points in Friday night’s 150-lap event, will advance to Homestead-Miami. He finished seventh in his debut at the one-mile track last season. Fugle’s statistics as a crew chief at Phoenix are rather impressive. In his three races calling the shots in the “Valley of the Sun,” his drivers have led 67.1 percent (302) of the 576 total laps. In 2013, Jones became the youngest winner in Truck Series history at the time, when he led a race-high 84 laps en route to victory as a 17-year-old. Last season the 19-year-old Byron led a race-high 112 laps and was out front with 12 laps remaining when his engine expired.

Both Jones and Byron earned promotions to the NASCAR Xfinity Series after learning from Fugle and it already has been announced that Bell will follow in their footsteps. Before he moves on to a full-time gig with Joe Gibbs Racing next season, the talented wheelman hopes to be the next of Rudy’s tutees to hang a championship banner from the rafters at KBM.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

What is your outlook heading into Phoenix Friday night?

“I’m really excited for Phoenix — it’s a place that Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) has had a ton of success at and that gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve noticed that everywhere William (Byron) won, or had strong runs at last year, that I’ve had a ton of confidence going into those places. The success has seemed to carry over — I think the majority of the tracks I’ve won at this year are the same ones that William won at last year. William was well on his way to another win last year at Phoenix before he had issues, so I know that Rudy and all the guys on this No. 4 team are going to bring me a fast Toyota Tundra for Friday night.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

How are you able to have so much success with different drivers in your Tundra every year?

“It’s not easy, but the answer is just the people. Best race team, best owner, best manufacturer and great sponsors. Every one of the drivers have been special, including Christopher. They’re all a little bit different, but they’re all special. And then this race team is just really good at making whatever driver we have feel like they’re the driver of our team, and they do a great job of learning what their different niches are and making them comfortable. I’m proud to be the leader of this team.” 

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

KBM-28: The No. 4 Toyota Tundra team will unload KBM-28 for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. It is the same Tundra that Bell led 54 laps with en route to victory at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta earlier this year.

KBM-28 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
8/16/2017
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
7/6/2017
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
6/23/2017
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
10/1/2016
Las Vegas
Byron
10
5
146/146
0
Running
11/13/2015
Phoenix
Jones
1
9
150/150
106
Running
8/19/2015
Bristol
Jones
4
6
202/202
0
Running
7/9/2015
Kentucky
Jones
3
2
145/145
55
Running
6/19/2015
Iowa
Jones
1
1
200/200
112
Running
5/29/2015
Dover
Jones
2
3
200/200
50
Running
Totals
9 starts, 2 Wins
3.0
4.3
476

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

21 of 21

5

14

19

4

2963

775

4.7

5.8

19

19

3 years

51

7

25

39

4

7218

1083

7.4

8.3

45

42

 

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Phoenix Performance Profile:

 

Date
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
10/11/2016
5
7
150/150
0
Running

 

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights:

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), four poles, 775 laps led, 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 5.8 across 21 races

  • Currently leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship standings by four points over Johnny Sauter and is 55 points above the cutoff line for earning one of the three remaining spots available in the championship race

  • Won the NCWTS first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs

  • Has posted one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.2 across the first five races of the NCWTS playoffs

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (19), driver rating (117.9), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.1), laps led (775) and fastest laps run (368)

  • Became the first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (10/21/17) and overall in six starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has one pole, 156 laps led, two top-five and four top-10 finishes

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has eight victories; opened the 2017 season by winning his preliminary night and the feature at the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has four victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17), the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) and the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (10/7/17)

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra: 
  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, nine poles, 34 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes across 67 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program: 
  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (65), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 65 wins, 36 poles, 158 top-five and 253 top-10 finishes across 415 starts since originating in 2010

  • Ten different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Noah Gragson, Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Phoenix International Raceway: 
  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, three poles, 642 laps led, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.9 across 17 starts in the desert

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected the team’s first win at the one-mile track in 2011, Brian Scott claimed the win in 2012, Erik Jones scored back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014 and Daniel Suarez was victorious in last year’s event

The Fugle File:

 

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles and 47 top-five finishes across his 89 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one win, two poles, 302 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 16.8 across four starts at Phoenix. Fugle won the 2013 event with Erik Jones. Last year he led 112 of the 115 laps with William Byron, but was relegated to a 27th-place finish due to an engine failure that occurred while Byron was leading with 12 laps remaining.

