Bell Delivers Third-Place Finish at Texas

Bell Delivers Third-Place Finish at Texas Getty Images for NASCAR
Christopher Bell led 20 laps of Friday night's JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and ended the 147-lap event in the third position. Bell has finished inside the top 10 in each of the first two races in the Round of 6 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs and enters the final race of the round 55 points above the cutoff line for earning the fourth and final spot in the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Bell started from the third position, but by the time the first caution of the night occurred on lap four had advanced into the runner-up spot.
  • On lap 26 he worked his way around pole sitter Justin Haley just before the race was slowed for the second time for a single-truck accident.
  • The No. 4 JBL Tundra maintained the lead on the lap-31 restart and remained out front as Stage One came to a close on lap 35. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Bell reported that the handling of his Tundra had been loose in the early stages of the race, but improved when he got out front in the clean air. When pit road opened, crew chief Rudy Fugle ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop. With several teams having elected to pit before the completion of Stage One, the No. 4 Toyota returned to the track scored in the 12th position for the start of Stage Two.
  • Stage Two went green on lap 42 and two laps later Bell returned to the top 10.
  • When the fourth caution of the race occurred on lap 58, he had advanced up to the seventh position and when one truck inside the top five elected to pit he gained another position.
  • Bell took the lap-63 restart from the sixth spot, but was able to gain three more positions during the final seven-lap run to complete Stage Two in the third position. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • When pit road opened, Bell brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew who replaced the left-side tires and filled it with fuel. With several trucks on a different pit strategy and electing not to pit, the JBL Tundra was scored in the eighth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 76.
  • Bell gained on spot in the opening laps of the Final Stage, but reported that he was "loose to fire off." On lap 86, he was able to work his way back inside the top five. As a long-green flag run ensued with passing at a minimum at the freshly paved track, the Oklahoma native remained fifth with 50 laps remaining. He moved up to fourth on lap 103 and then into third on lap 109.
  • Green-flag pit stops started taking place with 30 laps remaining and after the top-two trucks hit pit road Bell inherited the lead on lap 118.
  • On lap 125, Fugle summoned his driver to pit road for fresh right-side tires and enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.
  • When pit stops cycled through with 12 laps remaining, the No. 4 team found themselves back in the third position over three seconds behind the top-two trucks. Bell would cross the stripe in the third spot as he collected his series-leading 14th top-five finish of the season.

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Steven B. Wilson

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