NCWTS: Christopher Bell – No. 4 JBL Tundra NCWTS Atlanta Advance

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2016) – Christopher Bell and his No. 4 JBL Tundra team are ready to shake off a rough finish to last week’s season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and get things turned in the right direction in Saturday’s Great Clips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.
Bell along with his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammates, William Byron and Cody Coughlin, traveled to Atlanta for a two-day rookie test the first week of February. Crew chief Jerry Baxter estimated that his team logged over 400 miles on the 1.54-mile Quad-oval, which allowed his young driver to get accustomed to a variety of setups and experiment driving a variety of lines around the challenging track. It was also an opportunity for the 21-year-old driver to get acclimated with Baxter and the rest of the No. 4 JBL crew after working with the No. 54 crew for six of his seven races last season.
The team will be unloading a Tundra that is a proven winner for this weekend’s event in Georgia. KBM-29 has visited victory lane twice in four career starts and has never finished outside the top 10. Owner-driver Kyle Busch led 53 of 69 laps en route to victory with the Toyota in his 2015 Truck Series debut at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and followed it up in the series’ next stop by leading 44 of 100 laps and ending in victory lane at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Across its first six seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, KBM tallied 45 wins and four Owner’s championships. One thing they were not able to accomplish is finding victory lane at Atlanta. The 1.54-mile Quad Oval is the lone circuit on the current schedule, which consists of 21 different tracks, that the premiere team in NASCAR’s third division has yet to conquer. Busch came close for his team twice, posting runner-up finishes in the 2010 and 2012 events, and overall the team has recorded an average finish of 8.5 across eight starts, but victory has eluded them.
With lessons learned from a recent two-day test in the Peach State in his memory bank and a Tundra with a winning history underneath him, Bell is ready to ring up KBM’s first Atlanta win on Saturday.
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS JBL Tundra:
 
What were you able to take away from the Atlanta test that you can apply to the race this weekend?
“The track time will be really valuable because compared to the mile-and-a-half tracks that I raced at last year Atlanta seems like a very unique place. Texas relates to it a little bit, but nothing beats that seat time I was able to get at our two-day test. I feel that over the course of the test we were able to learn a lot of things that will help make us stronger for the raceSaturday.”
 
What is unique about Atlanta?
“What makes it unique is that it is very line sensitive. From studying the film of last year’s races, Kevin Harvick in the Xfinity Series race and Matt Crafton in the Truck Series race proved that if you can be precise with your line and make sure that you can hug the yellow line at the bottom you will be really good. Being precise with your line is something that you have to do to be successful in the dirt world, so I feel like it should translate well for me at Atlanta this weekend.”
Compared to the other mile-and-a-half tracks that you’ve raced on, do you feel that tire wear will be more of an issue this weekend at Atlanta?
“Yes, Atlanta is definitely known for beating up the tires. Taking care of your tires throughout a run is really important. I’ve gotten a lot of experience behind the wheel of KBM’s Late Models the last few years and in the longer races you really have to manage your tires. So, I feel like I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned there and we can have something for them at the end of the truck race Saturday. Obviously the race didn’t end how we had hoped last weekend, so I’d like nothing more than to bounce back this weekend and put our JBL Tundra in victory lane.”
 
Jerry Baxter, crew chief of the No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra:
 
How will having participated in a rookie test at Atlanta earlier this month benefit Christopher?
“It’s still early in Christopher’s transition to pavement racing and the mile-and-a-half tracks are the toughest part of that transition with how the aerodynamics come into play — especially in the Truck Series. Every lap that we can get for him is huge as he continues in his development. I think we did a little over 400 miles at the test and he was able to see what it feels like to run all the different lines — he made some laps on top, the middle and the bottom. He was able to get a lot of experience and we should have a pretty good baseline setup for when we get on track Friday.”
 
Christopher Bell’s No. 4 JBL Tundra:
 
KBM-29: The No. 4 JBL team will unload KBM-29 for Saturday afternoon’s Great Clips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Tundra picked up two wins, both with owner-driver Kyle Busch, in four starts last season and has never finished outside of the top 10.
KBM-29 Performance Profile:
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
9/18/2015
Chicago
Suarez
6
4
150/150
3
running
8/15/2015
Michigan
Busch
10
1
100/100
44
running
8/1/2015
Pocono
Busch
2
1
69/69
53
running
5/15/2015
Charlotte
Tifft
3
8
139/139
0
running
Totals
4 starts, 2 Wins
5.3
3.5
100
Notes of Interest:
 
Christopher Bell 2016:
  • Spent 80 of 100 laps in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway inside the top 15 and was running inside the top five when the field took the white flag, but finished 16th after being involved in an accident on the final lap 
Christopher Bell 2015:
  • Claimed his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio in just his third series start
  • Recorded one win, 111 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes across seven NCWTS starts
  • Collected six victories in 15 starts behind the wheel of KBM’s No. 51 Late Model, including his first marquee win when he led 203 of 250 laps of the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston
  • Made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts, including a fifth-place finish in the East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton
  • On dirt, 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 
Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:
Year
Races
Win
T5
T10
Pole
Laps
Led
AvSt
AvFn
RAF
Miles
LLF
2016
1
0
0
0
0
99
0
8.0
16.0
1
247.5
0
2015
7
1
2
3
0
1018
111
9.3
11.9
6
1361.7
4
Totals
8
1
2
3
0
1117
111
9.1
12.4
7
1609.2
4
 
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 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.
  • 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
  • Scored his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway
  • Named the MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year” for second consecutive season
Christopher Bell 2013
  • Scored 18 feature wins, including six Midget wins on dirt and one Midget win on pavement
  • Crowned United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Champion
  • Named USAC Midget Rookie of the Year and MidgetMadness.com “Top Gun of the Year”
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:
  • Five members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 51 team that collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes
  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected three wins, five poles, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes across 24 starts since originating in 2015
  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 and also gave the organization its third consecutive and fourth career Owner’s Title 
KBM NCWTS Program
  • Has collected a series’ record four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, one Driver’s Championship, 45 Truck Series victories and 24 poles across 275 starts since originating in 2010
  • 45 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 seven 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 2016 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • KBM drivers have collected four top-five and five top-10 finishes across eight starts at Atlanta resulting in an average finish of 8.5.
  • The Georgia track is the only track on the 2016 schedule where the organization has yet to earn a victory.
  • Team owner-driver Kyle Busch came home in the runner-up position in both the 2010 and 2012 events 
The Book on Baxter:
Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter is in his fourth season atop the pit box for KBM. Combined in his first three seasons, Baxter’s drivers posted seven wins, three poles, 1171 laps led, 24 top-five and 40 top-10 finishes across 67 starts. The California native spent the 2015 season calling the shots for KBM’s No. 51 team, which collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Daniel Suarez (12 starts), Matt Tifft (six starts), Kyle Busch (three starts), and Christopher Bell (one start) behind the wheel. In addition to his seven wins at KBM, he boasts one other Truck Series win (Cale Gale, 2012) and one NASCAR XFINITY Series win (David Reutimann, 2007).
Baxter’s Truck Series drivers have posted one top-five finish and an average result of 9.5 across two starts at Atlanta. Under Baxter’s direction, Daniel Suarez finished fourth in last year’s Truck Series race in the Peach State.
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2016 NCWTS Box Score:
 
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
19-Feb
Daytona
Bell
 8
16
99/100
0
running
17/14th
27-Feb
Atlanta
Bell
 
-KBM-