NCWTS: CHRISTOPHER BELL is Ready for Draft Day at Talladega

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 20, 2015) – While most 20-year-olds think about “Draft Day” in terms of the NFL, it has an entirely different meaning for Christopher Bell. The Norman, Okla., native will get his first experience drafting at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend in the fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Bell will be making his first start at a superspeedway in any series and has been preparing much like a football player, watching past events and studying the plays of his opponents.
Saturday will mark Bell’s fifth-career NCWTS start. In his previous four starts he has one win and two top-five finishes. His win came on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, but Bell still wants to prove himself with a win on pavement. With only three races remaining on his 2015 Truck Series schedule, including Talladega, his goal for the year is take his No. 54 JBL Tundra to Victory Lane after crossing an asphalt finish line.
Bell has spent the week at the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) shop preparing for this race, which is unlike any other he’s run in the past. He has talked at length with his coaches, crew chief Eddie Troconis and veteran spotter Lorin Ranier, about race strategy, aerodynamics in the draft, making friends to draft with during the race and realizing nobody is your friend in the final laps. The two hours of practice time on Friday will be valuable for Bell to get the experience of drafting and feeling how the air affects his JBL Tundra.
The JBL team has prepared chassis KBM-26 for Bell to race this weekend at Talladega. This Tundra debuted at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February, but was involved in an accident only 14 laps into the race. KBM rebuilt the truck over the summer for the second and final restrictor-plate race of the season for the Truck Series.
Bell has done his homework to learn everything he can as Draft Day approaches at Talladega. He even has a new suit to wear (a JBL firesuit) for the big day. The young rookie is looking to end up with a great result from the draft, and not need a Hail Mary in the final seconds to get the finish he wants.
Christopher Bell, Driver of the No. 54 NCWTS JBL Tundra:
What are your thoughts on running your first restrictor-plate race?
“I’m really looking forward to running at Talladega. I’ve been running a lot of restrictor-plate races on iRacing so hopefully that will translate to the real thing. It’s going to be a huge learning experience for me, which I’m excited about. It will definitely be different from anything I’ve done before in a race car or truck. I want to run all the laps, stay out of trouble and learn as much as possible to be there at the end of the race.”
Have you received any advice from other drivers about what to do, or what not to do, at Talladega?
“A little bit. I’ve talked to some of the guys, but the biggest thing is going to be me trying it out for myself. I’m a real big learner by actually doing it, so it’s kind of hard for me visualize it without actually doing it.”
How do you prepare for a restrictor-plate race since it is so different from any other type of racing?
“I honestly don’t know. It’s going to something that is totally new to me. I have to go into it with an open mind and not have any expectations except just to learn and hopefully by the end I’ll have a little bit better handle on it, so I can go into the next race with higher expectations. I’ll be working on drafting during practice as long as the JBL team will let me run, so I can try to learn as much as I can.”
Eddie Troconis, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NCWTS JBL Tundra:
As a crew chief what can you do to help Christopher at Talladega? What advice have you given him for his first restrictor-plate race?
“The crew chief’s job at Talladega, or any restrictor-plate race, is to have a really good race strategy which allows the driver to stay out of trouble and be there at end. Also to keep him calm and remind him the race is decided on the last lap and we need to be there at end. Of course it’s also my responsibility to bring a super-fast JBL Tundra for him to drive.
“I’m working with Christopher to teach him the tricks of the draft and how to understand the aero advantages he can use during the race, and to be smooth and patient.”
Christopher Bell’s No. 54 JBL Tundra:
KBM-026: The No. 54 JBL team will race KBM-026, for Saturday’s fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. This truck debuted at Daytona in February, but was involved in an accident only 14 laps into the race.
KBM-026 Performance Profile
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
2/15/2015
Daytona
Boston
25
29
18/100
0
Accident
 
Notes of Interest:
 
Christopher Bell 2015
  • Claimed his first victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/22/15)
  • Has collected five victories in 12 starts behind the wheel of KBM’s No. 51 Super Late Model
  • Scored his first marquee Super Late Model win when he led 203 of 250 laps of the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston, dominating a field that included reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott (3/15/15)
  • Has made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts, including a fifth-place finish in the East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway (5/16/15)
  • On dirt, has collected six POWRi Midget wins, two USAC National Midget wins, one USAC Silver Crown win and also collected his second-career World of Outlaws Sprint Car triumph in the Spring Classic Winged Sprint Car race at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo., in April.
Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats
 
