Date: June 17, 2017
Event: Drivin’ for Linemen 200 (Race 8 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile Quad oval)
Format: Three Stages; 35 laps/35 laps/90 laps
Start/Finish: 3rd/6th (running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Winner: John Hunter Nemechek of NEMCO Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Christopher Bell had just made his way into the runner-up position and was closing in on race leader Matt Crafton when a stalled truck on pit road brought out the caution with 12 laps remaining in Saturday night’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. The field went back green with nine laps remaining and Bell, Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek battled for the lead for the next three laps, with Nemechek emerging out front.
Bell settled into the second position with five laps remaining and tried to chase down Nemechek. He took the white flag three truck lengths behind the leader, but as he went through Turns 1 and 2 Chase Briscoe dove to his inside and made contact with the left rear of the JBL Tundra. The contact caused Bell’s left-rear tire to go flat and relegated him to a sixth-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- Bell qualified third, but battled a tight-handling in the early stages of the 160-lap event and fell back to the fifth spot.
- With six laps remaining he was able to work his way around teammate Todd Gilliland into the fourth spot, where he remained at the completion of Stage One.
Stage Two Recap:
- After pitting for four tires and fuel, Bell restarted from the seventh position when the field went green on lap 38 to start Stage Two.
- He was able to work his way around Johnny Sauter on the final lap to earn a fifth-place finish in 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 78 and Bell would remain out front until lap 81. After getting passed by Briscoe, he remained in the runner-up position until lap 125.
- With 30 laps remaining Bell was summoned to pit road for the final time of the night. After getting fresh right-side tires and a full tank of fuel Bell returned to the track scored in the 11th position.
- Once pit stops cycled through, the JBL Tundra was scored in the third position four seconds behind the leader with 22 laps remaining.
- He worked his way into the runner-up spot with 13 laps remaining and had closed to within just over a second of Crafton when the third caution of the night slowed the field.
- Bell fell back to third momentarily on the final restart, but made his way back into the runner-up spot. He appeared destined to finish second until Briscoe over drove the corner on the final lap and made contact with the JBL Tundra. With a flat left-rear tire, Bell limped to the finish in the sixth spot
CHRISTOPHER BELL, driver of the No. 4 JBL Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How was your Tundra in tonight’s race?
“We had a really, really good truck there on the long run after we made our pit stop. The other guys didn’t take tires and we did so that definitely helped us there and I felt like we were going to have it. We had a really strong JBL Tundra there at the end, but I didn’t get it done on the restart and I feel bad for my guys because they worked really hard. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did an excellent job calling the race. We’ve just got to work a little bit harder – I’ve got to get a little bit better on my restarts and we’ll go to Iowa and get them.”
What happened on the last lap racing against Chase Briscoe?
“Yeah, I mean he (Chase Briscoe) was there and I tried to pinch him. It’s last lap racing and unfortunately it cut our left rear (tire) there where I couldn’t get back around and finish third. But, we’ve got two wins, we’re going to get a lot more and Chase (Briscoe) will win some too. We’re going to be racing hard for the championship.”