After picking up his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series-leading fourth win of the season in the circuit's last stop at Pocono Raceway in Long, Pond, Pa., Christopher Bell took over the points lead from reigning champion Jonny Sauter. Including this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Bell has four more regular season races left to hold off Sauter and earn the coveted 15 playoff bonus points for being the regular-season champion.
After winning one race and finishing third in the 2016 Truck Series championship standings, the 22-year-old driver has returned with a vengeance this season. In addition to toping the Truck Series point standings, Bell currently tops the circuit in poles (three), playoff points (24), laps led (521), driver rating (118.9), average starting position (4.3), average finish (5.6), top-10 finishes (11) and fastest laps run (228).
Intermediate tracks have been Bell's strong suit this season, as all three of his poles and all four of his victories have come at tracks between 1.5-miles and 2.5 miles in length. He started the season off winning the pole and all three stages at Atlanta Motor Speedway and also picked up victories at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and most recently Pocono. His average finish in five starts on intermediate tracks this season is 2.0. When Bell hasn't been able to pick up the victory on the intermediate tracks, his boss and team owner Kyle Busch has picked up his slack and earned Kyle Busch Motorsports the victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Bell had a fast Tundra at Michigan last year, but didn't have the result to show for it. After running inside the top five for the majority of the race, he made a move to take the lead from Cole Custer with 25 laps remaining, but ended up getting aero loose and crashing into another competitor and then into the outside wall. The accident relegated him to a disappointing 24th-place finish.
The talented wheelman will be looking to redeem himself from last year's disappointing finish this weekend. Bell aims to be the leader of the pack at the end of Saturday's 100-lap race in the Irish Hills in an effort to collect his fifth Truck Series win of 2017 and extend his points lead as the end of the regular season approaches.