The title race is another chance for more memories for Chase Elliott

Avondale, Arizona – video game action I sent Ross Chastain to the Cup Championship race, but it was a video game that helped get you started Christopher Bell On the way to Sunday’s title event at Phoenix Raceway.

5-year-old Bell was fond of racing, but after his parents bought and took care of a mini-racing car, Bell’s first race almost never happened.

When it was time to get in the car for the first time, he didn’t want to.

“I remember being very nervous about the situation and didn’t want to drive,” Bell said.

But his mother made a deal with him.

“I’ll buy you a Nintendo game if you get it once,” said Cathy Bell.

Bill got into the car right away.

“As soon as I walked in, I fell in love with it,” he said, recalling the memory most vividly from a Nintendo game he had.

After he completed his first training, he got out of the car and ran to his mother.

Did you see me hit the wall?

“yes.”

“That was great!”

Bell never again doubted the car ride.

When Bill jumped out of his car after his win last weekend in Martinsville, his first words were “Mom and Dad did it!”

They’ll be here in Phoenix to see if their son can win the Cup Championship on his debut in the title race (3 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock).

When Bale mentioned his parents after the Martinsville race, so was the advice they gave during qualifying, which saw him drop twice so far in the standings he had to win the last race of the Tour to stay alive. He did it in Charlotte Ruffal and then in Martinsville To earn his place in Phoenix.

But the trials and tribulations of the playoffs bounced back on Bell.

“The most important thing that shocked me at that moment (in Martinsville) was that they kept saying I would,” Bell said of his parents. You will make Phoenix. You are going to the final. …so when I won the race, that was the only thing I could think of, my dad and mom were right and we did it, we got to Final 4. “

Bell often keeps his emotions in check, so outbursts like this are rare, but Martinsville was special.

While returning home after the race last Sunday night, Bill’s wife Morgan was shaken by a sudden shout from her husband.

“He’s in the back seat going through all his text messages and scrolling through this phone and coming out of nowhere screaming at the top of his lungs,” Morgan told NBC Sports.

Bell said it was “just adrenaline” that triggered the reaction.

“It was a big moment,” Bell told NBC Sports. “Winning in Martinsville, and getting to where I am today is probably one of the biggest moments of my life.” “That just goes back to the lower lows in Martinsville and…straight back to the top.”

But Bell’s performance in pressured situations is characteristic of the 27-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma.

“He’s always been very, very good under so much pressure,” Bell’s father, David, told NBC Sports.

David Bell saw it when he coached his son in youth basketball and played their team in the Finals. His father remembers that while the team lost, Bell’s performance stood out. Carried through the dirt racing experience that Bill owns. He won the Belleville Nationals midget in 2013 and won the Chili Bowl Nationals in 2017, 18 and 19.

he is too Won the Camping World Truck Series title in 2017 She raced the Xfinity Series Championship in 2018 and ’19.

He faced more pressure on Friday in Phoenix when the workouts weren’t going well – he was 20th on the pacing chart. It was as if the team had the rest of the field where it wanted.

That’s right, Crew Chief Adam Stevens said with a smile. “We’re just setting a trap.”

Bell starts the 17th race on Sunday. With the way this qualifier has gone for him, it is no surprise that he will face challenges in the end.

After the first round he saw him as the only driver to score in the top five in each of these three races, things were even more difficult.

He blew up a tire on two different occasions in Texas, the second such incident that caused him to hit a wall. At Talladega, he made a turn and was penalized for speeding on a pit road, putting him in a must-have situation in the Charlotte Ruffal. With the help of a four-frame recall by Stevens late in the race, Bale was able to win to move on to round three.

Bale described that defining moment in his season to date.

“I think that tells us really a lot about our team because it was so easy to give up going to the Roval, which we knew wouldn’t be a great race for us,” Bell said, noting Toyota’s struggles on road courses this season. “As it turns out, it wasn’t a great race. We were back in the top 10. The yellow flag came out, and we were able to do what we needed to get the win.”

Those good feelings did not last.

The problems returned the following week in Texas in the opening race of the quarter-finals. When Bubba Wallace took revenge and destroyed Kyle Larson, Bell got hit by Larson’s car and finished the race. A week later, Bell finished 11th at Homestead. Martinsville entered 33 points from the final move place. Once again, a four-tire pit call by Stevens helped Bell win to advance to Phoenix.

“I’m well aware I have the right guy in the pit box, for sure,” Bell said.

This is just as Bill envisioned him as a child.

“He never wavered,” Kathy Bell said of her son’s desire to race. “That was the only thing he wanted to do, a professional race car driver. “You need Plan B, son,” his father said, but he didn’t get Plan B.

Kathy admits she didn’t want her son to race but one day that changed.

“I was just praying for him,” Cathy said. “We had two older girls and I wanted this little guy forever. So I finally got my little guy on and he wants to ride in a race car. I really didn’t want him to do that. I was praying for that. … I heard clear as a bell that this was my destiny for him.” So I gave up and Dave said let’s do it. So we let him start racing.”