While most 20-year-olds think about "Draft Day" in terms of the NFL, it has an entirely different meaning for Christopher Bell. The Norman, Okla., native will get his first experience drafting at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend in the fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Bell will be making his first start at a superspeedway in any series and has been preparing much like a football player, watching past events and studying the plays of his opponents.
Saturday will mark Bell's fifth-career NCWTS start. In his previous four starts he has one win and two top-five finishes. His win came on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, but Bell still wants to prove himself with a win on pavement. With only three races remaining on his 2015 Truck Series schedule, including Talladega, his goal for the year is take his No. 54 JBL Tundra to Victory Lane after crossing an asphalt finish line.
Bell has spent the week at the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) shop preparing for this race, which is unlike any other he's run in the past. He has talked at length with his coaches, crew chief Eddie Troconis and veteran spotter Lorin Ranier, about race strategy, aerodynamics in the draft, making friends to draft with during the race and realizing nobody is your friend in the final laps. The two hours of practice time on Friday will be valuable for Bell to get the experience of drafting and feeling how the air affects his JBL Tundra.
The JBL team has prepared chassis KBM-26 for Bell to race this weekend at Talladega. This Tundra debuted at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February, but was involved in an accident only 14 laps into the race. KBM rebuilt the truck over the summer for the second and final restrictor-plate race of the season for the Truck Series.
Bell has done his homework to learn everything he can as Draft Day approaches at Talladega. He even has a new suit to wear (a JBL firesuit) for the big day. The young rookie is looking to end up with a great result from the draft, and not need a Hail Mary in the final seconds to get the finish he wants.