Pole Sitter Goes a Lap Down Early in Race After Suffering Flat Tire
Date: May 19, 2017
Event: North Carolina Education 200 (Race 5 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile Quad-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/40 laps/54 laps
Start/Finish: 1st/3rd (running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
For the second straight race and third time in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, Christopher Bell started from the pole. Bell maintained the lead on the initial start of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but his lead would be short lived as he suffered a flat left rear tire after leading the first two laps and was forced to hit pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 5.
After the over-the-wall put on fresh left side tires on the No. 4 SiriusXM Tundra, the Oklahoma native returned to the track scored one lap down in the 31st position. Bell would be the recipient of the “Lucky Dog” after the fourth caution of the night on lap 61 and then began his march back to the front of the field. He would make it all the way back to the runner-up position, where he was scored for the final three-lap shootout of the event, but would have to settle for an eventful third-place finish after losing one spot on the final restart of the night.
- Bell started from the pole and led the first two laps before surrendering the lead to KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch when he suffered a flat left-rear tire. After a visit to pit road, Bell would go one lap down to the leaders and finished the first stage in the 26th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- After a four-tire and fuel stop, Bell was scored one lap down in the 26th position when the field went back green on lap 47.
- When a two-truck accident slow the field for the fourth time on lap 61, the No. 4 Tundra was in the “Lucky Dog” spot and returned to the lead lap. Already having to start at the back of the field, crew chief Rudy Fugle summoned Bell to pit road for four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
- By the time the fifth caution flew on lap 69, Bell had already maneuvered his way up to the 11th position. He picked up four spots on the lap-74 restart and when the field took the green-white-checkered flag at the completion of Stage Two was in the fifth position.
Final Stage Recap:
- Bell pitted for four fresh tires and fuel with a trackbar adjustment when pit road opened. The SiriusXM Tundra was scored in the fifth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 87. Five laps later he had worked his way up to the third position when the seventh caution flew.
- On the ensuing restart the 22-year-old made his way to the runner-up position behind his boss. Busch had pulled out to over a two-second lead when a one-truck accident slowed the field and set up a three-lap shootout. Bell lost one spot in the final laps, but brought home his fourth top-five finish across five races this season.
What happened to get you a couple of laps down early on?
“I think we had a flat left rear when we fired off. It was really really loose the first couple laps and then finally went down off of (turn) four there. All these guys on this SiriusXM Tundra did a great job of getting me back out there. I had a second-place truck. Ran third with it. That’s what’s frustrating. Glad my boss won, that’s cool. We’ll be back and stronger than ever at Dover.”
North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Recap:
- KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch collected his second NCWTS win of 2017 and the 48th of his career. Johnny Sauter finished 0.986 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up position. Bell finished third, while Ryan Truex and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured nine cautions for a total of 38 laps. There were 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Bell led once for two laps. He has led at least one lap in all five races this season.
How Bell’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, won the race
- Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished ninth
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Bell leaves the fourth race of the season second in the Truck Series Championship Standings, 15 tallies behind points leader Johnny Sauter. The Oklahoma native has tallied seven playoff points this season.
Bell will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 JBL Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action on Friday, June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Live coverage of the Bar Harbor 200 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.