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st
8/16/17
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
615/1st
9/3/17
Canadian Tire
Bell
5
26
44/64
0
Engine
634/1st
9/15/17
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
2040/1st
9/23/17
New Hampshire
Bell
2
1
175/175
73
Running
2100/1st
9/30/17
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
2152/1st
10/14/17
Talladega
Bell
1
2
95/95
9
Running
2195/1st
10/28/17
Martinsville
Bell
15
8
200/200
16
Running
3083/1st
11/3/17
Texas
Bell
3
3
147/147
20
Running
3135/1st

 TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Looks To Add Another Win To His Victory Resume

Christopher Bell

Oklahoma native Christopher Bell will make his 51st career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start Friday night in the JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth. Bell will be looking to add to his series-leading five wins in 2017 and complete a sweep of the Truck Series races at Texas this season.

In the June race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, the 22-year-old came from the 21st starting position to lead 92 of the final 98 laps and was just inches ahead of Chase Briscoe when the field was frozen after a three-truck accident ended the race under caution during the green-white-checkered finish. If Bell is able to win Friday night’s race at the track located just over 150 miles from where he grew up in Norman, Okla., he would become just the third driver to sweep the Truck Series races at TMS. Ron Hornaday Jr. was able to win both races in 2008 and Johnny Sauter accomplished the feat in 2012.

With an eighth-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last weekend in the opening race of the Round of 6, Bell maintained his spot atop the Truck Series championship standings for the ninth consecutive race. He currently leads reigning Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter by three points and with two events remaining in the Round of 6 has a 45-point cushion on the cutoff line for advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

In addition to pacing the standings for the last nine races, the talented wheelman leads NASCAR’s third division in nearly every major statistical category this season, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (18), driver rating (117.4), average starting position (4.8), average finish (5.9), average running position (6.2), laps led (755) and fastest laps run (355).

Bell, who was an open-wheel standout before becoming a pavement prodigy, has displayed the talent necessary to have a successful career in NASCAR since coming on the scene in June of 2015. Near the end of the 2016 season he started producing more consistent results and in 2017 those results have become eye opening. His continued progress has allowed him to become dubbed as one of the sport’s rising stars. Across the first 25 starts of his Truck Series career the Toyota development driver registered two wins, 308 laps led, eight top five-finishes, 16 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 10.6. He has improved in all of those categories, producing five wins, 755 laps led, 14 top five-finishes, 22 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 6.2across his last 25 Truck Series starts.

With his graduation to the NASCAR XFINITY Series already announced for 2018, Bell will be looking to cap off his second    full-time season in the Truck Series by adding another championship banner to the five already hanging in the rafters at Kyle Busch Motorsports. They say that the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas and one of NASCAR’s rising stars is hoping to shine bright under the lights of Texas Motor Speedway Friday night. He’s hoping to put on a black cowboy hat and ride out of victory lane with a ticket to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:

How do you feel about where you stand with two races remaining in the Round of 6?

“We didn’t have our best race of the year at Martinsville, but we were able to salvage a solid finish and maintain the points lead. Since one of the playoff contenders didn’t win at Martinsville, that means that at least two of the spots in the championship round will transfer off of points, so we are in really good shape going into the final two races of the Round of 6. We want to run better than we did at Martinsville — we want to win. I have no doubt that we will be better at Texas, because the mile-and-a-half tracks have been out strong suit all season long.”

Does winning the June race at Texas give you confidence heading into Friday night’s race?

“Winning at Texas earlier in the year was huge for us and it gives us a good baseline setup to unload with this time around. The fall race is typically a little bit cooler than the summer race, so the track will be a little bit different and we will probably have to make some minor adjustments to our setup for that. With the repave I feel like the field will be extremely tight — you saw in the June race that people were able to draft and the leader wasn’t able to get away. I expect that pack will be a lot bigger this time around.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:

After winning the June race at Texas will you unload with a similar setup?

“We will definitely unload with something pretty similar to what we raced with in June. This time around the track temperatures are going to be a little bit different and all three series are running Friday, so how the rubber gets laid down is going to be a little bit different and we’ve made some minor adjustments in anticipation of those factors. Goodyear is also bringing a new left-side tire, so we will have to adapt to that as well. We are prepared and ready to go out and put the JBL Tundra in victory lane.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 JBL Tundra:

KBM-047: The No. 4 JBL Racing team will unload KBM-047 for Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the same Tundra that Bell led a race-high 64 laps and finished second with at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in the Round of 8.

