By: Ashley McCubbin
It was in October 2017 the world got a glimpse of the star Christopher Bell could possibly become as he grew with more experience.
Despite Erik Jones dominating the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kansas Speedway that month, Bell got a run going into turn three with four laps to go, sliding up in front of his then Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, pacing the field the final three circuits for his first career victory.
Now four years later, Bell hopes to repeat the same success – but this time in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I love Kansas Speedway,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “It’s one of my favourite tracks. I call it my second home track – Texas will always be closer, but Kansas will always have a special place in my heart after that Xfinity win. It’s just a fun track that we go to. It’s in a great area. There’s a lot of good food around there, there’s shops, there’s a casino so there’s stuff to do right around the race track, and it’s a fun race track, too.
“It has a fair amount of grip – I’d call it more grip than not, and you can move around as you can run the bottom, run the top. There’s a lot of off throttle time so for this rule’s package, it’s a great rules package.”
Since the victory in 2017, Bell went on to score 15 more Xfinity Series checkered flags over the following two years, followed by his first victory in the Cup Series this season at the Daytona International Speedway road course.
The evolution of him as a driver has been fun to watch, whether through the hardships of coming up short on an Xfinity title two years in a row, or scoring seven top-10’s in his first full campaign in the Cup Series in 2020.
“I just think obviously I’ve grown and gotten more experience since then,” he commented. “You learn so much over each race and year as your experience grows, so probably a little bit more smarter – well, I hope anyway, and definitely have some more experience.”
The experience is paying off this year as on top of the victory at Daytona, the Oklahoma native has scored a top-10 in half of the events thus far in 2021, including another top-five with a fourth at Richmond Raceway.
The trend could easily continue this weekend at Kansas, as Bell was able to pick up a 10th last season.