NASCAR Xfinity Series star Christopher Bell visited Wrightsville Elementary School in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, today to help announce the winner of Dover International Speedway’s third annual Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge.
10-year-old Brennan Lehman and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell pose next to Dover International Speedway’s traveling pace car at Wrightsville Elementary School on Wednesday. DIS PHOTO
Approximately 400 students, ranging from kindergarteners to fifth-graders, lined the sidewalk around the school’s flagpole as the student-designed pace car (complete with flashing lights) was driven by Bell into the school’s driveway.
The winning designer, Wrightsville fifth-grader Brennan Lehman, immediately recognized his concept, a big orange cat with a head on the hood, tail on the roof and hood, giant orange paws over each wheel and stripes all over.
“Nobody told me what we were doing outside,” said Lehman, 10, after the car arrived at the school. “I like to draw. I have a cat bed at home so that’s why I drew it. This is really awesome.”
Bell, 23, will be one of the contenders in the “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race at the Monster Mile on Saturday, May 5, part of the upcoming May 4-6 NASCAR tripleheader weekend.
“I love Dover,” Bell said. “It’s so fast and really high-banked. My girlfriend said ‘Miles’ is the one trophy she wants me to get so that’s my goal.”
More than 3,000 fifth-graders from 41 schools across Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania participated in the Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge, which saw students submit colorful and creative design ideas for the Monster Mile’s traveling pace car.
The winning design, selected by a team from the Dover International Speedway marketing and communications departments, was installed on the pace car in March.
Following the outdoor activities, the students assembled in Wrightsville’s gymnasium for a video presentation and a chance to ask Bell questions about his racing career.
Bell covered a wide range of topics, including how old he was when he started racing (“age 6”), his childhood hero (“Jeff Gordon”) his various sponsors and whether he’s ever been in a crash.
“It’s great to be here at an elementary school and see all the reactions when the car drove up,” Bell said.
As part of his prize, Brennan will receive a VIP experience at the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 6, including the opportunity to be on-stage for pre-race activities.
CHRISTOPHER BELL STATISTICS
Birthday: Dec. 16, 1994 (age 23)
Hometown: Norman, Okla.
Car/Team: No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series
2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series: Fourth in standings with 172 points, 27 behind points leader Elliott Sadler
NASCAR Xfinity Series career (through March 17, Fontana): 13 starts; one win, six top-five, eight top-10 finishes.
NASCAR Xfinity Series debut: 2017 (Charlotte)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships: One (2017)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career: 52 starts; seven wins, 26 top-five and 41 top-10 finishes
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut: 2015 (Iowa)
Dover International Speedway starts: Two in Camping World Truck Series with one top-5 finish (2016)