Christopher Bell and the No. 4 JBL Tundra team head to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., for the final race before the start of the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. Bell is already locked into the inaugural elimination-based playoff format via a win earlier this year at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., but the Oklahoma native will be looking to have a strong run on Friday night and finish out the regular season on a high note.
In order to stay sharp behind the wheel with the Truck Series Chase fast approaching, Bell kept busy during the Truck Series' hiatus in the schedule last weekend by competing for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series event at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. The talented youngster led 88 of 200 laps and was able to pick up his second career ARCA Racing Series victory and complete the season sweep at the high-banked oval.
With this weekend being Bell's first time competing at Chicagoland Speedway, he will be able to get extra track time at the 1.5-mile oval by returning to the seat of the No. 15 JBL Tundra for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Series race on Thursday night. Including his two wins at Salem, the 21-year-old has finished inside the top 10 in all four of his ARCA starts this season.
In Truck Series action, Bell enters Friday night's race having posted one win, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes across 15 starts this season. He has finished inside the top 10 in seven of the last eight events, including top-five finishes in half of those. In five races at mile-and-a-half tracks this season the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has led 47 laps while recording two top-five and three top-10 finishes. While he currently sits seventh in the Truck Series championship standings, he ranks inside the top five in several key statistical categories, including: quality passes (first), driver rating (third), fastest laps run (third), laps in top 15 (third), laps led (fourth), average running position (fourth) and green flag speed (fourth).
The statistics show that Bell has what it takes to make it to the final four and compete to win the inaugural Truck Series Chase, but the talented wheelman knows that he must eliminate some of the rookie mistakes that have plagued him throughout the season if he's going to be the last driver standing at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in November. Three of the seven Chase races will take place at mile-and-a-half tracks, so he is focused on having a strong run at Chicagoland on Friday night and being able to carry that momentum into the start of the playoffs next weekend.