Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trackin' Trucks: Christopher Bell wins at New Hampshire

Christopher Bell celebrates in Victory Lane at New Hampshire.
Credit: Chris Graythen

by Courtney Horn

Christopher Bell dominated Saturday’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, capturing both stage wins for his fifth victory of the season.

Bell started second and led 73 laps toward his first win at the 1.058-mile track, which advances the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver into the second round of the Camping World Truck Series playoffs.

Bell trailed Ryan Truex in the final laps but gained enough momentum with 15 laps remaining to slide his No. 4 Toyota Tundra into the lead for the seventh career victory.

“He was doing a really good job of watching his mirror,” Bell said of Truex. “I knew it was tough to pass all day, but our truck had been so good, we had 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 (Turns) 1 and 2 and then got a big run into 3.”

Bell was the only playoff driver to score a top-five finish. Truex finished second, Todd Gilliland third, while Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

John Hunter Nemechek had the most troubling day of the playoff contenders. Nemechek was forced to go to the garage to repair a rear gear early in Stage 1, then returned after 36 laps to finish in the 20th position.

Johnny Sauter fought hard for ninth place after his No. 21 Chevrolet was heavily damaged when Ben Rhodes spun and made contact with the right side of Sauter’s truck, but ended up finishing seventh.

A Look Ahead Into The Playoffs

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 30, 2017 for the second race of the 2017 playoffs.

Bell holds a 40-point lead over Sauter, the defending series champion, while Matt Crafton sits third, 41 points behind Bell.

Nemechek is the most need of a turnaround. The NEMCO Motorsport driver is eighth in the standings after New Hampshire, seven points below the cutoff.

Will a playoff driver take the checkers or will a non-playoff driver play spoiler? Find out when the CWTS return to night racing at Vegas on September 30th at 8:30 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.

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