Christopher Bell’s first two seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have featured vastly different starts.
Three consecutive finishes of 15th or worse along with a crash in Atlanta marked a disappointing beginning to his rookie season.
The additional experience and confidence that the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver brought into this season has improved his early-season performance tremendously.
After finishing eighth at Daytona, he hasn’t finished outside of the top-five in the last four races. His victory at Atlanta placed him in the playoffs and alleviated the pressure other drivers will experience as they look to secure a spot in the postseason.
Bell is now proving himself as a consistent front-runner, having led laps in each of the five events this year. However, his success hasn’t come without adversity.
An untimely caution placed Bell behind last weekend at Kansas and a flat left rear tire two laps into Friday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway provided an early challenge.
Bell rebounded with perseverance in both events which is proving to be one of his strengths on the track.
Patience also played a role at Charlotte as Bell went a lap down during his pit stop and didn’t receive the free pass until the fourth caution of the race on Lap 61. He worked his way back to the front through the finish, ultimately placing third.
“Unfortunately we got that flat early on in the race, and it set us back, but we were able to rebound,” Bell said.
Bell and defending series champion Johnny Sauter have established themselves as the top trucks in the series through the first five races. After overcoming the flat tire, running behind second-place finishing Sauter frustrated Bell
“Bummed I ran third, Sauter did a good job on the restart to pin me down there in (turn) three and get by me,” Bell said. “Overall frustrated that I ran third with a second-place truck but a great night, great rebound for us.”
Bell has finished behind Sauter in three of the five races this season. Out performing him to pick up additional points will be a goal moving forward as Bell looks to chase him down in the points standings. He currently sits 15 points behind standings leader Sauter.
With Bell’s additional strength this year, it’s likely he will catch and give Sauter a run for his money throughout the summer as they compete for the regular season champion award and the critical 15 playoff points up for grabs.
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