Christopher Bell A 'Sirius' Contender
Christopher Bell has overcome the disappointing finishes that put him in a hole in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings after the first three races of the season to emerge as a championship contender. Bell enters the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., having finished inside the top five in five of his last eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and has catapulted from 21st in the point standings after week three to sixth entering Saturday's race.
Since a hiccup at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in June, where he missed a shift at the start of the race and finished last, Bell has responded by recording an average finish of 4.0 over his last four starts, including his win at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., on June 25. His 120 championship points scored over the last four races are more than any other driver in the Truck Series, including his Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) teammate William Byron who has won two of the last four races and has scored the second most points (111) during that span. With his Gateway win, the Oklahoma native currently sits fourth on the eight-driver grid for the inaugural Truck Series Chase with five races remaining until the playoffs begin.
This weekend will be Bell's first trip to the "Tricky Triangle," so to help speed up his learning curve the 21-year-old driver will be pulling double duty as he will make his third ARCA Racing Series start of the season for Venturini Motorsports. The talented wheelman led 91 of 200 laps and scored a victory at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in his first career ARCA start in April. He also led seven laps and posted a 10th-place finish on the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville in May.
In addition to getting extra seat time at the 2.5-mile tri-oval through running the ARCA race, Bell will be under the guidance of Jerry Baxter, who was the winning crew chief in last year's Truck Series race at Pocono. With Baxter's setup and strategy, KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch led 53 of the 69 laps en route to a dominant victory in last year's event. The win was Busch's first-ever win in any series at the Pennsylvania track and also the first for KBM.
Saturday's 60-lap event will be the first of four races for SiriusXM, the world's largest radio company, as the primary sponsor of Bell's No. 4 Tundra. The talented wheelman will be looking to continue his streak of strong performances as he continues to prove to be a 'Sirius' contender not only for the win each week, but for this year's Truck Series Championship.
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