Bell Claims Camping World Truck Series Title

Jacob Seelman Featured, Trucks 0 Comments

Christopher Bell celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Jeremy Thompson photo)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Chase Briscoe may have won the battle, but Christopher Bell claimed the war Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he captured his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.

Bell led the title fight for nearly the entire 200-mile distance despite starting the lowest of the four title contenders, charging from 13th to win the first stage and running second to Ben Rhodes in the second stage before gridding up third for the run to the finish.

He slotted into third on the restart with 47 to go but had to weather a brief but fierce side-by-side battle with rival Austin Cindric before pulling away and settling into a rhythm on the high side of the South Florida oval.

Bell then quietly and methodically opened up a massive lead over his foes in the race for the crown, carrying a 3.3 second gap over Johnny Sauter with 26 laps to go and expanding it to seven seconds with 15 circuits remaining.

By the time the checkered flag finally waved, Bell’s gap over his points rivals was a whopping 12.729 seconds over Sauter as he asserted his dominance one final time and took home the championship trophy in commanding fashion.

“There are no words to describe what (winning the championship) means to me,” said Bell. “To be able to be here and to finish out my career at Kyle Busch Motorsports with the championship is something that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. To be able to do it with JBL on the truck – they’ve been with me since day one and the start of my career and were with me through last year. … They’ve stuck with me and believed in me and we were able to persevere and come away as champions a year later. I’m speechless, honestly.”

“I’m just really, really blessed and thankful to be able to drive for Kyle and for everything we’ve done together over this last three years. It’s just a dream come true and something I’m definitely going to cherish for the rest of my life.”

Bell’s 2017 season saw him claim five wins (Atlanta, Texas 1, Kentucky, Pocono, Loudon), 15 top-fives and 21 top-10 finishes in 23 races.

He won the regular season title, banked the most playoff points among all drivers and never trailed in points during the seven-race playoff run to close the year.

In fact, after taking the points lead after the 12th race of the year at Pocono in July, Bell never relinquished it again.

The 22-year-old Norman, Oklahoma native becomes the fourth-youngest champion in Truck Series history, and his title Friday night caps off a memorable season that started when he won the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals — the most prestigious event in dirt midget car racing — back in January.

“You never know when your last win is going to be or when your last championship is going to be, so to be able to be standing here as a NASCAR champion is something I would say I dreamed of, but I didn’t ever think it was ever a realistic possibility … so I didn’t ever really dream of it. But it’s an incredible feeling.”

And if you ask Bell, he already knows the only thing that would make it even better.

“It’s been the career year of my life so far. Now I’ve got another Chili Bowl to win here in a couple months.”

 

About the Writer

jacobseelmanJacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network, as well as a periodic contributor to SPEED SPORT Magazine.

Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: editor@racechaseronline.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

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