Christopher Bell’s second-place finish in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway wrapped up the 2017 season championship.
Bell finished second behind winner Chase Briscoe and was able to outdistance fellow Championship 4 contenders Johnny Sauter (third-place finish), Austin Cindric (fifth) and Matt Crafton (sixth) to take the crown.
“A dream come true just doesn’t even describe it,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “For me to be at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) as long as I have and to go out a champion there is something I’m really proud of and really proud that I’ve got all of our partners at JBL here to victory lane at Homestead for the championship stage.
“They’ve been with me since day one of my Truck career and really glad we’ve got a lot of guests here with us. Between JBL, Toyota, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), SiriusXM, DC Solar, everyone at KBM, man – these trucks are so good and they pay so much attention to all the detail into that goes into these things and that’s what makes these Tundras so fast. It’s just – speechless.”
At 22 years, 11 months, 1 day, Bell is the fourth-youngest champion in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.
Scoring a series-high five wins and winning the regular season championship, Bell dominated the 2017 season to earn a second-consecutive spot in the Championship 4. Bell punched his ticket to the playoffs early, winning the second race of the season at Atlanta. From there he continued his winning ways with regular season victories at Texas, Kentucky and Pocono. Bell’s momentum continued in the playoffs, where he captured a win in the playoff opener at New Hampshire.
Bell finished this season with five wins, and series highs in both top fives (15) and top 10s (21).
Bell described the challenge of Friday night’s racing that led to his title.
“Well, it was really, really intense to have to deal with those guys on the restart and at the beginning of the race I was so good and the second stage I was a little bit worse, but still was really good and I kept telling Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) to tighten me up to make sure that I didn’t make a mistake,” he said.
“This place is really tough and really easy to make a mistake, so I just wanted to make sure that I was on the tight side rather than the loose side and it hurt our fire off speed, but I had thru security to maintain the long-run speed.”
“It’s been the career year for my life so far, so got another Chili Bowl to win here in a couple months?
A former dirt standout, Bell will run full-time with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018.
“It’s been the career year for my life so far, so got another Chili Bowl to win here in a couple months?,” Bell said.