Christopher Bell and the No. 4 JBL Racing team head to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth for Friday night's Striping Technology 350. The 147-lap event is the second of the three races that make up the Round of 6 and decide the four drivers that will compete for the championship in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase elimination-style playoff format.
Bell's first visit to TMS this season seemed to have marked a turning point for the young driver. Texas was the first track on the schedule that the 21-year-old was competing at for a second time, after posting an eighth-place finish at the 1.5-mile tri-oval while competing in a limited schedule in 2015. Once the field hit the track in June, the JBL Tundra showed good long-run speed in both practices sessions and earned the ninth starting position for the race. Bell's hopes of the home track victory quickly diminished when he failed to complete a lap after he suffered terminal engine problems when he missed a shift at the start of the race.
Since that night, the open-wheel dirt standout converted to a pavement prodigy, has turned his season around. With a string of consistent runs, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate has become a serious contender for the Truck Series championship. In the 13 races since Texas, the talented wheelman has finished inside the top 10 12 times, including five top fives. Just two weeks after Texas, he earned his spot in the Truck Series Chase with a victory at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.
Bell enters Friday night's race having finished sixth or better in six consecutive Truck Series events, including a fourth-place finish in the first race of the Round of 6 last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. In the four events already concluded in the Chase he has produced an average finish of 4.5 and with two races remaining in this round currently is 13 points above the cutoff line to compete in the Championship 4 at Homestead (Fla.) Miami Speedway.
The Oklahoma native hopes that Texas Motor Speedway will once again serve as the turning point in his quest for the Truck Series title as he looks to lock himself into the Championship 4 with a victory under the lights on Friday night.