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!

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