Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday afternoon that 22-year-old Christopher Bell will dip his toes into the XFINITY Series, running seven races on a part-time basis for JGR this season.
The three-time winner and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader will make his season debut later this month in the No. 18 Toyota Camry on May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Hisense 4K TV 300. Bell will also compete at Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, each in the fall as he gets behind the wheel of JGR’s No. 18 machine.
Bell will also pilot the No. 20 car at Iowa Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, completing his seven-race schedule. The youngster’s three wins in the NCWTS have come on varying tracks: Eldora Speedway, Gateway Motorsports Park and Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Plus, he became the youngest ever winner of the Chili Bowl in his home state of Oklahoma this winter.
Bell was a part of the inaugural Truck Series championship four last season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and ultimately finished in third place. Now in his second season with KBM and the No. 4 truck team, adding some races at a higher level is exciting, to say the least.
“As a kid growing up in Oklahoma, it’s always been a dream come true to be able to race in one of the NASCAR’s top series,” Bell said. “Over the past three years, Toyota has given me the opportunity to compete at the truck level with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Going to JGR is something I didn’t dream of as a kid because it wasn’t something I dreamed was a possibility. Now, with this tremendous opportunity in front of me, it is obviously a dream come true.
“I couldn’t be happier than to be with the team I’m at. To be able to race seven races at JGR is something that every kid would love the opportunity to do. I’m very thankful for it and we’re going to go out here and try to make the most of it.”
Bell’s experience and credentials on dirt are at the top of the list for any 22-year-old. Besides winning Eldora for his first NCWTS victory as well as the Chili Bowl, he’s a USAC national midget champion . Executives within the organization don’t take that for granted and have been noticing speedy improvement throughout Bell’s short NASCAR career.
“Christopher has quickly made his mark in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and should be able to use that experience toward his debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series,” Steve deSouza, Executive Vice President of XFINITY and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing, said. “He has confidence and is eager to showcase his talents at Charlotte Motor Speedway and we are excited to see what he can do in the JGR Toyota’s for his seven races.”
Thus far in 2017, Bell has one win, one pole, over 200 laps led and has yet to finish outside the top ten. He has earned two top five finishes and has an astounding average finish of fourth through three races.
The next NCWTS event will be May 12 at Kansas Speedway, where Bell looks to improve upon his fourth-place result he ended up with last season.
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