So what can one take away from the triumph of Christopher Bell at the Chili Bowl Nationals? Well, for one thing, he can win on dirt. Second, and more importantly, Christopher Bell has proven he knows how to win.
In what turned out to be a battle at the front between the 2017 Truck Series champion and dirt track extraordinaire Kyle Larson, Bell prevailed; not by hard charging, by with calm and cool. What was it that Dale Earnhardt said about refusing to lose?
Even after Larson passed Bell, the winner of five truck races last season, kept his calm. While fighting through traffic, Christopher Bell kept tabs on Larson, aware of the gap, kept himself from the temptation to over drive in his pursuit of the front-runner.
With 13 laps remaining, Larson’s pursuit of victory went up in smoke. His car gave up the ghost, opening the door for Christopher Bell. While he would have preferred a duel to the finish, the 23-year old ran his race to a win with endurance. While it may lack a Hollywood flare, there’s more to winning races than running flat out.
Strategy can come into play. It comes down to picking your moment, a la David Pearson. The Silver Fox was the original Mr. “Where did he come from?”
It will be interesting to see where the road leads for the young champion as looks to make his mark in the Xfinity Series this season. Racing midgets is apples to oranges compared to racing in NASCAR. By the same token, there’s an art to winning, and Christopher Bell has been showing growth. When it comes to young talents in the sport, don’t sleep on this guy. You know he has the competition’s attention. Now he has ours. His approach to winning at the Chili Bowl shows maturity.