KBM-047 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Track
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
9/30/2017
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
9/15/2017
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
6/9/2017
Pocono
Busch
2
25
36/60
32
Accident

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

20 of 20

5

13

18

4

2816

755

4.8

5.9

18

18

3 years

50

7

24

38

4

7071

1063

7.4

8.4

44

41

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Texas Performance Profile:

 

Race

Start

Finish

Laps

Status

Led

6/9/2017

21

1

167/167

Running

92

11/4/2016

9

11

147/147

Running

0

6/10/2016

9

32

0/167

Engine

0

11/6/2015

11

8

147/147

Running

0

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights: 

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), four poles, 755 laps led, 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 5.9 across 20 races

  • Currently leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship standings by three points over Johnny Sauter and is 45 points above the cutoff line in the Round of 6 for advancing to the championship race

  • Won the NCWTS first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, posted an average finish of 1.7 across the three races in the Round of 8 and with his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the opening race of the playoffs automatically advanced to the Round of 6.

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (18), driver rating (117.4), average starting position (4.8), average finish (5.9), average running position (6.2), laps led (755) and fastest laps run (355)

  • Became the first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (10/21/17) and overall in five starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has one pole, 156 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has eight victories; opened the 2017 season by winning his preliminary night and the feature at the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has four victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17), the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) and the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (10/7/17)

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra: 

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, nine poles, 33 top-five and 55 top-10 finishes across 66 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program: 

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (65), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 65 wins, 36 poles, 157 top-five and 251 top-10 finishes across 412 starts since originating in 2010

  • Ten different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Noah Gragson, Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Texas Motor Speedway: 

  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, two poles, 516 laps led, 10 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.4 across 32 starts in the Lone Star state

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch has collected two of his team’s wins (2010 & 2014), Erik Jones earned the victory in November 2015, William Byron took the checkered flag in June 2016 and Christopher Bell went to Victory Lane in June 2017

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles and 46 top-five finishes across his 88 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted three wins, one pole, three top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.0 across eight starts at Texas. Fugle has won with three different drivers at Texas; Erik Jones in November of 2015, William Byron in June of 2016 and Christopher Bell in this year’s June event.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st
8/16/17
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
615/1st
9/3/17
Canadian Tire
Bell
5
26
44/64
0
Engine
634/1st
9/15/17
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
2040/1st
9/23/17
New Hampshire
Bell
2
1
175/175
73
Running
2100/1st
9/30/17
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
2152/1st
10/14/17
Talladega
Bell
1
2
95/95
9
Running
2195/1st
10/28/17
Martinsville
Bell
15
8
200/200
16
Running
3083/1st

 

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Chirstopher Bell Is In It To Win It

Christopher Bell
Christopher Bell arrived at Martinsville Speedway on Friday intent on the serious business of trying to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, but his victory in last Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Kansas Speedway was still a prime topic of conversation.

With four laps left in the Kansas Lottery 300, Bell pulled a slide job on Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones and steered his No. 18 Toyota up to the wall in front of Jones’ No. 20, which plowed into the back of Bell’s Camry.

Set to drive full-time for JGR next season, Bell went on to win in his fifth start, while Jones nursed his wounded car to a 15th-place finish, one lap down. After the race, Jones was critical of Bell’s “dirt-track” move.

After talking to Jones later , however, Bell believes the hatchet is buried.

“Me and Erik – we’re fine,” Bell said on Friday before practicing his Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra in preparation for Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 Truck Series race at Martinsville. “I reached out to him after the race. We’re fine. Our relationship is kind of how it was before that. There’s no grudges held, at least that I know of.

“I don’t know. I’m a dirt racer, and he’s not a dirt racer, so maybe that was two backgrounds clashing right there. I executed my move exactly how I wanted to do it, and I felt like I left him multiple options to get a different outcome. That’s kind of where I’m going to leave it.”

It’s not that Bell and Jones were bosom buddies before the race, even though both have advanced through the Toyota development pipeline. When Bell starts his first full-time XFINITY season with JGR next year, Jones will move into the seat of Gibbs’ No. 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride.

“As far as mine and Erik’s relationship, we weren’t really, I guess, friends before,” Bell said. “We didn’t talk every day or anything like that. We were acquaintances, so I think that’s going to continue on.

