The Christopher Bell/Keith Kunz Motorsports era is over at the Chili Bowl Nationals, at least in its current run.
After winning Saturday night’s Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Bell confirmed that he will drive a midget racer for Chad Boat Motorsports in January as the 24-year-old Norman, Oklahoman attempts to win his record-tying fourth straight Golden Driller at Tulsa Expo Center Raceway.
“I love Pete (Willoughby) and Keith—they’re like family to me,” Bell said. “For me, I’ve been there, done that. I’ve won so many races for me and Keith I feel like I was set up for failure with them because we’ve been so successful in the past. And I hated that feeling.
“For me, going midget racing is about enjoying it, having fun. I want to go there and me and Chad have become really good friends over the last year or so. Whenever I go to the racetrack with Chad, it’s all about enjoying it, having fun. Results are secondary. With Keith Kunz Motorsports, results are the primary. I feel I was set up for failure whenever I was going to the race track with them. I really enjoy racing with Chad because it’s just me and my buddy heading out to the race track.”
KKM has won the last five Chili Bowl Nationals. Prior to Bell, Rico Abreu was victorious in 2015-2016 on the fifth-mile dirt track. In January, Bell will be attempting to tie Kevin Swindell’s record of four consecutive wins.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Bell said of his three consecutive Chili Bowl victories. “Kevin has four in a row and I have three in a row right now. It’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope I can live up to expectations but I’ve won three Chili Bowls and if I never win a fourth, I’ll be just fine.”
Bell has already won with his buddy Boat at the POWRi National show at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway on June 30.
On Saturday night, Bell won his eighth Xfinity race to transfer to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks. It’s the second year Bell earned the honor. His rival Kyle Larson continues to battle in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff, before the two square off in Cup together in 2020.
But in January, both dirt drivers will branch out on their own equipment battling against the KKM powerhouse where they blossomed in open wheel. Bell passed Larson on the final lap of the 2019 Chili Bowl to win the premier event in midget racing for the third straight time.
“It’s going to be a real unique Chili Bowl, that’s for sure,” Bell said.