Christopher Bell Everything is Great
While most of the drivers in Saturday's Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event will be strapping into a race vehicle for just the third time this season, Christopher Bell will be looking to earn his fifth overall victory already in 2017.
Bell opened up the 2017 season by fulfilling a childhood dream when he won the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway in his home state of Oklahoma and has parlayed the momentum of his historic victory win into a hot start in the Truck Series. The 22-year-old survived a pair of accidents in the season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and was able to bring his battered JBL Tundra home to an eighth-place finish. One week later he dominated the second event on the NCWTS schedule as he captured the pole, led 99 of the 130 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway and became the first driver in one of NASCAR's National Series to sweep all three stages of a race under the new race format.
After two races, Bell leads the Truck Series point standings and also paces the series in driver rating (124.0) and laps led (105). Not only has the No. 4 Tundra been at the front of the field, it's been the fast truck on the track for a remarkable 35.6 percent (58) of the 163 green-flag laps run in the first two events of the season.
Saturday's 250-lap event will be Bell's third start at Martinsville. In his debut at 'The Paperclip' last spring, he started from the 15th spot, had an average running position of 15.1 and ended the day with a 19th-place finish. He showed great improvement in the fall race, qualifying fifth, posting an average running position of 5.7 and clocking out of the Virginia track with a fourth-place finish.
Despite the Truck Series being on a hiatus of nearly a month, Bell has padded his win total on dirt. The talented youngster returned to the dirt track where he cut his racing teeth, I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla., last weekend for the Fourth Annual Turnpike Challenge. Rained washed away Friday night's feature, but set up a double dip on Saturday. In the first 30-lap feature, he charged to the front from the ninth position and won in dominant fashion. In the nightcap, the Toyota Racing driver started from the second spot, worked his way around pole sitter Zach Daum with 12 laps remaining and remained out front the rest of the way en route to completing the daily double.
For as well as 2017 has started, Bell would be the perfect poster child for team owner Kyle Busch's 'Everything is Great' t-shirts. He's hoping that he can continue his winning ways on Saturday and add an iconic Martinsville grandfather clock to his ever-growing collection of trophies.
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