MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2016) – Open-wheel dirt standout Christopher Bell continues his transition to pavement in 2016 as he begins his first full-time season in NASCAR, driving the No. 4 JBL Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the Camping World Truck Series. Bell hopes that his learning curve will be accelerated from the lessons he learned in his seven-race Truck Series schedule last season and that when the dust settles on the 2016 season, KBM’s No. 4 Tundra will once again be the cream of the crop.
Bell’s racing teeth were cut on dirt in micro sprints in his home state of Oklahoma when he was six years old. He graduated to 360 and 410 Sprints and proved that he was serious about a career in racing by moving to Ohio in 2011 to run 410 Sprint Cars. The following season he returned to Oklahoma to run 360 Sprint Cars in Texas and Arkansas and put his name on the map with a runner-up finish in the Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark.
Kyle Larson’s move to NASCAR in 2013 opened the door for Bell to join Midget powerhouse Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM). In his first season at KKM, Bell scored six Midget wins and an additional seven podium finishes en route to the USASC Midget championship. All together in 2013, he scored 18 wins between Non Winged, Midgets, 360 Sprint Cars and 410 Sprint Cars.
In 2014, Bell continued his winning ways and found victory lane in a variety of disciplines across a 108-race schedule. He posted 18 wins in Midgets, seven in Winged Sprint Cars, including his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win, and also won a Non-Winged Sprint Car race. In October of that year, he began his transition to pavement running Late Models for KBM. In just his fourth career Late Model start, the talented wheelman outdueled second-generation NASCAR driver John Hunter Nemechek to win the Orange County 150 Pro All Star Series South Super Late Model race at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C.
Last year, Bell split time between dirt and pavement. On dirt, he collected his second career World of Outlaws Sprint Car victory, won six times in the POWRi Midget Series, twice in USAC National Midgets and once in the USAC Silver Crown Series. On pavement, he picked up his first marquee Super Late Model victory winning the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston and collected five other Super Late Model triumphs. He then moved up the ladder with two starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, including a fifth-place overall finish in the combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
The Oklahoma native progressed to the Truck Series and finished fifth in his series debut at Iowa Speedway in June. Then, in just his third career start he led 106 laps en route to his first NASCAR National Series victory. All together in seven Truck Series starts last year, he posted one win, 111 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes.
Bell’s journey down a dirt road has led him to Daytona, where he’ll tackle the 2.5-mile tri-oval for the first time in Friday night’s NextEra Energy 250. The 21-year-old has already proven that he can win in any type of vehicle on any type of track, now he aims for a victory at “The World Center of Racing” and the first birth into the inaugural Truck Series Chase.
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:
What does it mean for a kid that grew up racing on small dirt tracks to be making your first start at Daytona?
“Racing at Daytona is something that every kid dreams about and it’s going to be awesome to race somewhere so prestigious. I remember being in Florida for Sprint Car races and driving by Daytona and wondering if I’d ever get the chance to race there. The opportunity came about a lot quicker than I expected and I’m thankful to Toyota, Kyle Busch Motorsports and JBL for believing in me and making my dream become a reality.”
Have you set any goals for this season?
“I believe that we can go out and win races and compete for the Truck Series championship. I feel like the seven races I ran last year were a great opportunity for me to get my feet wet and I was able to gain experience at a variety of race tracks. I know that I still have a lot to learn and there will obviously be a learning curve. I’m really excited to work with Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 4 JBL Tundra team. We all have the same mentality and that is to go out and try to win every race.”
Kyle Busch, owner of the No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra:
What is your outlook for Christopher Bell this season?
“Christopher did a really good job for us last season with his limited schedule and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do now that he will be running full-time. He was able to get a win in just his third Truck Series race last year on the dirt at Eldora and did a nice job at the mile-and-a-half tracks as well. He showed good speed and good poise behind the wheel. At Talladega last year, he ran a really strong race for it being his first time on a superspeedway and was in position for a good finish but unfortunately the rules kind of bit him. With a superspeedway race under his belt now, we look for him to be up front again at Daytona and get the season off to a strong start.”
Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:
KBM-11: The No. 4 JBL Tundra team will unload KBM-11 for the NextEra 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Daniel Suarez piloted the same Tundra to a ninth-place finish in last year’s season-opening race for the Truck Series at Daytona after starting from the 30th position.
KBM-11 Performance Profile:
|Totals||8 starts, 0 Wins||14.4||17.4||11|
Notes of Interest:
Christopher Bell 2015:
- Claimed his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio in just his third series start
- Recorded one win, 111 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes across seven NCWTS starts
- Collected six victories in 15 starts behind the wheel of KBM’s No. 51 Late Model, including his first marquee win when he led 203 of 250 laps of the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston
- Made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts, including a fifth-place finish in the East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton
- On dirt, collected six POWRi Midget wins, two USAC National Midget wins, one USAC Silver Crown win and also collected his second career World of Outlaws Sprint Car triumph
Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:
Christopher Bell 2014
- Collected an amazing 27 feature wins while competing in 108 events between Midgets (18 wins), Winged Sprint Cars (seven wins), Non-Winged Sprint Cars (one win) on dirt and Late Models (one win) on pavement
- In just his fourth career Late Model start, outdueled second-generation NASCAR driver John Hunter Nemechek to win the Orange County 150 Pro All Star Series (PASS) South Super Late Model race at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C.
- With a win in the prestigious 98-lap Turkey Night Grand Prix USAC Midget race at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, etched his name along open-wheel legends A.J. Foyt (1960-61), Parnelli Jones (1964 and 1966) and Tony Stewart (2000), who all picked up a Turkey Night win in their careers
- Scored his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway
- Named the MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year” for second consecutive season
Christopher Bell 2013
- Scored 18 feature wins, including six Midget wins on dirt and one Midget win on pavement
- Crowned United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Champion
- Named USAC Midget Rookie of the Year and MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year”
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:
- The No. 4 Tundra will be using the Owner’s points earned by the No. 51 Tundra last season
- Five members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 51 team that collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes
- The No. 4 Tundra has collected three wins, five poles, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes across 23 starts since originating in 2015
- Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 and also gave the organization its third consecutive and fourth career Owner’s Title
KBM NCWTS Program
- Has collected a series’ record four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, one Driver’s Championship, 45 Truck Series victories and 24 poles across 271 starts since originating in 2010
- 45 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks second all-time behind Roush Fenway (50)
- 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
- Seven different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 28. Erik Jones has collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin produced two victories and Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott all collected one triumph
- Has collected victories at 20 of the 21 tracks on the 2016 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Daytona International Speedway
- KBM drivers have collected one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 15.2 across 12 starts at Daytona
- Owner-driver Kyle Busch picked up the team’s first victory at the 2.5-mile Tri-oval in dramatic fashion in the 2014 season opener, finishing .016 seconds ahead of fellow Toyota competitor Timothy Peters.
The Book on Baxter:
Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter begins his fourth season atop the pit box for KBM. Combined in his first three seasons, Baxter’s drivers posted seven wins, three poles, 1171 laps led, 24 top-five and 40 top-10 finishes across 67 starts. The California native spent the 2015 season calling the shots for KBM’s No. 51 team, which collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Daniel Suarez (12 starts), Matt Tifft (six starts), Kyle Busch (three starts), and Christopher Bell (one start) behind the wheel. In addition to his seven wins at KBM, he boasts one other Truck Series win (Cale Gale, 2012) and one NASCAR XFINITY Series win (David Reutimann, 2007).
Baxter’s Truck Series drivers have posted one top-10 finish and an average result of 19.8 across four starts at Daytona.