Christopher Bell Is Ready To Double Down At Chicago

Christopher Bell

While the big picture for Christopher Bell and the No. 4 SiriusXM team is to walk away from Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions, winning the regular season title and earning 15 playoff points would go a long way towards their ultimate goal. Bell heads to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., for the final race of the regular season with a 30-point advantage over reigning Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter.

The intermediate tracks have been the strong suit of the No. 4 team in 2017. Bell’s series leading four wins have all come on intermediate tracks. He started his winning ways sweeping the pole and all three stages at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., in February, led a race-high 92 laps en route to victory at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in June, lead a race-high 54 laps en route to victory at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in early July and picked up his fourth victory of the season in late July at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

All together in eight starts this season on intermediate tracks between 1.5-miles and 2.5-miles in length, the 22-year-old driver has collected four wins, three poles, seven top-five finishes and 313 laps led. Of the series-leading 24 playoff points that Bell has earned this season, all but one point which he earned through a stage win at Iowa Speedway in Newton, have been collected at the intermediate tracks.

To help him prepare for Friday night’s Truck Series race in the Windy City, Bell will pilot the No. 25 Camry from Venturini Motorsports in Thursday night’s ARCA Series race. Bell also pulled double-duty last season at Chicagoland, when he finished third in the ARCA race and fourth in the Truck Series race. The Oklahoma native will be making his first ARCA Racing Series start of 2017 after finding victory lane twice in five starts for Venturini last year.

Bell is ready to double down this weekend at Chicagoland and bring home victories both Thursday and Friday night. A win Friday night would help crown Bell the regular season Truck Series champion and the 15 points that go with the title would go a long way toward helping the No. 4 Tundra team double down and win both the regular season and the playoffs.

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

 

How will you approach the final race of the regular season knowing that you have a 30-point lead in the standings?

“I feel like our SiriusXm Tundra is going to be really fast – we’ve been fast at the intermediate tracks all year long and I’m confident that we will have the opportunity to get another win before the playoffs start. As far as strategy wise, I’ll leave that up to Rudy (Fugle, crew chief). I put us in a little bit of a box because I made a big mistake at Canada and it cost us a lot of points. I think we would be pretty close to having the regular season title locked up if we would’ve just finished that race where we were running all day. Now, we have to at least be mindful of the stage points and making sure that we collect as many of those as we can and not necessarily just go all out for the win. Unless you are really confident that you are going to win the race, you can’t really give up those stage points because getting the 15 bonus points that go along with the regular season title is huge to have in your pocket headed into the playoffs — especially with it carrying over into the first two rounds. On the other hand, if you can win the race and get the five bonus points for the win and then get the 15 bonus points for the regular season championship that would be really big — so it’s pretty complicated.”

Did running the ARCA race last year in advance of the truck race help you?

“I felt like running the ARCA race last year — especially being the first time I raced at Chicago in anything — allowed me to make more laps around the track and get more comfortable. Any time you can make extra laps at a track that you don’t have a lot of experience at helps a lot. There aren’t a lot of places that ARCA and the trucks are in the same weekend, but it worked out to run this race again this year, so it will be beneficial for me to get some more seat time and I think it will pay dividends on Friday night.”

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

How will you approach the final race of the regular season knowing that you have a 30-point lead in the standings?

“It gives us a pretty good cushion that we can race for the win and not to protect the points lead. As long we don’t do anything stupid or get wrecked, we shouldn’t lose that 30-point lead. I expect us to go and use this race as good preparation for the playoffs. After having the last stretch of races at tracks that we won’t see again the rest of the year, we head to a mile-and-a-half race track -which is the type of track that makes up almost half of the playoff races. We’ve been really good at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year, so we’re ready to get back in our groove and head into the playoffs with some momentum.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 SiriusXM Tundra:

KBM-047: The No. 4 SiriusXM Racing team will unload KBM-047 for Friday’s NCWTS race at Chicagoland Speedway. It is the same Tundra that Kyle Busch led a race-high 32 laps with and captured the first two stages of the event at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., before being relegated to a 25th-place finish after an accident on lap 37.

KBM-047 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Track
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
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

15 of 15

4

9

13

3

2050

521

4.7

6.8

13

13

3 years

 

45

6

20

33

3

6305

829

7.7

9

39

36

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Chicagoland Speedway Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

9/16/16

12

4

151/151

0

Running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights

  • Has posted four wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.), three poles, 521 laps led, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.8 across 15 NCWTS events

  • After 15 races, leads Johnny Sauter by 30 points in the NCWTS regular season driver’s point standings

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (four), poles (three), driver rating (115.0), playoff points (24), average starting position (4.7), average finish (6.8), laps led (521) and fastest laps run (238)

  • 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

  • In Midgets has six 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) and the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17)

  • 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

  • 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.

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected eight wins, eight poles, 29 top-five and 50 top-10 finishes across 61 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 (63), 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 63 wins, 34 poles, 148 top-five and 239 top-10 finishes across 396 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Erik Jones and Williams Byron each collected seven victories, Christopher Bell has six wins, 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 @ Chicagoland Speedway:

  • KBM drivers have collected four wins, 400 laps led, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.1 across 15 starts at the 1.5-mile track

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch has brought home all four of KBM’s victories at Chicagoland. His latest win at the track came last season after leading 95 laps to the checkered flag. He also won in 2010, 2013 and 2014

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 20 wins, 12 poles and 41 top-five finishes across his 83 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, 52 laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.3 across three starts in the Windy City. Kyle Busch led 52 laps en route to victory with Fugle calling the shots in the 2013 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

 

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

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