Christopher Bell seeks record-tying 4th straight Xfinity win
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) Christopher Bell has been called the next Kyle Larson, a future Joe Gibbs Racing star and a young driver to pay attention to.
That’s all still to come. For now, the Xfinity Series rookie is chasing NASCAR history.
Bell will try to win a record-tying fourth consecutive Xfinity Series race this Saturday when NASCAR hits the road course at Watkins Glen. Bell became the first series driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999 to win three straight with a victory last weekend at Iowa. Now he will try to tie Sam Ard’s record of four consecutive Xfinity Series wins set in 1983.
Bell is a realist, though, and knows the record may be out of reach because Saturday will mark his Watkins Glen debut.
”It’s going to be a tall order to win four in a row going to a road course that I’ve never been before,” Bell said.
Ard won the 1983 and 1984 series championships. He won 22 career races, including 10 victories in 1983. Ard won four straight that season starting at South Boston (Virginia) Speedway in September, then at Martinsville, Virginia, Rougemont, North Carolina and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Ard did not race on road courses.
Bell, who won the Truck Series championship last year driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, was 19th in his Xfinity Series debut on a road course earlier this season at Road America in Wisconsin. A win at Watkins Glen would be a huge surprise for Bell, who desperately wants at least two more victories this season. Five wins would tie Bell with Busch, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle for most in a rookie season.
”I’m not going to be heartbroken if I don’t win four in a row, but I will be heartbroken if I don’t win five races this year,” Bell said. ”That’s the only stat that matters to me: those race wins. I feel like that’s the only thing the teams care about, if you’re a winner or if you’re a loser. Unfortunately in this sport, second place is losing. Just that win column, man, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”
The 23-year-old Oklahoma native is already on the radar as a future Cup Series star, someday in the Joe Gibbs Racing lineup, running regularly against his buddy Larson. Like Larson, Bell came from racing sprint cars and has worked his way up from the grassroots to the big stage.
He is in the Gibbs pipeline, but the Cup lineup is stacked with veterans Busch and Denny Hamlin, as well as ”Young Guns” Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.
”Obviously there’s no hole right now, so that’s the biggest problem,” Bell said. ”And then the second biggest problem is money – where does the money come from? So right now, that’s not in my hands. The only thing that is in my hands is a steering wheel, and hopefully I can continue to win races with that steering wheel.”