Christopher Bell Holds Off Ryan Truex For Playoff Win In New Hampshireby Hunter Thomas September 23, 2017
LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell won his fifth race of the season on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after he held off Ryan Truex in the closing laps of the UNOH 175.
Bell completed the race winning pass on Truex in Turn 3 with just 16 laps to go. The driver of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 SiriusXM Toyota led a race high of 73 laps throughout the afternoon.
“Well he was doing a really good job of watching his mirror.,” Bell said. “I knew it was tough to pass all day, but our truck had been so good we hadn’t been able to do it until we got to him. I kept trying to work down and he kept blocking my air down and down and down. Finally, I got one run where I drove up in one and two and then got a big run into three.”
With the win, Bell will be guaranteed a spot in the second round of the Playoffs. He has now increased his point lead over Johnny Sauter by 40 points.
“It was really really big,” Bell said. “To be able to win the first race and now we can be more aggressive at Vegas and especially Talladega and try and win the race compared to how I did it last year and just kind of had to take my fifth through eighth place finishes and move on. It’s just a credit to Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and Kyle (Busch, owner) and everyone on this group – this team that I’ve got man. They’ve been the team to beat for several years now with multiple different drivers. It’s a different driver every year and the results are the same every year. It’s just a credit to Rudy and how well he can get his trucks driving. I’m the lucky guy to be in the seat.”
Although finishing second was a little disappointing for Truex, he did compete up front. Truex led 28 laps before he was passed by Bell. The runner-up finish marks Truex’s seventh top-five and 11th top-10 of the 2017 season.
“Just that we’ve come so far with this group,” Truex said. “I’m so proud of them. I’m glad a Toyota could win. Chris (Bell) has been the best truck all year. When you’ve got the best truck in the field behind you, it makes it tougher. I did everything I could to hold him off. I was trying to take his lane and block and everything, it just didn’t quite have the grip he had. I want to thank him for racing me clean though. It was a fun race. We wouldn’t have been here without Scott Zipadelli (crew chief) making the calls. I didn’t know how this race was going to shake out and every restart I just gave it my all. Lot of three-wide stuff, probably pissed a few people off, but we’re trying to win races and we’re getting close.”
Rounding out the top-five was Todd Gilliland, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen.
ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes finished sixth and seventh. Austin Cindric finished eighth after overcoming a spin in Turn 4 on lap 128. Johnny Sauter finished ninth and Kaz Grala completed the top-10.
During the 175-lap race, there were five cautions. The only multi-truck accident occurred on lap 65, when Noah Gragson spun in Turn 4, and with nowhere to go, Johnny Sauter ran into him.
The next race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs will be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 30. The race will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Brenda Meserve/Brenda Jane Photography