Christopher Bell spent his weekend off from the NACAR Camping World Truck Series competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he worked his way past Erik Jones with four laps remaining and went on to collect his first Xfinity Series victory in just his fifth series start. Bell will now switch his focus back to the Truck Series for the Round of 6 of the playoffs, which begins with Saturday's race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Bell, who won the Truck Series regular season title, enters the Round of 6 as the No. 1 seed and with the 47 bonus points he has earned throughout the season, begins the round with a 34-point cushion on the cutoff line for advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. The 22-year-old driver earned his spot in the Round of 6 by winning the opening race of the 2017 playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and followed that up with runner-up finishes at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, giving him an average finish of 1.7 in the opening round.
Bell's performance in the Round of 6 came as no surprise as the talented wheelman has proven all season to be one of the drivers to beat for the Truck Series championship. The Oklahoma native leads the series in nearly every major statistical category, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (17), driver rating (118.4), average starting position (4.3), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.0), laps led (739) and fastest laps run (351).
Saturday's 200-lap event at "The Paperclip" will be Bell's fourth time tackling the challenging .526-mile track. The dirt standout turned pavement prodigy qualified 14th and finished 19th in his debut at the Virginia track in April of 2016 and then showed major improvement last fall when he qualified sixth and finished fourth. Bell had his grasp on a grandfather clock earlier this year when he led a race-high 92 laps, but his bid for a victory was thwarted as he was working his way around a truck at the tail of the field with 17 laps remaining and got clipped as he was completing the pass. He was able to gather up his Tundra and continue on with minor damage, but two trucks made their way past him in the process and left him with a disappointing third-place finish.
Bell's spirits should be high coming off his exciting Xfinity Series win at Kansas, but he's ready to 'clock' back in at his day job this weekend in Martinsville for the opening race of the Round of 6 in the Truck Series playoffs. He'll be piloting the same Tundra, KBM-24, that he did in the opening race of the Round of 8 at New Hampshire and he's hoping to 'clock' out with the same result.