Bell Dominates Early, Ends with Fifth-Place Finish at Iowa

Bell Dominates Early, Ends with Fifth-Place Finish at Iowa KBM Photo
Christopher Bell took the lead from his Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) teammate Noah Gragson on lap 17 and remained out front for remainder of Stage 1 of the M&M's 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Iowa Speedway of Newton. The No. 4 Toyota Tundra was out front for the first 55 laps of Stage Two, but a one-truck spin with 11 laps changed the complexion of the strategy of the race.
 
Crew chief Rudy Fugle believed his best shot to collect another stage one and the playoffs points that go along with it was to stay on track and believed several series regulars would also wait for the stage break to pit. However, all but one lead-lap truck pitted for fresh tires leaving Bell at a disadvantage when the race restarted with six laps remaining in the stage. Bell would finish the stage fourth and then after making his pit stop restarted 12th for the final stage.
 
Bell methodically maneuvered his way back to the front and was scored in the fourth position when the final caution of the race occurred with 15 laps remaining. Everyone on the lead lap hit pit road when it opened, but misfortune struck once again when a pit gun didn't function properly on the right-side only stop and the No. 4 Toyota Tundra was the sixth truck off pit road. He would pick up one more position in the closing laps to earn his sixth top-finish of the season.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Bell qualified second and worked his way around KBM teammate Noah Gragson for the lead on lap 17.
  • As Stage One went caution free for its entirety, The Toyota Tundra cruised to the stage victory and earned valuable playoff points.
Stage Two Recap:
  • After pitting for four tires and fuel with a trackbar adjustment, a speedy stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Bell to maintain the lead when Stage Two went green on lap 69.
  • The No. 4 Tundra remained out front until a one-truck spin slowed the field for the second time on lap 109. Fugle kept his driver on track while the majority of the lead-lap trucks hit pit road.
  • When the field went back green, Bell fell back to the fourth spot succumbing spots to trucks with fresh tires. A three-truck accident on lap 119 ended Stage Two under caution. 
Final Stage Recap:
  • When pit road opened, Bell brought his Tundra down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. With everyone who pitted near the end of Stage Two staying out this time around, the No. 4 Toyota restarted in the 12th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 132.
  • Bell had a strong restart and by the time the field came back to the start-finish line he had advance up to the eighth spot. With 20 laps remaining in the event he returned to the top five and he was scored in the fourth position when a two-truck accident slowed the field for the final time on lap 186.
  • All of the leaders hit pit road with Fugle calling for just right-side tires to try and gain spots on pit road with passing at a premium under green-flag conditions. A pit gun malfunctioning slowed the stop and left Bell scored in the sixth position when the field went back green with seven laps remaining.
  • The No. 4 Tundra gained two spots on the ensuing restart, but lost a spot in the closing laps when he slowed his momentum to avoid a slow truck and crossed the finish line fifth. 

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Steven B. Wilson

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