Saturday’s qualifying effort ahead of the Ambetter Health 400 this Sunday did not seem to go to plan for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell. The 28-year-old driver of the #20 Toyota Camry TRD was seen spinning out in the second session of yesterday’s qualifying session, narrowly avoiding contact with the walls of the track.
The violent spin, however, did bring up some repairs and adjustments the team had to make to the Norman, Oklahoma native’s car during the session. This meant Christopher Bell will be starting at the back of the pack during Sunday’s 260-lap-long race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
According to the NASCAR rulebook, the 2023 season dictates that drivers should follow a set of qualifying procedures, one of which restricts the teams’ from making any adjustments and/or repairs to the cars. Under special conditions, the Series Managing Director is the sole person that can grant authorization to the teams to make any adjustments without incurring further penalties/ setbacks.
Despite the initial setbacks for the #20 crew at Joe Gibbs Racing, Christopher Bell remains a solid contender for Sunday as he ranked inside the top 5 average speed by segment in both Atlanta races last season and ranked 12th in the Average Running Position at Daytona earlier this year.
Christopher Bell to return to NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway this season
North Wilkesboro Speedway has made its comeback onto the NASCAR calendar this season, with the historic track playing host to this year’s All-Star races across all three nationwide series of the sport. Due to go live in the month of May, the All-Star weekend will also see Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell take on the Cup Series All-Star race, as well as compete in the same in the Truck Series.
Hattori Racing Enterprises will be hosting Bell behind the wheel of the #61 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro on Saturday, as the 28-year-old tries to maximize his track time over the weekend. Bell was crowned the 2017 NASCAR Truck Series champion and should feel at home behind the wheel of one of the junior category’s cars.
Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron is also set to appear in the All-Star race on Saturday in May. Bell and Byron went way back as teammates for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2017, and will be revisiting their Truck Series careers once again this year.