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NASCAR Truck: Christopher Bell claims fourth win of season

Christopher Bell celebrates in victory lane at Pocono Raceway after winning the Overton's 150 on July 29, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Christopher Bell celebrates in victory lane at Pocono Raceway after winning the Overton’s 150 on July 29, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

With a win in the Overton’s 150 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Saturday, Christopher Bell has won a third of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, so far, in 2017. Saturday’s win was his fourth win, 12 races into the season. With his latest victory. Byron took the points lead from Johnny Sauter.

“It was really tough, but my guys do the best, and they take really good care of me,” Bell said. “Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) does a great job on the pit box and Tony (Hirschman, spotter) does a great job on top. I can’t say enough to be able to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports; this SiriusXM Tundra was excellent. I’m glad we were ale to get SiriusXM to victory lane; we’ve had them on the truck a lot, but we haven’t been able to win. I have to thank our partners at Toyota, JBL, TRD and everyone back at KBM, all the guys back in the fab shop that build these super-fast Tundras and Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s just, really, a pleasure to drive for them.”

Pole winner Ben Rhodes tied his career-best with a second-place finish, Ryan Truex was third, John Hunter Nemechek was fourth, and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five after starting the race in the back.

Busch led the first half of the 60-lap race, taking the lead from Rhodes on the opening lap and winning both of the first two 15-lap stages. Several drivers utilized a pit strategy of pitting with four or five laps remaining in the second stage and staying out between the second and third stages. As a result, after leading all of the first two stages, Busch restarted 9th at the beginning of stage three, also losing two positions to Byron and Nemechek, who took two tires to Busch’s four.

“I knew pitting at lap 30 was the right thing to do, because we were able to get the stage points and then still pit and get tires,” Bell said. “There were guys that pitted before the stage-end, and it made it pretty tough, because they restarted pretty far back. It’s just awesome to look in the grandstands and see all the people — the people are why we’re racing — so thank you to all of the people that came out today and hope you enjoyed the show.”

Busch’s race efforts ended in the early laps of stage three when his truck backed into the wall on lap 36 after contact with Justin Haley.

Aside from the two cautions that separated the race’s stages, the yellow flag waved two other times, both for wrecks involving Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks. Busch’s teammate Noah Gragson wrecked with Kaz Grala on lap 40. Chase Briscoe also was involved but sustained minimal damage. The race had already gone at least somewhat downhill for Gragson when he was held on pit road for a lap between the first two stages for pitting outside his pit stall. He had gotten that lap back at the end of stage two.

The pit strategy of pitting before the end of stage two and, then, staying out at stage-end, got Sauter the lead. After starting in the back for a mechanical repair after qualifying, Sauter had raced up to the 11th position by the end of the opening stage.

Nemechek took the lead from Sauter on a restart with 15 laps remaining, and a few laps later, Bell took second. Bell waged a side-by-side battle with Nemechek for the lead inside 10 laps to go, and Rhodes made the race for the lead a three-truck battle after he also got by Sauter.

“The only real passes that I made down the front straightaway were when they gave it to me, so it was pretty tough, because I wasn’t good enough with the side draft to be able to stall the guy beside me and clear him y the time I got to turn one,” Bell said. “Then, I looked in my mirror when we were side-by-side; we were just bringing all the other guys behind us with us, so I just kept trying to figure out where I was going to beat him at, and thankfully, I showed enough nose to where he didn’t get to the bottom of the tunnel turn, and then, it screwed up his exit off of two.”

Bell took the lead with six laps to go. A lap later, Rhodes took second.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on July 29, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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