“I made sure that I reached out to him after the race. I tried to smooth things over as good as I can. We’re all here to win. We’re not here to become buddies.”

The Truck Series leader was second fastest in opening practice on Friday behind two-time champion Matt Crafton, who covered the .526-mile distance in 20.129 seconds (94.073 mph) on his 11th and final lap of the session.

TIL NEXTIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNEKC!

Christopher Bell Continues On His Quest For The CWTS Championship

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell spent his weekend off from the NACAR Camping World Truck Series competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he worked his way past Erik Jones with four laps remaining and went on to collect his first Xfinity Series victory in just his fifth series start. Bell will now switch his focus back to the Truck Series for the Round of 6 of the playoffs, which begins with Saturday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Bell, who won the Truck Series regular season title, enters the Round of 6 as the No. 1 seed and with the 47 bonus points he has earned throughout the season, begins the round with a 34-point cushion on the cutoff line for advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. The 22-year-old driver earned his spot in the Round of 6 by winning the opening race of the 2017 playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and followed that up with runner-up finishes at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, giving him an average finish of 1.7 in the opening round.

Bell’s performance in the Round of 6 came as no surprise as the talented wheelman has proven all season to be one of the drivers to beat for the Truck Series championship. The Oklahoma native leads the series in nearly every major statistical category, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (17), driver rating (118.4), average starting position (4.3), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.0), laps led (739) and fastest laps run (351).

Saturday’s 200-lap event at “The Paperclip” will be Bell’s fourth time tackling the challenging .526-mile track. The dirt standout turned pavement prodigy qualified 14th and finished 19th in his debut at the Virginia track in April of 2016 and then showed major improvement last fall when he qualified sixth and finished fourth. Bell had his grasp on a grandfather clock earlier this year when he led a race-high 92 laps, but his bid for a victory was thwarted as he was working his way around a truck at the tail of the field with 17 laps remaining and got clipped as he was completing the pass. He was able to gather up his Tundra and continue on with minor damage, but two trucks made their way past him in the process and left him with a disappointing third-place finish.

Bell’s spirits should be high coming off his exciting Xfinity Series win at Kansas, but he’s ready to ‘clock’ back in at his day job this weekend in Martinsville for the opening race of the Round of 6 in the Truck Series playoffs. He’ll be piloting the same Tundra, KBM-24, that he did in the opening race of the Round of 8 at New Hampshire and he’s hoping to ‘clock’ out with the same result.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:

Does solidifying your plans for next year allow you to stay more focused on winning a Truck Series championship this year?

“To have my plans in place for next year is really nice because it allows me to focus on the task of winning a Truck Series championship without having to worry about racing for a job for next year. I’m excited to continue my relationship with Toyota and thankful that they have believed in me through thick and thin. I wouldn’t have the opportunity that I do for next year at Joe Gibbs Racing without everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports and what they’ve done for me the last three years, so I’m going to do everything I can to try and pay them back with a Truck Series driver’s championship before I move up to the Xfinity Series next year.”

Does the strong run you had in the spring race at Martinsville give you confidence heading into this weekend?

“The first time I raced at Martinsville it was really a struggle, but the last two times I feel like we’ve had good speed. We were able to lead a bunch of laps in the spring and we were in position to win late in the race, so that gives me confidence heading into this important playoff race.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:

What does your team need to do in the Round of 6 to advance to earn one of the four spots in the championship race?

“If we could leave Martinsville with a win and automatically advance to the next round like we did at New Hampshire that would be great. We have over a 30-point cushion on the teams that are on the cutoff line, so we just have to go out and be mistake free for the next three races because a good average finish will probably get us there, but we don’t plan on racing that way. I know that everyone on our team wants to get a win at Martinsville and Christopher wants a clock really bad, so we expect to go and compete for a win right out of the gates.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 JBL Tundra:

KBM-24: The No. 4 JBL Racing team will unload KBM-24 for Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Bell won the opening race of the 2017 playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon with the same Tundra.

