HAMPTON, Ga. – Christopher Bell said it was symptoms of dizziness that sent him to the hospital after his terrifying wreck in the Camping World Truck Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
After his No. 4 Toyota stopped its barrel roll down the frontstretch on the last lap, Bell radioed his team he was fine and was able to walk to an awaiting ambulance. But the dizziness worsened during his trip to the infield care center, so the track medical staff elected to send the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver to the hospital to ensure he hadn’t sustained a concussion.
“I’m just really thankful that everyone before me that have taken hard crashes and NASCAR has done all their research about it,” Bell said Friday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he returned to practicing for Saturday’s truck race. “They just wanted to take me in for precautionary reasons and, yeah, (the dizziness) probably (is) why they took me back there.
“I was a little bit nauseaous but not bad. Went (to the hospital), did concussion tests, but thankfully I never really took a super hard hit, and I didn’t have a concussion.”
Aside from some facial bruising on his forehead, Bell said he felt 100 percent the next morning until “I got out of bed and realized I couldn’t move quite as fast, but after a couple of days that was all gone, and I’m good to go.”
Bell, a former USAC star in sprint cars who scored his breatkthrough victory last summer in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, was looking forward to putting the wreck behind him by racing Saturday.
“I have flipped a couple of times in my open-wheel days, but the biggest thing about the stock car is it might not hurt as bad because you’ve got more material around you,” Bell said. “But the g-forces were way more just because I think the biggest thing was you’re sitting to the left compared (with) an open-wheel car, you’re in the center of the car, so everything is flipping around you, where in the stock car you’re off to the side of the truck. So whenever you start barrel-rolling, it’s trying to throw you out of the car.
“Basically I was just trying to wonder when this thing was going to stop, and whenever you start flipping, it just feels like it goes on forever. I was in the tuck position just gripping the wheel as tight as I could just hoping it would stop and whenever it would stop then no one would hit me and I’d be on all fours. Luckily, my spotter he called over to me that everyone’s gone by, nobody’s hit you and, yeah, just waiting for it to stop.”
The Norman, Okla., native, who is highly thought of by Toyota Racing Development as one of its developmental drivers, said he watched the replay just to see how the wreck began. Bell’s truck flipped nearly nine times.
“In the truck, you really don’t realize how you get moved around and how it starts, but then after that the flip, actually, I was just really thankful it never hit hard on the cage or on the nose,” Bell, 21, said. It was all kind of just barrel rolls and so just really grateful that it never hit that super hard hit.
“Watching Austin Dillon (in the airborne crash last July) at Daytona, you think that it will never happen to me, and then next thing you know, it is happening to you. So watching it was definitely an eye-opener because even after I went through the crash, it still didn’t really sink in, but then whenever I got to watch myself flipping, it’s like, ‘Wow, that did happen to me.’ It puts everything in perspective for sure.”