If Christopher Bell seemed a tad bit disappointed after the 32nd-running of the Chili Bowl Nationals, that’s understandable.
Yes, Bell was thrilled with the win. But both he and Kyle Larson were hoping for a rematch after the two dueled it out in the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway on Nov. 22. Larson started from the pole on Turnkey Night and the pair exchanged the point three times before Bell won the 98-lap feature by 0.193-seconds at the line.
For Saturday’s A-main feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway, Larson and Bell lined up first and second—again. Larson had won his preliminary feature on Tuesday. Bell followed with the Thursday win. In the #BCForever Pole Shuffle, Larson surprised Bell by going underneath him on the berm in the three-lap shootout. The move knocked Bell out of the groove, Bell spun while trying to retake the top spot on the outside, and Larson held on for the pole.
Prior to the A-Main, Bell laid down the gauntlet.
“All of us in the field want to put on a show for the fans,” Larson said. “I think if you look at my driving style, I’m somebody that likes to put on a show for the fans.
“Christopher and I, right before we went out for the feature, he’s like, ‘Turkey Night Version 2?,’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah,’ because at Turkey Night we battled really hard and he came out on top. A lot of fans said it was like the best race of the year. With us lined up on the front row, and getting ready to catch traffic, it was getting ready to be a really good race. Then I ultimately blew up. You never really know how the race would have turned out. But for sure, it would have been exciting if I was out there.”
The respect and admiration has grown between the two drivers, whose careers both started on dirt but have quickly advanced through the NASCAR ranks. Almost simultaneously following the race, the drivers’ love fest continued on Twitter.
“It was crazy, I sent that tweet out and I refreshed mine and his (tweet) was right there,” Larson said. “He texted me and said, ‘Dude, I swear I didn’t read your tweet before I posted mine.’
“That was funny. We both have a lot of respect for each other. We race hard with each other but also realize, I think, I’m not bragging about myself, but how equally talented we are as drivers. I think he definitely pushes me to be a better driver in that stuff. And I as well push him to be better. It’s a lot of fun to race him and get to battle. We’re always up front racing hard with each other, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Competiting against eachother in NASCAR
This year, NASCAR fans will have the opportunity to see Larson and Bell battle in the Xfinity Series. Bell, who won the 2017 Camping World Truck Series title, will pilot the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car in 2018. Larson, who won three NXS races in 11 starts, will run a limited schedule with some support from DC Solar.
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t make the final four (champion contenders) at Homestead the next two years and probably win a championship or two in the next two years and then be in Cup at some point in the near future,” Larson said of his friend and rival.
“Yes, NASCAR fans are about to be spoiled.”
Source : MotorSport