Christopher Bell A Dirt Road to Daytona
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.
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