KBM-24 Performance Profile:

 

Date

Track

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

9/23/2017

New Hampshire

Bell

2

1

175/175

73

running

6/17/2017

Gateway

Bell

3

6

160/160

7

running

11/11/2016

Phoenix

Byron

1

27

141/150

112

engine

9/24/2016

New Hampshire

Byron

1

1

175/175

161

running

6/25/2016

Gateway

Byron

3

17

160/160

47

running

10/31/2015

Martinsville

Jones

8

10

200/200

0

running

9/26/2015

New Hampshire

Jones

4

7

175/175

5

running

6/13/2015

Gateway

Jones

1

23

145/160

84

electrical

3/28/2015

Martinsville

Jones

4

3

258/258

2

running

11/7/2014

Phoenix

Jones

1

1

126/126

114

running

Totals

10 Starts, 3 Wins

2.8

9.6

605

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

19 of 19

5

13

17

4

2616

739

4.3

5.8

17

17

3 years

 

49

7

24

37

4

6871

1047

7.3

8.4

43

40

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Martinsville Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

4/1/2017

6

3

250/250

96

running

10/29/2016

6

4

200/200

0

running

4/2/2016

14

19

255/255

0

running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights 

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), four poles, 739 laps led, 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 5.8 across 19 races

  • Won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs

  • Posted an average finish of 1.7 across the three races in the Round of 8 and with his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the opening race of the playoffs automatically advanced to the Round of 6

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), poles (four), top-five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (17), driver rating (118.4), average starting position (4.3), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.0), laps led (739) and fastest laps run (351)

  • Became the first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (10/21/17) and overall in five starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has one pole, 156 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has eight victories; opened the 2017 season by winning his preliminary night and the feature at the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has four victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17), the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) and the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (10/7/17)

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra 

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, nine poles, 33 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 65 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program 

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (64), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 64 wins, 36 poles, 154 top-five and 247 top-10 finishes across 408 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Martinsville Speedway 

  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, three poles, 722 laps led, 16 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.6 across 36 starts at Martinsville

  • Denny Hamlin (2011 and 2012) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (2013 and 2014) each have two wins for KBM at ‘The Paperclip,’ while Kyle Busch (2016) has one victory. Wallace Jr., Hamlin and Busch have each captured one pole at the .526-mile oval

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 13 poles and 45 top-five finishes across his 87 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one pole, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.2 across eight starts at Martinsville. His best result is third, which has happened three times, including earlier this year with Christopher Bell.

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st
8/16/17
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
615/1st
9/3/17
Canadian Tire
Bell
5
26
44/64
0
Engine
634/1st
9/15/17
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
2040/1st
9/23/17
New Hampshire
Bell
2
1
175/175
73
Running
2100/1st
9/30/17
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
2152/1st
10/14/17
Talladega
Bell
1
2
95/95
9
Running
2195/1st

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON  MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Grabs First NXS Victory At Kansas

Christopher Bell

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 may have been the opening race in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff, but the real drama involved two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates outside the championship battle.

On Lap 197 of 200 at Kansas Speedway, Christopher Bell caught and passed Erik Jones for the lead, clearing Jones’ No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with a slide job and drifting up to the outside wall right in front of his JGR teammate.

Under a full head of steam, Jones plowed into the back of Bell’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, wrecking the No. 20 Camry, which slowed markedly and finished 15th, a lap down.

Bell took the checkered flag with polesitter Tyler Reddick and some hard feelings on Jones’ part in his wake.

“It’s not dirt racing,” Jones complained, referencing Bell’s dirt-track background. “He’s not clear. I can’t just stop on the top. I didn’t expect him to drive in on the bottom so hard he wouldn’t be able to hold his lane.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought we were going to race for the win, and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a race—it was more of a wreck. We’ll just have to move on.”

Jones had led four times for 186 laps before Bell ran him down from more than two seconds back in the closing laps. The series leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Bell got the victory in his fifth start, becoming the first driver to get his maiden XFINITY win at the 1.5-mile track.

Bell also is the 10th straight different winner in the series.

“I never want to wreck anyone, especially my teammate,” Bell said. “I don’t know. My spotter said ‘Clear.’ I drove it in really deep. I felt like I cleared him – I don’t know.

“It’s my first XFINITY win. I’m sorry that Erik didn’t finish the race, but, man, I’m just stoked. This thing was awesome. To be able to win in the XFINITY Series is something I dreamed of as a kid. We were both on old tires. We were sliding around…

“Bummed for the way it finished, but I’m glad it held on, man. I was getting tire smoke in the car there those last couple of laps, and I was worried we weren’t going to make it.”

Ryan Blaney ran third, followed by playoff drivers and JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Justin Allgaier, the latter of whom collected 11 stage points and took over the top spot in the standings by two points over Byron, who had to start from the rear of the field because of unapproved pre-race adjustments to his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Elliott Sadler, another JRM entry, recovered from a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 76 to finish seventh and is third in the Playoff standings, 11 points behind Allgaier.

