HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kyle Busch looked like a proud parent on the championship stage Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and deservedly so after his driver Christopher Bell earned the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Bell finished second to dirt track companion Chase Briscoe in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200, but ahead of his three title rivals in the Championship 4 to cap off a title-winning season in his second season with KBM.
For Busch, Friday night just marked another shining moment in KBM’s brief-but-storied Truck Series tenure.
Bell’s title gave Busch the owner’s championship with the No. 4 entry, marking the fifth-consecutive and sixth-overall owner’s crown by KBM in an eight-year period (2010, 2013-2017).
Both are records in the Truck Series and Busch expressed his continued amazement at the longevity and strength of his team following the conclusion of the championship festivities Friday night.
“It’s pretty awesome, you know? It’s just a dream to come true to be a Truck Series owner and to have as much success as we’ve had as a young company,” said Busch. “It’s all a true testament to these guys – Rudy Fugle (crew chief) and everybody on the No. 4 truck, but more importantly everyone at home and everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports that does such a great job working on these Toyota Tundras and making them as fast as they are every year.”
“To be able to see Christopher (Bell) mature and grow and to get into the role that he’s in this year from where he was last year, it just goes to show you that these guys do such a good job of developing these guys. Our first driver’s championship we’ll never forget, obviously, with Erik Jones … but now with Christopher Bell bringing home our second, it just continues to solidify our legacy in the Truck Series and what we’re all about.”
All told, KBM has scored a series-record 65 victories over its eight-year history, along with 159 top-fives, 256 top-10s and 37 poles in 421 series starts.
Bell’s championship was the second driver’s title earned by a KBM driver in the last three years, as well as the second by a young driver who began their NASCAR progression with Busch’s Truck team.
Erik Jones won the title in 2015 with KBM before moving up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, and Bell will make the same move up the ladder next season as he inherits the seat of the No. 20 Toyota Camry.
Before his departure, though, Bell said he was determined to give the owner who made his NASCAR career possible “the sweetest possible goodbye present.”
“There are no words to describe what this 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 go out a champion is something I’m really proud of. JBL and KBM have been behind me since day one of my Truck career and I wanted so badly to repay them with this big trophy tonight.”
Bell also heaped praise on his team owner for the support that Busch has given him over his four years in the series.
“He’s (Kyle Busch) the best boss you can have. I mean, how cool is it that Kyle Busch is your boss?” Bell said with a huge smile. “It’s something that I’m just really thankful for — the opportunity to be here.”
“Whenever I first went to Kyle Busch Motorsports, I remember I was so star-struck by him whenever I was driving his late models or I’d be around him. Now, to win a championship for him – I can’t even describe this feeling.”
The feeling for Bell is triumph, but for Busch, it’s twofold: pride and progression.
And both continue to prove that KBM’s presence and force will continue to be felt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for years to come.
About the Writer
Jacob 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.
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