Christopher Bell takes Pocono Truck win; Kyle Busch crashes out
Christopher Bell sailed off to his first Pocono Raceway win in the Camping World Truck Series on Saturday.
Bell led the last seven laps and held off Ben Rhodes by 1.964-seconds at the finish.
“Thank you guys, you’re the man, Rudy (Fugle, crew chief),” Bell said after his fourth victory of 2017 and his fifth career truck win.
Ryan Truex finished third followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley.
Johnny Sauter led the field to green on Lap 36 for the final segment in the Overton’s 150 followed by Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Justin Haley, Cody Coughlin, Austin Hill, Christopher Bell, John Nemechek, Kyle Busch and Ryan Truex. Briscoe, Cindric, Krala, Rhodes and Friesen rounded out the top 15. Nemechek, who started eighth, shot up the outside for second on the restart.
Before completing the first lap, Justin Haley came down on Busch in the tunnel turn and sent the No. 51 Toyota for a spin for the third caution. Sauter retained the lead followed by Nemechek, Enfinger, Crafton, Bell, Hill, Haley, Truex, Rhodes and Briscoe rounded out the top 10.
The race restarted on Lap 40 but contact between Briscoe and Grala punted Noah Gragson into the Turn 1 wall and triggered Caution 4. Gragson’s day was over. Grala and Briscoe brought their trucks to pit road for repairs.
Sauter held the point for the Lap 45 restart followed Nemechek, Crafton, Enfinger, Bell, Rhodes, Hill, Truex, Cindric and Friesen. Briscoe and Grala lined up 20th and 22nd, respectively. With a push from Crafton, Nemechek shot out to the lead with 15 to go. Sauter remained second followed by Bell, Enfinger, Rhodes, Truex, Hill, Cindric and Friesen.
With 13 laps remaining, Nemechek’s advantage was .778-seconds over Sauter. Bell passed Sauter for second on Lap 49. Rhodes, Truex, Crafton, Enfinger, Cindric, Hill and Coughlin rounded out the top 10.
Bell closed in to .426-seconds with 10 laps to go. He completed the pass on Nemechek at the start-finish line but the No. 8 truck pulled ahead. Rhodes moved up on the leaders on Lap 52. Bell caught Nemechek on the straightaways, but the No. 8 was stronger through the corners. Bell finally took the lead with six laps to go.
“The only really passes that I made down the front straightaway was whenever they gave it to me,” said Bell regarding his pass of Nemechek in Turn 3. “It was pretty tough because I wasn’t good enough with the side draft to stall the guy beside me and clear him by the time I got to Turn 1. I looked up in my mirror and whenever I got side-by-side (with Nemechek) we were just bringing all those guys behind us with us.
"I was just trying to figure out where we were going to beat him at and thankfully, I showed enough nose to where he couldn’t get to the bottom of the Tunnel Turn and it screwed up his exit out of (Turn) 2.”
Nemechek held onto second with a challenge from Rhodes. Sauter, Truex, Crafton, Cindric, Coughlin, Enfinger and Haley rounded out the top 10.
Rhodes passed Nemechek for second with four laps remaining — and Truex followed for third.
Bell had a 1.8-second lead over Rhodes with three laps to decide the race. Truex, Nemechek and Sauter completed top five.
With the win, Bell regained the points lead by 18 markers over defending truck series champion Sauter.
Kyle Busch became the first driver in 2017 to sweep the first two stages in a truck race — and he led all 30 laps en route to the win.
Busch held a .897-second lead over Truex. Bell, Rhodes, Briscoe, Nemechek, Grala, Stewart Friesen, Austin Cindric and TJ Bell rounded out the top 10 in the segment.
Kyle Busch led the field to green on Lap 20 followed by Truex, Rhodes, Bell, Crafton, Briscoe, Sauter, Enfinger and Nemechek.
Bell moved up to third in the first lap followed by Rhodes, Briscoe, Crafton, Sauter, Coughlin, Enfinger and Grala. Sauter passed Crafton for sixth on Lap 22. Coughlin Nemechek and Grala rounded out the top 10.
With five laps remaining in the stage, Busch held a 1.3-second lead over Truex. Bell, Rhodes, Briscoe, Sauter, Crafton, Coughlin, Nemechek and Grala rounded out the top 10. On Lap 26, Sauter, Crafton, Haley, Enfinger and Coughlin pitted.
With two laps to decide the stage it was Busch, Truex, Bell, Rhodes, Briscoe, Nemechek, Grala Stewart Friesen, Cindric and TJ Bell. Of the drivers that pitted, Sauter was 15th followed by Crafton.
Busch led the first 32 laps prior to pitting.
Justin Fontaine’s 19 positions gained were the most after two segments, however, he received a speeding penalty on his pit stop. Twenty trucks remained on the lead lap. Five trucks retired from the event. Norm Benning received a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes on entry. Stewart Friesen and Jordan Anderson were penalized for their front tire changers coming over the wall too soon.
Kyle Busch led all 15 laps in the first stage of the Overton’s 150. Busch held a 2.3-second advantage over Bell at the line.
Rhodes was third followed by Truex, Crafton, Briscoe, Nemechek, Gragson, Enfinger and Krala.
Kyle Busch held the point over the first five laps followed by Rhodes, Bell, Truex and Crafton. Briscoe, Nemechek, Gragson, Grala and Austin Hill rounded out the top 10.
With four laps remaining, Bell passed Rhodes for second behind his boss. Truex ran fourth followed by Crafton.
Bell cut Busch’s lead to 2.5-seconds with a lap remaining. Twenty-one trucks remained on the lead lap at the end of the segment. Four trucks retired.
The top three drivers — Busch, Truex and Rhodes — took two tires on the pit stop. Gragson, who finished the stage in eighth, received a one-lap penalty for pitting outside of the box and dropped to 22nd.
Click on image to watch Bell celebrate his win:
|4||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||60||5.671||9|
|16||44||Austin Wayne Self||Chevrolet||60||42.190|
|18||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||60||50.726|
|20||49||Wendell Chavous||Chevrolet||59||1 lap|
|21||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||59||1 lap|
|22||28||Bryan Dauzat||Chevrolet||56||4 laps|
|23||33||Kaz Grala||Chevrolet||42||18 laps|
|24||18||Noah Gragson||Toyota||39||21 laps|
|25||51||Kyle Busch||Toyota||36||24 laps||32|
|26||63||Camden Murphy||Chevrolet||23||37 laps|
|27||0||Matt Mills||Chevrolet||6||54 laps|
|28||36||Travis Kvapil||Chevrolet||4||56 laps|
|29||87||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||3||57 laps|
|30||57||Mike Senica||Chevrolet||2||58 laps |
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