“A tire came apart—I don’t know whether I ran over something or not,” said Sadler, who turned sideways in the path of oncoming traffic. Eventual sixth-place finisher Austin Dillon did a masterful job of avoiding Sadler’s spinning car.

“I gave ‘em a big target, but nobody hit us,” a relieved Sadler said after the race.

Beyond the top three Playoff positions, little was decided. With two races left in the Round of 8, there’s an eight-point gap between fourth-place Brennan Poole, who ran 12th on Saturday, and eighth-place Cole Custer, who brought his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to pit road with two laps left because of a cut tire and finished 19th, two laps down.

Check out the unofficial results of the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Can Rest Easy At Talladega

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell will be one of two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) playoff contenders that can sleep easy this week as the Round of 8 comes to a close and two drivers will be eliminated at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Bell, who has been atop the NCWTS championship standings for the last seven races, punched his ticket to the Round of 6 two races ago in the opening race of the playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and fellow Toyota competitor Ben Rhodes joined Bell in the “Sleep Easy Club” in the series’ last stop at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.

Bell boasts an average finish of 9.5 across his two prior starts at Talladega, but both have been very eventful.  Two years ago at Talladega, he made his superspeedway debut tackling the 2.66-mile tri-oval in just the fifth start of his Truck Series career. Following the advice of clinging to the yellow line along the inside lane of the track he managed to register an average running position of 9.7 and with four laps remaining found himself in the fourth position. A strong restart allowed the youngster to push Brandon Jones to the lead, but NASCAR ruled that he “engaged” the bumper of Jones’ truck and issued a pass-through penalty. Just before he was going to serve his penalty a multi-truck wreck brought out the caution, which forced him to restart in the 15th position at the tail end of the field for the green-white-checkered finish. Before the race ended under caution, the rookie driver was able to pick up two positions and left his superspeedway debut with a respectable 13th-place finish.

Last year at Talladega, while racing to advance to the next round of the inaugural Truck Series Chase, Bell experienced a broken shifter in the middle stages of the race and had to surrender his position inside the top 10 to hit pit road. Across the next three caution periods, his over-the-wall crew successfully unfastened his shifter lever and mounted a new one in his Tundra. After that problem was fixed, the Oklahoma native suffered minor cosmetic damage in a 15-truck accident with just over 30 laps remaining. The crew once again went to work fixing his Tundra and returned him to the track in the 16th position with 25 laps remaining. Bell had advanced to the seventh position for the final restart of the race and ended up moving up to sixth over the final two laps.

After two years of stress-filled races at Talladega, Bell already has his ticket punched to the Round of 6 and enters Saturday’s 94-lap event with a peaceful easy feelin’. When it’s all said and done, he hopes to be standing on the ground in victory lane.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

How does it feel to be going into Talladega already having your ticket punched to the next round of the playoffs?

“Going into Talladega with a win already in this round of the playoffs is going to be nice because we can be aggressive and do everything we can to win the race and have no regrets over the course of the weekend. Other drivers that don’t have a win will have to race carefully and try and avoid the big wreck, so that should be a huge advantage for us. Our only goal this weekend is to win both stages and win the race so that we can collect some more bonus points before the next round of the playoffs starts at Martinsville in few weeks.”

What has been the key to being able to run up front at superspeedway races?

“The key for me being good at superspeedway races is that everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports always gives me a fast Tundra. I feel like we’ve been in a position to win races and it just hasn’t happened yet. Almost every superspeedway race that I’ve competed in so far, we’ve had a shot at the win and that’s all that you can ask for in these types of races. Now, I just need to capitalize on that shot. We need to make sure that we survive until the end of the race, so that we are in a position to win. I feel like I didn’t do that at Daytona earlier this year — I got myself in trouble and we didn’t have a shot to win at the end. It would be really cool to put our Toyota Tundra in victory lane Saturday and get my first superspeedway win.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

 

How does calling a race at a superspeedway compare to other tracks on the schedule?

