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Dirt Kid Bell Wins Texas Truck Race

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, June 10 2017

Oklahoma native Christopher Bell collected the Camping World Truck Series victory in Texas on Friday.

FORT WORTH, Texas _ Christopher Bell, a self-described “dirt track kid” from Oklahoma, joined the list of first-time NASCAR pavement winners Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Bell edged Chase Briscoe after a side-by-side, closing-laps battle to win the 21st annual winstaronlinegaming.com 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Bell, who started 21st in the 28-truck field, won under caution after a violent white-flag wreck involving Timothy Peters, Austin Self and Johnny Sauter on TMS’ repaved and re-profiled 1.5-mile oval.

A 22-year-old native of Norman, Okla., who calls TMS his home track, Bell earned his first win at TMS, second of 2017 and fourth of his 37-race NCWTS career.

First off, I want to make sure everyone is OK,” said Bell, driver of the No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. “It’s kind of a sorrowful victory here in Victory Lane. That was a pretty bad flip and I’ve taken my fair share of flips and it hurts a lot worse whenever it’s in the grass like that one was, so I hope he’s (Peters) OK. That’s the most important part.

“But second of all, we’re in Victory Lane, so it’s just a dream come true to be able to win here in Texas _ my hometown. All of the Tundras are built right here in Texas (San Antonio), so it’s a huge win for us, everybody at Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. Man, our JBL Tundra was super, super good.”

As Bell and Briscoe raced side-by-side for the win after a restart on Lap 166, Self’s No. 22 Don’t Mess With Texas Toyota spun and initiated contact with Peters exiting the dogleg and heading down the track’s frontstretch. Peters’ No. 99 Metabo Chevrolet Silverado spun and caught the infield grass, sending it tumbling and bouncing on the pavement. The No. 99 wound up on its top, with track safety workers needing several minutes to extricate Peters once the wreckage was turned over.

Peters, a former series regular making his first start of the season, was checked at the track’s infield care center and released.

Briscoe, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing, was seeking his first series win and first for Ford this season. It appeared he was going to accomplish both after he took the lead from Bell on a restart following the night’s eighth caution from Laps 155-159. NASCAR’s scoring loop system determined Briscoe was in the lead on Lap 160 of 167 and when the yellow again flew on Lap 161 for a three-truck incident in Turn 4. When the green flew on Lap 166, Bell was able to edge Briscoe for the lead as the wreck unfolded behind them.

“I never saw the white flag,” said Bell, who led a race-high 92 laps. “I was concentrating on making him (Briscoe) slow down as much as I can. I didn’t think he had the lead whenever he got it and then I didn’t think I had the lead whenever I got it, so it’s just so tight, man. Me and Chase have known each other for a long time _ we’re really good friends and met each other racing online whenever we were in our teens and now here we are racing in the Camping World Truck Series together.”

Briscoe didn’t question the scoring outcome involving his friendly rival. “It was close, I enjoyed it,” said Briscoe, driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150. “I definitely wanted to get the win. But I was sleeping on couches two years ago and ever imagined I’d be here.”

Grant Enfinger finished third in the No. 98 Jive Toyota for his first top-10 finish at TMS. Ryan Truex was fourth in the No. 16 H.E.B. Grocery Store Toyota. Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five in the No. 27 Safelite Auto Glass Tundra.

Bell began the night 52 points behind Sauter in the championship standings. The reigning series champion, Sauter finished eighth in the No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevy and saw his lead over Bell trimmed to 40 points. Accompanied by crew chief Ryan Fugle and wearing the winner’s white cowboy hat, Bell exited Texas with a smile after his second win and sixth top-10 of 2017.

“Yeah, this place has got a special place in my heart,” Bell said of TMS. “Home’s only a couple hours up the road and we raced down here a lot with the Micro Sprints at Devil’s Bowl Speedway (in Mesquite) and Kennedale (Raceway Park).  So ran a lot of races down in this area, but obviously never ran at the Texas Motor Speedway and didn’t really feel like it was a possibility to race at the Texas Motor Speedway because I was just a dirt track kid from Oklahoma.

“There’s no pavement racing around there and so to be able to race here was a dream come true. To be able to win here is just…I don’t even have words to describe what it means to me.”

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race 

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Friday, June 9, 2017

  1. (21) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 167.
  2. (12) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 167.
  3. (5) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, 167.
  4. (4) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 167.
  5. (7) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 167.
  6. (10) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 167.
  7. (1) Noah Gragson #, Toyota, 167.
  8. (2) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 167.
  9. (3) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 167.
  10. (6) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, 167.
  11. (16) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 167.
  12. (15) Austin Self, Toyota, Accident, 166.
  13. (14) Timothy Peters, Chevrolet, Accident, 166.
  14. (22) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, 165.
  15. (19) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 163.
  16. (13) Myatt Snider, Toyota, Accident, 160.
  17. (26) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 157.
  18. (11) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, Engine, 153.
  19. (25) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 150.
  20. (23) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, Electrical, 143.
  21. (8) John H. Nemechek, Chevrolet, Accident, 137.
  22. (18) Stewart Friesen #, Chevrolet, Accident, 116.
  23. (17) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, Engine, 111.
  24. (24) Todd Peck, Chevrolet, Vibration, 39.
  25. (9) Austin Cindric #, Ford, Accident, 28.
  26. (28) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Engine, 12.
  27. (20) Kevin Donahue, Chevrolet, Electrical, 9.
  28. (27) Tommy Regan, Chevrolet, Electrical, 5.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  119.412 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 05 Mins, 52 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  10 for 42 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   N. Gragson # 1-6; M. Crafton 7-12; N. Gragson # 13-19; J. Sauter 20-47; C. Briscoe # 48; J. Sauter 49-69; C. Bell 70-159; C. Briscoe # 160-165; C. Bell 166-167.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  C. Bell 2 times for 92 laps; J. Sauter 2 times for 49 laps; N. Gragson # 2 times for 13 laps; C. Briscoe # 2 times for 7 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 6 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,4,88,98,8,29,16,18,33,13

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,29,21,8,33,16,98,18,24,27

 

 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, June 10 2017
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