Christopher Bell Prevails At Pocono For Sixth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Winby Hunter Thomas July 29, 2017
LONG POND, Pa. – As the laps ticked away at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, Christopher Bell prevailed in an epic battle for the lead with John Hunter Nemechek and Ben Rhodes to win the Overton’s 150.
Coming to get the five-to-go, Bell was able to pass John Hunter Nemechek in Turn 3 for the final lead change of the afternoon. Bell fought Nemechek and Rhodes hard up to that point. Once in the lead, Bell set sail to win his fourth race of the year.
“The only real passes that I made down the front straightaway were when they gave it to me so it was pretty tough because I wasn’t good enough with the side draft to be able to stall the guy beside me and clear him (John Hunter Nemechek) by the time I got to turn one,” Bell said. “Then I looked in my mirror when we were side-by-side, we were just bringing all the other guys behind us with us so I just kept trying to figure out where I was going to beat him at and thankfully I showed enough nose to where he didn’t get to the bottom of the tunnel turn and then it screwed up his exit off of two.”
Bell, the driver of the Kyle Busch Motorsports SiriusXM Satellite Radio Toyota Tundra, had never won at the Tricky Triangle prior to Saturday. The win marks the sixth victory of his career.
Rhodes started on the pole for the race, and in the end, he held on for a second-place finish. The Kentucky native has now captured six top-10 finishes so far in 2017.
“It is a great race,” Rhodes said. “This race reminds me a lot of Michigan, Daytona, Talladega – just the big tracks where we’re drafting and the aerodynamics are so important, but you’re playing those games the whole time. Good race for our Safelite Tundra. We were fast, just not fast enough to beat the 4 (Christopher Bell). I was hoping to try to plan it out right once he was running with the 8 (John Hunter Nemechek). That was going to be our race winning move there, but we ran out of straightaway and I got to him as fast as I could running as hard as I could at that point, just ran out of straightaway.”
Ryan Truex finished third, followed by John Hunter Nemechek and Johnny Sauter. Matt Crafton finished sixth, while Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley rounded out the top-10.
Kyle Busch dominated the race, leading the first 32 laps and winning Stages 1 and 2; however, on lap 37, the caution came out after Busch spun in Turn 2. The accident occurred when Haley and Busch made contact entering Turn 2. Busch’s No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra spun through the turn and backed hard into the outside wall. Busch retired from the race and finished 25th.
“I don’t know, just going down the straightaway on the bottom side and gave as much room as I could to the outside guys, I thought we were only three-wide and I just got door-slammed three or four times,” Busch said. “Then it just upset the truck on entry and got loose, backed it in the fence. That’s about it, should have never been back there.”
The only other caution for an accident occurred on lap 41, when Kaz Grala, Noah Gragson and Chase Briscoe made contact in Turn 1.
“The spotter called me three wide super late and I came down the race track, got hit and pounded the fence with the right-front – I hit pretty hard with my Toyota Tundra,” Gragson said.
Bell now leads Sauter by 18 points in the standings.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 12 for the LTI Printing 200. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images