Bell’s Pursuit Of Chili Bowl History Set To Begin

Bell's Pursuit Of History
Christopher Bell has won the last three Chili Bowl Nationals. (TeeJay Crawford photo)

TULSA, Okla. – Christopher Bell’s pursuit of history at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals begins Thursday night, when he’ll take to the track for John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night at Tulsa Expo Raceway.

Bell is chasing his fourth-straight Chili Bowl victory, which would tie him for the most consecutive wins in event history with driver-turned-owner Kevin Swindell if he can seal the deal on Saturday night.

It’s something that Bell has thought about, but not a scenario he’s really focused on coming into the River Spirit Expo Center this week.

“Just winning four Golden Drillers is something that I never really thought was a possibility,” Bell admitted. “Now, going for four in a row is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I don’t want to drop the ball, by any means, but the way I look at it is that if I never win another one in my lifetime, I’ll still have three that I did win to look back on and be proud of.

“I’m very content with where I’m at, and for me this is just about enjoying the week and trying to capitalize on the shot that I have to work with.”

Bell has made the process of defeating his Chili Bowl foes look painless over the past three years, driving to victory in nearly every fashion possible during that timeframe, including a last-lap pass of friend and rival Kyle Larson one year ago.

However, to put himself in position to win another Golden Driller this time around, Bell will have to do so with Boat’s guidance and expertise – as opposed to the knowhow of Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby.

He also knows it’ll take a little luck, something that has been in high demand for Bell recently as well.

“I’ll be honest, the last two or three years, the pill draw has worked out in my favor and the heat races have gone really smooth for me,” Bell noted. “At some point the law of averages says that’s going to flip for me, but I hope it’s not this week. It does take a lot of luck and the right breaks in this building, though, for sure. There’s a lot that can go wrong and a lot of variables that have to fall just right.”

Should he succeed in his quest for victory, Bell would extend the recent home-state legacy of success at the Chili Bowl as well, considering he’s from nearby Norman, Okla., just two hours southwest of Tulsa.

The Sooner State banner is one that Bell is both proud to carry, as well as appreciative of every time he gets to come home, which isn’t often now that he’s risen to the top level of NASCAR and will drive full time in the Cup Series this season for Leavine Family Racing.

“For me, I probably have a bit of a different view of the week than most, because this is really the one week that I get to come home,” Bell said. “The NASCAR schedule doesn’t allow me to get to Oklahoma very much, so I don’t really get to race at all in Oklahoma outside of this event. Coming here, for me, is always a lot of fun because I get to see family and friends that come up from Norman, my hometown, and on top of that it’s really the best racing you’ll see all year long.

“Not only does the Chili Bowl have a great on-track product with the racing itself, but you have all your friends here too, so it makes it a fun week to hang out and enjoy it,” Bell added. “It’s really the best of both worlds and I’m excited to get down to business and chase that fourth Driller this weekend.”

How to Watch the Chili Bowl:

Mobil 1 Road To The Golden Driller – Story Index Page
News, analysis, interviews, behind-the-scenes and more – updated throughout each day.

LIVE PPV Streaming Broadcast –
Monday – Saturday coverage

LIVE Television Broadcast –
Saturday, Jan. 18th at 8:30pm EST

LIVE Timing and Scoring – MyRacePass

Toyota Racing Development has won five consecutive Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features. Thanks to Mobil 1, SPEED SPORT is providing exclusive coverage of the multi-car organization, led by three-time winner and current champ Christopher Bell and two-time Chili Bowl winner Rico Abreu, and other Toyota-equipped organizations and drivers as they prepare for and compete in the Chili Bowl. The Mobil 1 Road To The Driller program is in addition to SPEED SPORT and Sprint Car & Midget’s traditional “Live from the Chili Bowl presented by MyRacePass” coverage that surrounds the event.