Thunder Road officials have announced that Norman, OK’s Christopher Bell will compete in the 2019 VP Racing Fuels Vermont Governor’s Cup on Thursday, July 18. The former NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Champion and current Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver will make his first visit to the Barre high banks for the 40th running of the historic event.
The 24-year-old Bell is entering his second full season in the Xfinity Series competing for Joe Gibbs Racing. In 2018, Bell led the series with seven wins and finished fourth in the playoff standings. He previously won the 2017 Truck Series championship driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. All told, Bell already has 15 victories in NASCAR’s top-3 series.
Bell is also an accomplished dirt racer. He has won the last three Chili Bowl Nationals, considered to be the “Super Bowl” of midget racing, including a victory in this year’s edition with a last-lap pass of Kyle Larson. In addition, he was the 2015 Eldora Mudsummer Classic winner in the Truck Series. Bell began his career in dirt micro-sprints and was the 2013 USAC National Midget Series Champion before transition to asphalt Late Model racing and eventually signing with TRD. He also took his talents beyond North America this winter by winning a Sprint Car event at Auckland, New Zealand’s Western Springs Speedway.
“When I was in the Late Model racing scene, I remember (my friend) Seth telling me about this race,” Bell said. “Thunder Road has always been a place I wanted to race at! I’m super excited to race in front of a new fan base, too. I haven’t spent any time in the area yet, and it’s always fun to check new race tracks and areas off the bucket list.”
He joins a long list of NASCAR racers and champions who have attempted to bring the Vermont Governor’s Cup trophy home. Previous challengers have included three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, 10-time Cup Series winner Clint Bowyer, short-track racing legend Ken Schrader, and 9-time Xfinity Series winner Kenny Wallace.
Bell’s Truck Series team owner Kyle Busch, the 2015 Cup Series Champion, was the most recent NASCAR star to take on the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” in 2017. None have yet been able to wrest the win away from the local standouts.
The 40th VP Racing Fuels Vermont Governor’s Cup will be part of the 60th season of racing at Thunder Road. It joins many other special events on the 2019 calendar, including the 57th Vermont Milk Bowl, two visits each for the ACT Late Model Tour and PASS North Super Late Models, and the inaugural Bullring Bash “Rumble in the Quarry 125” open Modified event.