“I think calling a race at a superspeedway is almost the same as it is at the other races. You are always thinking about what strategy you are going to play with having a shortage of tires — it’s not like racing in the Cup Series where you can pit for tires almost every time there is a caution. You are always trying to play ahead and have a pit strategy where you have just enough fuel to get to the end of the race. With Talladega being such a long track, obviously the fuel runs are shorter, so you have to react quicker.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

 

KBM-13: The No. 4 Toyota Racing team will unload KBM-13 for Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the same Tundra that Bell led six laps with en route to an eighth-place finish in this year’s season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. William Byron finished 10th with this Toyota in last year’s race at Talladega.

KBM-13 Performance Profile:

 

Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

2/24/2017

Daytona

Bell

4

8

100/100

6

Running

10/22/2016

Talladega

Byron

8

10

94/94

0

Running

2/19/2016

Daytona

Byron

13

13

100/100

0

Running

10/24/2015

Talladega

Jones

3

4

98/98

6

Running

2/20/2015

Daytona

Jones

7

2

100/100

0

Running

10/18/2014

Talladega

Jones

6

6

95/95

1

Running

2/21/2014

Daytona

Busch

7

1

100/100

25

Running

10/19/2013

Talladega

Coulter

9

27

79/94

1

Accident

2/24/2013

Daytona

Coulter

10

22

100/100

0

Running

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

18 of 18

5

12

16

3

2521

730

4.4

6

16

16

48

7

23

36

3

6776

1038

7.4

8.5

42

39

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Talladega Superspeedway Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

10/22/16

14

6

94/94

0

Running

10/24/15

10

13

98/98

0

Running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), three poles, 730 laps led, 12 top-five, 16 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 6.0 across 18 races

  • Won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCWTS Playoffs

  • With his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the opening race of the playoffs advanced to the Round of 6 that begins Oct. 28 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), top-five finishes (12), top-10 finishes (16), driver rating (118.9), average starting position (4.4), average finish (6.0), average running position (6.1), laps led (730) and fastest laps run (350)

  • Became first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Has collected one pole, 152 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.2 across four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has eight victories; opened the 2017 season by winning his preliminary night and the feature at the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has four victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17), the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) and the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (10/7/17)

Christopher Bell 2016 NCWTS Highlights

  • Finished third in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase after collecting one win, nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 23 NCWTS starts in his first full-time campaign 

Notes of Interest:

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, eight poles, 32 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes across 64 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (64), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 64 wins, 35 poles, 152 top-five and 245 top-10 finishes across 405 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Talladega Superspeedway

  • KBM drivers have collected one win, 27 laps led, two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.1 across 16 starts at the 2.66-mile tri-oval

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected KBM’s lone victory in the 2010 event when he finished 0.002 seconds ahead of Aric Almirola in the closest finish in Truck Series history since electronic scoring was instituted

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 12 poles and 44 top-five finishes across his 86 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.0 across three starts at Talladega. His best result was a fourth-place finish with Erik Jones in the 2015 event.

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st
8/16/17
Bristol
Bell
2
7
203/203
0
Running
615/1st
9/3/17
Canadian Tire
Bell
5
26
44/64
0
Engine
634/1st
9/15/17
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
2040/1st
9/23/17
New Hampshire
Bell
2
1
175/175
73
Running
2100/1st
9/30/17
Las Vegas
Bell
4
2
146/146
64
Running
2152/1st

 

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Is Now Playing With House Money

Christopher Bell

By winning the first race in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, Christopher Bell and the No. 4 Toyota Racing team have already punched their ticket to the Round of 6 that begins Oct. 28 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. With nothing to lose in Saturday’s Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, the team will be able to concentrate solely on winning stages and the race and adding more chips to their stack of 47 playoff bonus chips that they’ll bring with them to the next round.

 Bell will be sporting primary sponsor DC Solar – a clean energy company that specializes in mobile solar products – once again this year on his No. 4 Tundra at Las Vegas. In last year’s event, Bell started 16th but was able to bring the DC Solar Tundra home to a sixth-place finish. The California-based company was also his primary sponsor for his win in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway in January.

 The 22-year-old became just the second Oklahoma native to bring home the Golden Driller in the 31 years that the prestigious event has been held in his home state. The win was so special to Bell that he bought the winning car from Keith Kunz Motorsports and has it on display in the dining room of his current residence in North Carolina. A video of Bell and his friends transporting the vehicle from his garage into his dining room was posted on his Facebook page in May and has over 440,000 views to date.

