Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trackin’ Trucks: Christopher Bell dominates in Atlanta

Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Christopher Bell earned his third career Camping World Truck Series victory Saturday evening in the Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bell led 99 of 130 laps and captured Stage 1 and Stage 2 wins toward Kyle Busch Motorsports’ first victory of 2017.

A spin by Austin Cindric with five laps to go set Bell on the front row for a two-lap shootout. After a brief battle with Matt Crafton, Bell surged ahead of the pack with ease in his No. 4 Toyota before grabbing the checkers.

“I was just trying to do everything I could to make sure I got a good restart and I didn’t get my momentum broke. These truck races are really tough to get restarts going because it’s so aero-dependent,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “You can get all sorts of momentum, or you can get all sorts of momentum taken away from you.”

The race barely got started before drivers started making moves toward the front. Noah Gragson spun on Lap 1 after going three-wide in the corner with Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter.

Last year’s race winner John Hunter Nemechek finished 29th after a flat right tire caused him to hit the wall. The damage put an end to his day.

Jordan Anderson suffered significant damage after a spin into the grass, which also ended his day, and he wound up 28th.

Crafton finished strong in second after his battle with Bell for the lead, followed by Sauter, Ben Rhodes, and Chase Elliott. Elliott rebounded after a tire issue early in the race.

A Look Ahead

The NCTWS has the next three weekends off but returns on April 1 at Martinsville Speedway, where Kyle Busch completed the weekend sweep in 2016 with Truck and Cup wins.

Last year Sauter finished last after being involved in an accident. Can he find redemption or will one of NASCAR’s young guns, which made up nine of the top 12 in 2016, once again find Victory Lane?

Tune in to FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET on April 1 for all the action.

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