Christopher Bell Pulls Double Duty At Iowa

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell heads to Iowa Speedway in Newton, the track where he finished fifth in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut in June of 2015. This weekend will be another first for Bell, as he pulls double duty for the first time in his career as he is set to wheel the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the NCWTS M&M’s 200 on Friday night and then gets behind the wheel of the No. 20 ToyotaCare Camry Saturday night for his second career NASCAR XFINITY Series start for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bell has gotten off to a hot start in his second full-time season in the Truck Series. The 22-year-old wheelman leads the series in wins (two), poles (three), playoff points earned (13), driver rating (114.8), laps led (339) and fastest laps run (160). The Oklahoma native is also tied with reigning Truck Series champion and current points leader Johnny Sauter with seven top-10 finishes. Outside of an accident that ended his day early at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Bell has run up front, led laps and been in a position to win in the other seven events completed this season.

Now the No. 4 team heads to Iowa Speedway, a track where KBM currently holds a three-race winning streak, including the last two with Bell’s crew chief, Rudy Fugle, calling the shots. Erik Jones led a race-high 112 laps en route to victory in the 2015 event and William Byron visited victory lane last year after leading a race-high 107 laps. Fugle also had an influence in KBM’s 2014 win at the 0.875-mile oval, when he was the race engineer under crew chief Eric Phillips when Jones led a race-high 131 laps and ended the night in victory lane.

Iowa has certainly been a place of firsts for both Bell and KBM. Bell will now take aim at harvesting a pair of first-place finishes in the Hawkeye State as he tries to earn his first weekend sweep in NASCAR.

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

Are you looking forward to your first shot at doing double duty this weekend at Iowa?

“I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend at Iowa, it is the track where I made my Truck Series debut and had a good run that day. Last year I felt like we struggled a little bit, so I’m looking forward to going back with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and hopefully we’ll be able to keep his winning streak alive. He’s been the winning crew chief the last two years and was the engineer for Erik (Jones) when he won in 2014, so he knows how to prepare a really fast Tundra for Iowa. We’ve been really good everywhere we’ve raced this year and I expect that we will be able to continue that trend this weekend. We weren’t quite as fast as we wanted to be at Gateway last week, but at the end of the day we still had a chance at the victory so that was encouraging. I’ll be getting a lot of extra track time by running both the truck and the XFINIY car, which I think will help me in both series. Friday is going to be a long day with four practice sessions, qualifying and the Truck Series race, so I’ll have to make sure I start working on staying hydrated this week before we get to the track.”

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

Your drivers have won the last two Truck Series events at Iowa. What does it take to be successful there?

“Iowa is a short track, but it races like a mile-and-a-half, so you have to have a fast truck but you also have to have a really good short-track package — it needs to turn well and have a lot of rear grip. One of the biggest things at Iowa is you usually have to run a long way on tires and the tires wear a decent amount, so you have to have a truck that is consistent over a long run. I think that is one of the things that we do really well there, our trucks have good long-run speed and hopefully we will be able to accomplish that again Friday night.” 

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

 

KBM-28: The No. 4 Toyota Tundra team will unload KBM-24 for Friday night’s M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway. It is the same Tundra that Erik Jones lead a race-high 112 laps with en route to victory at the 0.875-mile oval in the 2015 event. Friday’s 200-lap race will be the first time that the Toyota has seen race action this season.

KBM-28 Performance Profile:

 

Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

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

6 starts, 1 Win

3.5

4.3

323

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year
Age
Races
Win
T5
T10
Pole
Laps
Led
AvSt
AvFn
RAF
LLF
20
7 of 23
1
2
3
0
1018
111
9.3
11.9
6
4
21
23 of 23
1
9
17
0
3237
197
9.2
9.5
20
19
22
8 of 9
2
5
7
3
1143
339
5.0
6.4
7
7
3 years
5398
647
8.3
9.3
33
30

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Iowa Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

6/18/2016

13

9

200/200

0

running

6/19/2015

10

5

200/200

0

running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights

  • Has posted two wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., and Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth), three poles, 339 laps led, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.4 across eight NCWTS events

  • After eight races, sits second the NCWTS championship standings trailing reigning champion Johnny Sauter by 38 points

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (two), poles (three), driver rating (114.8), playoff points (13), laps led (339) and fastest laps run (160)

  • 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)

  • Finished fourth in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (5/27/17)

  • Opened the 2017 season by winning the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17)

  • Won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17)

  • 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)

Christopher Bell 2016 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

  • Earned his first NCWTS win of 2016, his first on pavement and the second of his career, when he led 38 of the final 42 laps at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.

  • Ranked first among NCWTS drivers in quality passes (782), third in driver rating (95.9), fastest laps run (189), average running position (9.608) and green flag speed (6.421)

  • Finished second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind KBM teammate William Byron

  • Led a race-high 91 laps, including the final 44, of the 200-lap event at Salem (Ind.) Speedway en route to victory in his first-career start in the ARCA Racing Series and made it a sweep of the Indiana track leading 88 laps and bringing home the victory in the September event

  • Picked up his eighth career Late Model victory for KBM with a win in the CARS Super Late Model Tour event at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C and on dirt collected four 410-Winged Sprint Car wins and one USAC National Midget victory

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected six wins, eight poles, 25 top-five and 44 top-10 finishes across 54 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 (60), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Has collected 60 wins, 32 poles, 140 top-five and 225 top-10 finishes across 373 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 32. Erik Jones and William Byron have collected seven victories each, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Christopher Bell has earned four trips to victory lane, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each posted one triumph

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

  • 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 @ Iowa Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected three wins, two poles, 410 laps led, six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.1 across 18 starts at Iowa

  • In last year’s Truck Series event at Iowa, William Byron led a race-high 107 laps en route to the victory. KBM teams have won the last three consecutive NCWTS races at Iowa (Byron 2016 and Erik Jones 2014, 2015) 

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 18 wins, 12 poles and 38 top-five finishes across his 76 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 two wins, one pole, three top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.2 across four starts. Erik Jones led a race-high 112 laps en route to victory at Iowa in 2015 and William Byron made it back-to-back wins leading a race-high 107 laps in last year’s event. Fugle was also the race engineer for Jones’ victory in the 2014 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

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

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