Year
Races
Win
Top 5
Top 10
Pole
Laps
Led
Earnings
AvSt
AvFn
RAF
Miles
LLF
2015
4
1
2
2
0
643
106
$87,151
8.8
9.2
4
685.5
2
NOTABLE OPEN-WHEEL DIRT STANDOUTS NASCAR NATIONAL SERIES DEBUTS
Driver
Date
Series
Track
Start
Finish
Jeff Gordon
10/20/1990
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Rockingham Speedway
2
39
Tony Stewart
02/17/1996
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Daytona International Speedway
34
21
Kasey Kahne
02/23/2002
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Rockingham Speedway
20
31
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
04/11/2009
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Nashville Superspeedway
5
23
Kyle Larson
06/28/2012
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Kentucky Speedway
25
10
Christopher Bell
06/19/2015
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Iowa Speedway
10
5
 
Christopher Bell 2014
  • Collected an amazing 27 feature wins while competing in 108 events between midgets (18 wins), winged sprint cars (seven wins), non-winged sprint cars (one win) on dirt and Super Late Models (one win) on pavement
  • In just his fourth-career late model start, outdueled second-generation NASCAR driver John Hunter Nemechek to win the Orange County 150 Pro All Star Series (PASS) South Super Late Model race at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C.  (10/18/14)
  • With a win in the prestigious 98-lap Turkey Night Grand Prix USAC Midget race at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, etched his name along open-wheel legends A.J. Foyt (1960-61), Parnelli Jones (1964 and 1966) and Tony Stewart (2000), who all picked up a Turkey Night win in their careers (11/28/14)
  • Scored his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway (5/7/14)
  • Named the MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year” for second consecutive season
Christopher Bell 2013
  • Scored six national Midget Series wins and seven additional podiums on dirt while adding one win on pavement
  • 2013 United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Champion
  • Named USAC Midget Rookie of the Year
  • Named the MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year”
 
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 54 Tundra
  • Is currently 12th in the Owner’s Championship standings with one win, two top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 18 starts
  • Earned six wins, four poles, 1,074 laps led, 16 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes across 62 starts since 2013
KBM NCWTS Program
  • Has collected three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, 44 Truck Series victories and 23 poles across 255 starts since originating in 2010
  • 44 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks second all-time behind Roush Fenway (50)
  • 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
  • Seven different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 28. Erik Jones has collected six victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin produced two victories and Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott all collected one triumph
  • Has collected victories at 20 of the 21 tracks on the 2015 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Talladega Superspeedway
  • KBM drivers have collected one win (Kyle Busch, 2010), one top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.7 across 10 starts at Talladega
  • Kyle Busch’s win by 0.002 seconds over Aric Almirola in 2010 was the closest finish in Truck Series history since electronic scoring was instituted
The Troconis Transcript
Eddie Troconis will take over atop the pit box of the No. 54 Tundra for the final five races of the 2015 season. Since joining KBM in 2013, the native of Mexico City, Mexico has contributed to seven wins in his role as a race engineer under crew chief Jerry Baxter. Troconis crew chiefed a combined seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for Eddie Sharp Racing during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, where his drivers earned one top-five and three top-10 finishes.
Troconis has one prior start as a crew chief at Talladega when he called the shots for Justin Lofton at Eddie Sharp Racing in 2012. Lofton led 20 laps before an accident on the final lap which left him with a 24th-place finish.
 
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota Tundra 2015 NCWTS Box Score:
 
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Owner Pts./Pos.
Money Won
2/20
Daytona
Boston
25
29
18/100
0
Accident
15/28th
$14,550
2/28
Atlanta
Boston
6
16
129/130
0
Running
43/22nd
$15,168
3/28
Martinsville
Boston
21
10
258/258
0
Running
77/16th
$17,191
5/8
Kansas
Boston
9
7
166/167
0
Running
114/13th
$19,064
5/15
Charlotte
Boston
22
9
139/139
0
Running
149/13th
$16,342
5/29
Dover
Boston
8
25
65/200
0
Accident
168/16th
$16,273
6/5
Texas
Boston
11
8
167/167
1
Running
205/14th
$16,841
6/13
Gateway
Boston
19
27
51/160
0
Accident
222/16th
$11,786
6/19
Iowa
Boston
11
11
200/200
0
Running
255/16th
$15,591
7/9
Kentucky
Bell
16
17
144/145
0
Running
282/16th
$15,188
7/22
Eldora
Bell
4
1
154/154
106
Running
330/14th
$37,273
8/1
Pocono
Tifft
14
8
69/69
0
Running
366/13th
$15,475
8/15
Michigan
Coughlin
18
20
96/100
0
Running
390/14th
$15,988
8/19
Bristol
Busch
1
2
202/202
4
Running
433/13th
$31,811
8/30
Canadian Tire
Gaulding
8
11
64/64
0
Running
466/12th
$19,441
9/19
Chicago
Tifft
18
9
149/150
0
Running
501/12th
$18,640
9/26
New Hampshire
Gaulding
8
10
175/175
0
Running
535/12th
$16,831
10/3
Las Vegas
Bell
5
14
145/146
0
Running
565/12th
$16,044
-KBM-