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).