Christopher Bell has had a great 2017 season so far. The No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra driver has four wins, 10 top fives and 14 top 10 finishes, with an average finish of 6.6 and 592 laps led. If Bell carries this kind of consistency into the postseason playoffs, he’ll for sure be a lock into the final four. Bell was among the final four drivers last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he ended up finishing eighth, third in the playoff standings. He believes that this is an important factor in capturing his first championship.
“Well last year I felt like we were able to really capitalize on consistency,” Bell said. “We got a win in the middle part of the year at Gateway last year, but overall we just weren’t able to consistently compete for wins, but we were able to knock down those top-fives, those top-eights and that’s essentially what got us all the way to Homestead.”
However, the 2017 season has been a night and day difference for Bell.
“This year it’s been a little bit different progress,” Bell said. “We’ve been able to compete for wins a lot more often and win a lot more races and hopefully we can continue that and win our way to Homestead.”
A new addition to the 2017 NASCAR season was added back in January, which is called playoff points. Any driver finishing in the top 10 during a stage or winning stage, race, earns a different amount of points. But Bell has a different mindset about how the playoff points will affect how this year’s champion will be decided.
“Well, that’s going back to what I said earlier, I don’t think it changes our mind at all,” Bell said. “We’re going to go out there and try and compete for wins and know that we’ve got those bonus points in our back pocket, but don’t rely on them. The biggest thing is just no mistakes. If you get through with no mistakes, especially where I’m at and where Johnny (Sauter) is at, we’re in pretty good shape through this first round and assuming some of these guys back here don’t win, we should be okay through the second round too. But we want to win races. All of us want to win races and so that’s what we’re going to try and do.”