Date: Oct. 28, 2017
Event: Texas Roadhouse 200 (Race 20 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; 50 laps / 50 laps / 100 laps
Start/Finish: 15th / 8th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Winner: Noah Gragson of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Christopher Bell was leading the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with 77 laps remaining when Matt Crafton attempted to pass him and made contact with the No. 4 JBL Tundra. The contact turned Bell around and brought out the caution. After bringing his Toyota to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel, the Oklahoma native restarted from the 22ndspot with 71 laps remaining.
Bell was able to maneuver his way back inside the top 10 and crossed the stripe with an eighth-place finish. The 22-year-old maintained his spot atop the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. With two races remaining in the Round of 6, he sits three points ahead of Johnny Sauter and 34 points ahead of the cutoff line for advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
Stage One Recap:
- Bell started from the 15th position and advanced up to the 11th spot by the time the first caution of the race occurred on lap 39. He reported to crew chief Rudy Fugle that his JBL Tundra was “chattering both the front and rear tires” before hitting pit road when it opened.
- The over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and made a trackbar adjustment to try and help the handling of Bell’s Toyota. He was scored in the 14th position for the ensuing restart with eight laps remaining in the stage and ended up finishing 16th.
Stage Two Recap:
- Fugle kept his driver on the track allowing him to start Stage Two from the 10th position when a handful of competitors inside the top 10 pitted.
- He advanced to the eighth position on the first lap of Stage Two and with 10 laps remaining worked his way into the top five. The No. 4 Tundra would cross the stripe in the fourth position at the completion of the stage on lap 100.
Final Stage Recap:
- When pit road opened, Bell brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew who replaced the right-side tires and filled it with fuel. The two-tire strategy allowed him to win the race of pit road and lead the field to the green for the start of the Final Stage on lap 111.
- Bell was still leading on lap 122 when Matt Crafton attempted to make a move to the inside of him for the lead. Crafton caromed off the curb up into the right-rear side of Bell’s JBL Tundra and turned him around.
- After gathering his Toyota, Bell hit pit road for four fresh tires and minor damage repair.
- He returned to the track scored in the 22nd position for the lap-129 restart. By the time the next caution occurred on lap 137, he had advanced up to the 13th position.
- When the field went back green on lap 143, the JBL Tundra made a strong surge on the outside lane and two laps later Bell had advanced up to the ninth position. He was able to gain one more position in the closing laps and finished eighth. It was his series-leading 18th top-10 finish of the year.
CHRISTOPHER BELL, driver of the No. 4 JBL Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Tell us about your day and coming back from the mid-race spin.
“I don’t know, our JBL Tundra was really, really strong throughout the second stage. I don’t know, other than that second stage we struggled to get going, but I’m not really sure what happened getting into (turn) three there. I thought I left Matt (Crafton) enough room, but overall it was not the day we wanted, but we were able to salvage a good finish out of it and got some stage points in the second stage. We’ll move on to Texas (Motor Speedway) and hopefully be a lot better than we were today.”
Texas Roadhouse 200 Recap:
- KBM driver Noah Gragson collected the first victory of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Matt Crafton finished in the runner-up position, 1.486 seconds behind Gragson. Johnny Sauter finished third and KBM drivers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for a total of 45 laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers. Bell led once for 16 laps and continues to lead the Truck Series with 755 laps led on the season.
How Bell’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished first
- Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fourth
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 46 Toyota, finished fifth
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Bell leads the NCWTS championship standings by three points over reigning champion Johnny Sauter. With two races remaining in the Round of 6, he is 34 points ahead of the cutoff for making it to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
Bell will be behind the wheel of the No. 4 JBL Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action Nov. 3 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage of the JAG Metals 350 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.