 The Chili Bowl victory in January was the start of what has been an extremely successful year for Bell. The talented wheelman has collected five wins and three poles across 17 starts in his second full-time season in the Truck Series and won the first-ever regular season points championship in the Truck Series. He also leads the series in nearly every other statistical category, including laps led (666), top-five finishes (11), top-10 finishes (15), average starting position (4.5), average finish (6.2) and fastest laps run (332).

 In addition to his Truck Series accomplishments, Bell has been successful in a variety of forms of racing in 2017. He made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut in May and across four starts for Joe Gibbs Racing this season has earned one pole, 152 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. The Toyota Racing driver won his lone ARCA Racing Series start at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., earlier this month and on dirt has combined to win 10 races between Midgets (seven) and Sprint Cars (three).

 Bell is hoping to continue his 2017 winning spree Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With his ticket to the Round of 6 already punched, via his win last week at New Hampshire, he’s playing with house money this week and can go all in to win.

 Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS DC Solar Tundra:

 Are you excited to have DC Solar onboard your Tundra this week?

“It will be nice to have DC Solar onboard at Las Vegas again this year. We had a decent run for them in last year’s race and I had a huge win in the Chili Bowl earlier this year with them as my primary sponsor. Now it’s my job to go out on Saturday and put them in victory lane in a Truck Series race.”

 With already having earned a berth in the Round of 6, what will your strategy be the next two races?

“I sat down with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) this week to talk about what our strategy will be these next two races and really the only thing that is available for us is 14 playoff points — that’s it. Second place in a stage or second place in the race means nothing to us, so we have nothing to lose. We just need to go out and try and collect those 14 points and put ourselves in a better spot for the next round of the playoffs.”

 Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS DC Solar Tundra:

 How big is winning the first race of the playoffs and getting an automatic berth into the Round of 6?

“It’s perfect — just what we needed. This will take a lot of pressure off us the next two races — especially at Talladega. Nobody wants to go into Talladega knowing that they have to point their way into the next round, so a win at New Hampshire was just what the doctor ordered. We’ve already advanced to the next round, but there are still 14 bonus points available these next two races. So, our goal is to add as many of those bonus points as we can and keep adding to our playoff points total that carries over to the Round of 6.”

 Christopher Bell’s No. 4 DC Solar Tundra:

 KBM-047: The No. 4 DC Solar Racing team will unload KBM-047 for Saturday’s Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. It is the same Tundra that Bell led a race-high 72 laps and finished third with earlier this month at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

KBM-047 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Track
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
9/15/2017
Chicagoland
Bell
3
3
150/150
72
Running
6/9/2017
Pocono
Busch
2
25
36/60
32
Accident

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

17 of 17

5

11

15

3

2375

666

4.5

6.2

15

15

3 years

47

7

22

35

3

6630

974

7.5

8.7

41

38

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

10/1/16

18

6

146/146

0

Running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights

  • Has posted five wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon), three poles, 666 laps led, 11 top-five, 15 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 6.2 across 17 races

  • Won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first-ever regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCWTS Playoffs

  • With his win last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway advanced to the Round of 6 that begins Oct. 28 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), top-five finishes (11), top-10 finishes (15), driver rating (117.8), average starting position (4.5), average running position (6.6), laps led (666) and fastest laps run (332)

  • Became first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Has collected one pole, 152 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.2 across four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing

  • After restarting eighth with three laps to go, won the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., (9/14/17) in his lone series start this season

  • In Midgets has seven victories; opened the 2017 season by winning the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17), the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17) and the Mike Phillips Memorial POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget event at Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, Ill. (9/16/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has three victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17) and the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17)

Christopher Bell 2016 NCWTS Highlights

  • Finished third in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase after collecting one win, nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 23 NCWTS starts in his first full-time campaign

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected nine wins, eight poles, 31 top-five and 52 top-10 finishes across 63 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program:

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (64), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 64 wins, 35 poles, 151 top-five and 244 top-10 finishes across 402 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Erik Jones, Williams Byron and Christopher Bell have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one triumph

  • Has collected victories at all 21 tracks on the 2017 schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected one win, 127 laps led, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.9 across 14 starts in the Silver State

  • Erik Jones collected KBM’s lone victory in owner Kyle Busch’s hometown in the 2014 event, while Darrell Wallace Jr., led a race-high 84 laps and finished in the runner-up position to make it a one-two finish for KBM

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 21 wins, 12 poles and 43 top-five finishes across his 86 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.3 across three starts in “Sin City.” His best result was a fifth-place finish with William Byron in last year’s event.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!