Christopher Bell Has One Shot To Seal The Deal

Christopher Bell

In his second full-time campaign in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Christopher Bell has put together a season that ranks among the greats in series history. The 22-year-old driver will be looking to cap off his spectacular season by capturing his first NASCAR championship in Friday night’s Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

After winning one race and finishing third in the Truck Series championship standings a year ago, Bell returned with a vengeance in 2017. Since capturing the pole and sweeping all three stages in the second race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., the dirt stalwart turned pavement prodigy has been widely considered the favorite to capture this year’s crown and he’s done nothing to sway public opinion throughout the course of the year. Entering Friday’s championship race, the Oklahoma native leads NASCAR’s third division in nearly every major statistical category, including wins (five), poles (five), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (20), driver rating (118.5), average starting position (4.6), average finish (5.9), average running position (5.9), laps led (865) and fastest laps run (419).

Three of Bell’s wins this season have come on mile-and-a-half tracks and a fourth came at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., a unique 2.5-mile track where many teams race the same trucks and similar setups to what they do at the 1.5-mile venues. Pocono happens be the last place that the No. 4 team raced the Tundra that they will unload for Friday night’s championship race, KBM-38. “38 Special” was victorious at Pocono in July and also was Bell’s winning chariot at Atlanta in February, as well as in June at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It also happens to be the same Toyota that William Byron won from the pole with in last year’s season finale at Homestead.

If Bell win’s Friday night’s Truck Series championship, and does so by finishing eighth or better, he’ll join elite company as one of four drivers in the history of the series who won the championship with an average finish below 6.0. 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Ron Hornaday Jr., accomplished the feat twice (1996 and 2007), and is joined in the club by Mike Skinner (1995) and Greg Biffle (2000).

Year

Driver

Races

Wins

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

1995

Mike Skinner

20

8

17

18

10

2834

1053

3.8

4.8

1996

Ron Hornaday, Jr.

24

4

18

23

2

4534

833

7.3

4.5

2000

Greg Biffle

24

5

18

18

4

4038

833

4.5

5.8

2007

Ron Hornaday, Jr.

25

4

13

22

1

4070

827

9.8

5.7

2017

Christopher Bell (Entering Final Race)

22

5

14

20

5

3313

865

4.5

5.9

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

 

How do you feel heading into the Championship 4 Friday night?

“To be able to make it to the Championship 4 two years in a row and have another shot to bring home a championship to Kyle Busch Motorsports is something I’m really proud of. It will be kind of a bittersweet weekend for me — it’s the end of a long run at KBM, but it’s been a great one and I’m thankful for all the people that I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built. Winning a championship on Friday night for everyone at KBM, Toyota, Toyota Racing Development and JBL — all the people that were there when I started my run in the Truck Series in 2015 and have helped me be in the position I am — would be a great way to end this chapter of my career.”

How do you feel that your team stacks up against the other three teams in the Championship 4?

“I think everyone on this No. 4 JBL team is as prepared as we can be. Overall, if you look back on the season, I think we’ve shown the most speed in the Truck Series, and week in and week out we’ve been the best team. I’ve always enjoyed Homestead and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) has been really fast there the last few years. If we can just go out and focus on what has gotten us to this point, I think we should be in good shape. Regardless of the outcome, it’s been an amazing season.”

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

 

How do you feel about your team’s chances to bring home another championship to KBM?

“KBM has been really good at Homestead since they came into the Truck Series, so I’m definitely excited about our chances to bring home another championship. We are bringing a Tundra that we feel is our fastest truck — it’s had a lot of success on the intermediate tracks including a win at Homestead last year. Our goal all year has been to go out and win this championship and we’ve worked hard all year to get to put ourselves in this situation. Our team definitely has the most experience in these situations — now we just have to go out and execute.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 JBL Tundra:

 

KBM-38: The No. 4 JBL Racing team will unload KBM-38, for Friday night’s championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Bell has won three times in four starts driving “38 Special” this season. It is also the same Toyota that William Byron won from the pole with in last year’s season finale at Homestead.

KBM-38 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
7/29/2017
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
6/9/2017
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
5/12/2017
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
3/4/2017
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
11/18/2016
Homestead
Byron
1
1
134/134
31
Running
Totals
5 Starts, 4 Wins
5.4
1.6
266

 

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

22 of 22

5

14

20

5

3113

865

4.5

5.9

20

20

3 years

 

52

7

25

40

5

7368

1173

7.2

8.3

46

43

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Homestead Performance Profile:

 

Date
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
11/18/2016
8
8
134/134
0
Running
11/20/2015
9
25
130/134
5
Out of Fuel

 

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), five poles, 865 laps led, 14 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes resulting and an average finish of 5.9 across 22 races

  • 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 six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.0 across the first six races of the NCWTS playoffs and earned his spot in the Championship 4 by finishing the Round of 6 atop the point standings

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (five), poles (five), top-five finishes (14), top-10 finishes (20), driver rating (118.5), average starting position (4.6), average finish (5.9), average running position (5.9), laps led (865) and fastest laps run (419)

  • 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 seven starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing has one pole, 156 laps led, three top-five and five 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, 10 poles, 34 top-five and 57 top-10 finishes across 68 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 Christopher Bell will be contending for KBM’s second driver’s championship, while Bell and Myatt Snider’s teams will both compete for KBM’s sixth Owner’s championship Friday night 

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

  • Christopher Bell will be contending for KBM’s second Driver’s championship, while Bell and Myatt Snider’s teams will both compete for KBM’s sixth Owner’s championship Friday night

  • Has collected 65 wins, 37 poles, 158 top-five and 255 top-10 finishes across 418 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 @ Homestead-Miami Speedway:

  • KBM drivers have collected four wins, 247 laps led, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.9 across 17 starts at Homestead

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch scored wins for KBM in 2010 and 2013, Darrell Wallace Jr., won in 2014 and William Byron in 2016

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, 14 poles and 47 top-five finishes across his 90 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, 93 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 2.7 across three starts at Homestead. Fugle won last year’s event from the pole with William Byron and in 2013 was victorious with owner-driver Kyle Busch. Both victories secured Owner’s championships for KBM.

 

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
11/10/17
Phoenix
Bell
1
8
150/150
90
Running
3184/1st

 

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK

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