Christopher Bell may have rolled across the finish line first in the 48th annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fl., but his victory only lasted less than 30 minutes, after an post-race technical inspection at Five Flags Speedway found his Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota exceeded the limit on the left or driver’s side. The limit is 58%. However. Bell’s car weighed in at 58.3%. As a result, Chase Elliot was declared the winner by default. This was the 4th time since 2006 that the car finishing 1st at the Snowball Derby has been disqualified for a tech violation.
The race was Chase Elliott’s 2nd Snowball Derby win, following his victory there in 2011. Zane Smith was moved up to 2nd, followed by Ty Majewski, Dalton Sargeant and Bubba Pollard. Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon in the Hendrick Motorsport No. 24 Chevrolet for 2016
In the meantime, Bell’s crew chief Chris Gabehart told Speed51.com that the “build up on the left side tires from the victory lap possibly contributed to the weight issue.” However, a statement by Ricky Brooks, chief technical inspector at Five Flags Speedway, said that when he weighed both Elliot’s and Smith’s cars they were “the same amount.” Brooks has worked at the track since 2004. “Their weight gain wasn’t anywhere near what Bell’s was,” he noted.
Bell, who turns 21 on December 16, began racing in 2011, winning the 66 Mike Phillips Memorial micro-sprint car race. In 2012, he finished 2nd in the Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway, a race sanctioned by the Series. Then replaced Kyle Larson at Keith Kunz Motorsports in USAC racing the following year, before moving on to join CH Motorsports’ sprint car racing program at the end of October. Christopher concluded 2013 as the USAC National Midget Champion.
Bell began racing asphalt Super Late Models for Kyle Busch Motorsports last year, competing in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. He won his 1st career WoO Sprint Car Series race at Jacksonville Speedway on May 7t, 2014. As a Super Late Model driver, he has also won races at New Smyrna Speedway, South Alabama Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park. During the year, he won 24 Quarter Midget races and 26 total dirt races, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.
In 2015, Bell made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West starts at Irwindale Speedway and Iowa Speedway, driving the No. 54 for Bill McAnally Racing; he finished 15th and second, respectively. In June, Bell returned to Iowa to make his Camping World Truck Series debut for KBM in the American Ethanol 200. Bell finished second to KBM teammate Erik Jones in the race’s practice session, and finished 5th in the race.. He later replaced Justin Boston behind the wheel of the No. 54 car at Kentucky Speedway, and took his 1st career Truck race in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway after holding off Bobby Pierce on the green–white checker finish.. He is now slated to compete full-time for KBM in the 2016 Truck Series.