By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Ascension up the ladder is key to driver development. One driver that will move up the NASCAR ladder in 2018 is Christopher Bell. Bell, who currently leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Standings for Kyle Busch Motorsports will move to the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time in 2018 with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Bell burst onto the NASCAR scene when he won at Eldora Speedway in 2015. Since then, he has earned another six wins, made two Playoff appearances in two years, and made an impressive NASCAR Xfinity Series debut earlier this season. Bell has earned 23 top-fives, 36 top-10s, and three pole positions in the Truck Series, as well as one top-five, two top-10s, and one pole in four Xfinity Series starts.
JGR team owner Joe Gibbs is excited to welcome Bell into his team,
“Christopher has proven himself at every level of racing and we are excited to have him run full time in our XFINITY Series program starting in 2018. He has shown great maturity both on and off the track and we think he is ready for this opportunity. We look forward to watching his continued progress in the sport.”
Outside of NASCAR, Bell earned the 2013 USAC National Midget Championship. 2014 saw the Norman, OK native earn 26 victories. He also has wins in the World of Outlaws, CARS Tour, and several other prestigious late model races. In the spring of 2017, Bell became the first driver from Oklahoman to win the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK since 1994.
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, was proud to keep Bell in the Toyota family,
“All of us at Toyota and TRD are proud to see Christopher continue through the ranks as he now takes on the NASCAR XFINITY Series fulltime with JGR for 2018. Christopher has been a part of the TRD driver development program for many years dating back to his USAC championship in 2013 and he’s certainly been an integral part of our continued success to bring young drivers through the ranks of motorsports. Christopher has been successful in every form of racing and we’re confident that he’ll add his name to the list of drivers to put a Camry in victory lane.”
Bell’s development has occasionally lead him to compete in ARCA Racing competition to gain track time. The 22-year-old has never finished outside the top-10 in his six ARCA starts. He has scored three victories and four top-fives as well.
Bell, the 2017 Truck Series Regular Season Champion, was beyond excited for this new opportunity,
“I can’t express how excited I am about the opportunity to drive full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series. This has been a tremendous year for me and obviously I remain focused on finishing the Truck Series season strong and hopefully bringing a Championship to Kyle, Samantha and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I don’t think I could ask for a better place to take the next step in my racing career. I’m already comfortable with everyone at JGR and I think the experience I have with them this year should help me at the start of 2018.”
With his 2018 future now secured, Bell will focus on fighting for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship. JGR will announced Bell’s car number, crew chief, and sponsors at a later date.