The racing season has officially begun with one of the most exciting motorsports events for fans and drivers alike. RacingJunk.com slipped Behind The Wheel with the winner of the historic Chili Bowl Nationals to find out how Oklahoma native and Toyota Racing driver Christopher Bell obtained his first Golden Driller.
Like many young gun drivers, Bell discovered his passion for racing before having the ability to reach the gas pedals. “When I was growing up, my father was a high school basketball coach, who had a player on his team that ran junior sprint cars,” said Bell. “I started going to dirt races with his family when I was a young kid and was hooked.”
This passion led to Bell jumping behind the wheel of his first junior sprint car at the age of 6 years. Before entering his teen years, the young dirt prodigy would discover his place in the racing world after making his start in Micro Sprint racing. Although it would take a few years to catch his stride, Bell would prove he was a force to be reckoned with after winning the 66 Mike Phillips Memorial micro-sprint car race in 2011, while finishing second at the Short Track Nationals one year later.
“I fell in love with this sport and I wanted to make it my job,” said Bell. “Thankfully, due to opportunities like this, that dream began to seem possible.”
The decision Bell would eventually have to make was whether his chosen profession would take him to the top of the dirt or asphalt racing world. After coming home with the championship during his first year of competition in the USAC Series, Bell knew that he was up to a new challenge.
From Dirt to Asphalt
Thanks to a little faith from Toyota Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports, a now 19-year-old dirt car native would step up to the plate to try his hand in asphalt racing. After competing in a Super Late Model for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2014, Bell would bring home wins at New Smyrna Speedway, South Alabama Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park.
One year later, Bell would not only be making two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West starts for Bill McNally Racing, but would quickly move up to the big leagues of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“In 2015, I was asked to join Kyle Busch Motorsports in a few Camping World Truck Series races, which was such an honor,” said Bell.
Despite proving that he could compete with the heavy hitters of the Truck Series, after a top-5 finish in his first race, Christopher Bell would officially make his mark in this series where his racing career had begun, in the dirt, following a win at the MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.
While he has continued to find success as a Camping World Truck Series Driver for this dominant team, Bell says that he will always have a passion for where his racing career began.
“I really enjoy both dirt and asphalt racing because they are polar opposites,” said Bell. “Both are unique and have their own challenges, and I couldn’t see myself choosing not to race in either of these forms of motorsports.”
Seven Times the Charm
Despite his excitement for returning to the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports during the 2017 season, Bell began his season by returning to what he says has been one of his favorite races – the Chili Bowl Nationals – in his hometown of Oklahoma.
“This was my seventh return to this race and it has always been my dream to win it,” said Bell. “I guess that seven times was the charm.”
For the first 25 laps of this race, it appeared that Bell would see his dreams dashed. The No. 39BC of Justin Grant would lead the field until Bell found his way to both the lead and an illustrious win.
“Although I have had some amazing memories in racing, this was by far one of my favorites that will stay with me forever,” said Bell.
We at Racing Junk wish Bell success in his racing career and look forward to hearing more about the success of this Toyota Racing driver far into the future. If you would like to see a driver featured Behind The Wheel, contact columnist Ellen Richardson at [email protected] today!