By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Winning the Regular Season has made Christopher Bell a favorite for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship. Now Bell holds a 15-point advantage, and is poised for a strong Playoff run in the No. 4 SiriusXM Toyota Tundra.
Bell has just one start at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). He started third and finished second to his then-Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate William Byron.
Bell believes that with KBM’s history at ‘The Magic Mile, that he has a good shot at victory lane,
“Loudon is a great place for the playoffs to get started at because Kyle Busch Motorsports has been really successful there — including a one-two finish last year. I’m excited to go there with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and have a shot at winning another race. Our tactic as the playoffs start is to go out and win races. Ultimately, if you go out and win races you are going to make it all the way to Homestead and that’s our No. 1 goal.”
Bell won four races (Atlanta, Kentucky, Pocono, and Texas) en route to the 2017 Regular Season championship. 2017 marked the introduction of the concept of a ‘Regular Season Championship.’ After the reseeding for the Playoffs, Bell remains first in the championship and has a 15-point advantage over defending series champion Johnny Sauter.
Bell credited his regular season championship to his team,
“It’s huge, I’ve got the best guys in the world and I’m really thankful to drive the No. 4 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports and represent all of our partners — SiriusXM, JBL, TRD and Toyota. Everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports, there is a whole group there that builds these Tundras and they do an excellent job and it really shows week in and week out — they are a pleasure to drive. Thankfully this year we were able to accumulate some points to have a little bit of a cushion going into the Playoffs. The regular season championship is nice, but now it’s time to get the playoffs started and win another championship for KBM.”
Bell’s crew chief, Ryan ‘Rudy’ Fugle, is bringing the KBM-024 chassis to the 1.058-mile oval. This chassis has two wins, three top fives, five top-10s, and four pole positions in nine starts. It won this race one year ago with Byron behind the wheel.
Fugle looked forward to the returning to New Hampshire,
“Loudon has been a really good track for us. If we can go there and execute, I know that we are capable of bringing home the win and advancing to the second round. It would be nice to do that and take a little pressure off for the next few races. It’ll be a little different at Loudon this time around with the grip strip, so we’ll need to figure out how that is going to affect things and then go out and win the race. It’ll be good to have a little bit of cushion with the playoff points we built up in the regular season if you have any small issues, but we are going to go into this race like we do every other race and that’s to win it.”
To date, Bell has 10 top-fives, 16 top-10s, and three pole positions in addition to his four victories in 2017.
2017 marks the final UNOH 175 at NHMS for the Truck Series as it will be replaced with Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the 2018 schedule. KBM has won three out of the last five Truck races at the New England racetrack. This race also marks the 400th overall start for KBM as an organization.
Now Bell, Fugle, and their entire Kyle Busch Motorsports team will look to enter their names in the NASCAR history books once more.