Christopher Bell Overcomes A Spin And Avoids An Accident To Win At Kentuckyby Hunter Thomas July 7, 2017
SPARTA, Ky. – Christopher Bell rebounded from a spin and an accident to win the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night.
In the final laps of Thursday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the Bluegrass State, Bell, driver of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota Toyota held off Brandon Jones en route to his third victory of the 2017 season and his first at Kentucky Speedway.
“This is pretty special man,” Bell said. “This is an extremely tough race for me. We had our ups and downs there and through practice yesterday, just kind of – practice didn’t really go smooth. We had such a good Toyota Tundra that I knew, I knew if the right circumstances came up we could do it and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did a great job on top of the pit box just getting me track position after I made a mistake there and spun out. Just really glad to be here.”
Bell started second and led a race high of 54 laps, but the victory didn’t come easy for the 22-year-old. On lap 28 during Stage 1, he spun in Turn 3, and in Stage 2, Bell was involved in the initial contact that began a five-truck accident on lap 43, also in Turn 3.
Jones, driver of the No. 99 CHIGO – Beat The Heat Chevrolet finished second, earning his best finish of the season in the series. He entered the weekend coming off a third-place finish at Iowa Speedway.
Justin Haley finished third, followed by Austin Cindric. Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five after overcoming adversity on lap 79.
“We led some laps there during the second stage and was in a really good position there running seventh after that start of the third stage,” Gragson said. “I just made a rookie mistake down there running the apron. Not running this track before, I didn’t know there was a big bump there and I had a little bit of wheel into it down there in the front stretch and spun out. Just a mistake by me and it really cost us the race. I really think this Switch Toyota Tundra was capable of sitting in Victory Lane.
Completing the top-10 was Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
Throughout the 150-lap race, there were 10 lead changes among eight drivers. There were also eight cautions.
The most notable caution occurred at the beginning of Stage 2, when Stage 1 winner, Ben Rhodes spun while battling Bell. Unfortunately for Rhodes, he spun up the track and collected his ThorSport Racing teammate, Grant Enfinger.
Following the disappointing 27th-place finish, Rhodes said, “I was underneath the 4 trying to make a move. Then I saw him start to come down on me so I started backing out and as we were going down to the groove we just all ran out of room. I was trying to give everybody as much room as I could. Just unfortunate. I know all the restarts everybody was going as hard as they can. They were four-wide in front of me, so I was trying to do what I could with what I had.”
Enfinger who finished 28th said, “They just crashed in front of us there. I think it was everybody just aggressive on restarts, but you’ve got to be. It’s so hard to pass. It’s just crazy on these restarts. It’s what makes the Camping World Truck Series so exciting, but you’ve got to go for it on those restarts unfortunately. (David) Pepper (spotter) called it early for me. I just couldn’t get whoaed down enough.”
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, Sauter leads Bell by 28 points.
The series will compete on dirt at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, July 19. Live coverage of the unique race will broadcast on FOX Business and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images