Christopher Bell has proven his skills in open-wheel cars on dirt tracks around the United States, and even in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with his victory at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio in July. The one thing he has not been able to do yet is win a race on pavement in his No. 54 JBL Tundra. This will be his last chance in the 2015 season, but he will have 22 opportunities (on pavement) next year when he competes full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
The six races he has run so far in the NCWTS have been valuable learning experiences for the 20-year-old Oklahoma native. Figuring out the fastest way around new tracks in a vehicle with vastly different aerodynamics than anything he had driven before has given Bell a huge advantage preparing him for 2016. With a superspeedway and several mile-and-a-half starts under his belt, he will be prepared for the challenges ahead of him next season.
Of course Bell has already faced new challenges this season head on with very impressive results. In just his first NCWTS start in June at Iowa Speedway in Newton, he scored a top-five finish. Bell hung on to finish 17th at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, which was notable since he had never raced on a track bigger than a mile, and had no practice or qualifying laps at Kentucky due to rain. In just his third start Bell led 106 laps to take his first checkered flag at Eldora, his first win in any series at the legendary dirt track. At Las Vegas he was two laps short on fuel which cost him a top-five finish, and a penalty at Talladega while running second may have cost him the win. Two weeks ago he finished eighth at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Bell's goal since the Eldora race has been to win a truck race on pavement in 2015. He has one shot left to accomplish that goal, Friday night in the NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. He hopes to be in Victory Lane while his KBM teammate, Erik Jones, is on the stage celebrating the team's first Driver's Championship. That is something Bell can set as a goal for next season.