JBL Tundra Driver Leads Race-High 92 Laps En Route to Second Victory of 2017
Date: June 9, 2017
Event: Winstaronlinegameing.com 400 (Race 7 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth (1.5-mile Quad oval)
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/40 laps/87 laps
Start/Finish: 21st/1st (accident, completed 167 of 167 laps)
Winner: Christopher Bell of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Christopher Bell came from the 21st starting position to win Friday night’s Winstaronlinegaming.com 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth. The 22-year-old driver, who grew up just over two hours away from the 1.5-mile venue, led 92 of the final 98 laps and was inches ahead of Chase Briscoe when the field was frozen after a three-truck accident ended the race under caution during a two-lap shootout to the finish.
- Bell, who fastest during all three practice sessions on Thursday, was relegated to a 21st starting position after his team failed to remove the cowl cover prior to making his lap during the first round of qualifying Friday afternoon limiting the engine to get to full song.
- The JBL Tundra methodically maneuvered forward in the early stages of the race, making its way into the top 10 for the first time on lap 12 and then into the top five on lap 14. On lap 25 he took over the runner-up position, but despite several attempts to work his way around Johnny Sauter for the lead had to settle for a second-place finish in Stage One.
Stage Two Recap:
- After pitting for four tires and fuel, Bell restarted from the eighth position when the field went green on lap 47 to start Stage Two.
- He was able to work his way to the front of the field for the first time on lap 70 and remained on point when the field cross the start-finish line on lap 80 to win Stage Two.
Final Stage Recap:
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to replace just the left side tires under caution allowing the JBL Tundra to easily win the race off pit road.
- The Final Stage went green on lap 86. The JBL Tundra got fresh right-side tires and a full load of fuel under caution on lap 121 and once again easily returned to the track with the lead.
- Bell held serve on several restarts as three more cautions slowed the field during the next 40-lap stretch.
- Shortly after the field went back green on lap 161, he raced side-by-side with Chase Briscoe all the way around the 1.5-mile track, but Briscoe was scored as the leader when a two-truck accident slowed the field again one lap later.
- The field went back green with two laps remaining in the 167-lap event. Once again, the two drivers raced side-by-side for nearly a complete lap. They appeared to make slight contact exiting Turn 4 and raced door-to-door as they took the white flag. Just as they crossed the start-finish line a three-truck accident occurred mid-pack bringing out the red flag and freezing the field.
- Per NASCAR rules with the leader haven taken the white flag, the race was ruled complete and the victor was decided by a photo finish. Bell had narrowly edged Briscoe and declared the winner.
CHRISTOPHER BELL, driver of the No. 4 JBL Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How did you win tonight’s race?
“Man, it’s just all aero. First off, I want to make sure everyone is okay. It’s kind of a sorrow 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 (Timothy Peters) okay. 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 – so it’s a huge win for us, everybody at Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. Man, our JBL Tundra was super, super good.”
What does this say about you and your team coming back from adversity last week?
“Well, it’s huge. We’ve been so fast throughout the entire year and all of our partners have done such a great job bringing really fast cars. Rowdy Manufacturing chassis and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing Engines, they just work so hard to bring really fast Tundras to the race track and I’m the lucky one who gets to drive them.”
What happened during the last restart?
“I don’t know, man. It was kind of like a Talladega, Daytona-esque restart – all of them really were. You couldn’t drive away just ’cause the way the track was with the repave. It has so much grip you can draft really well, so I’m thankful to hear all the drivers are okay there. Trucks aren’t made to flip. They aren’t very comfortable when they flip either. Our JBL Tundra was really, really good. This is a really big win for everyone at Toyota – the Tundras are built right here in Texas, so it’s a hometown win, hometown win for me. Just really thankful.”
Did you think you were past Chase Briscoe when the caution came out?
“No, I had no idea. I didn’t think he (Chase Briscoe) 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.”
Why is winning at Texas Motor Speedway important for you?
“Yeah, this place has got a special place in my heart. Home’s only a couple hours up the road and, like you mentioned, we raced down here a lot with the micro sprints, 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.”
Winstaronlinegaming.com 400 Recap:
- Bell collected his second NCWTS win of 2017 and the fourth of his career. Chase Briscoe finished in the runner-up position. Grant Enfinger finished third, while Ryan Truex and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 10 cautions for a total of 42 laps. There were eight lead changes among five drivers. Bell led twice for a race-high 92 laps.
How Bell’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished seventh
- Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 16th
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Bell leaves the seventh race of the season second in the Truck Series championship standings, 40 tallies behind points leader Johnny Sauter. The Oklahoma native leads Truck Series regulars with two wins and 13 playoff points earned this season.
Bell will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 JBL Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action on Saturday, June 17 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. Live coverage of the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.