Christopher Bell prevailed over Chase Briscoe in a tense and controversial battle to capture Friday night’s Winstaronlinegaming.com 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
At the end, Bell beat Briscoe to the start-finish line by inches to take the white flag just before Timothy Peters crashed and flipped at the frontstretch. Because Bell had taken the white flag when the caution came out, the race was declared official.
“We’re in Victory Lane,” said Bell, who won for the fourth time in his career and the second time this season. “It’s just a dream come true to be able to win here in Texas. … It’s huge. We’ll been so fast throughout the entire year.”
Briscoe was philosophical afterward.
“It was close, I know that much,” Briscoe said. “It was a fun race. It was awesome racing Christopher. Me and Bell are really good friends. We’ve literally known each other for the past six or seven years. … It was fun to put on a show with him. I enjoyed it. I hope the fans enjoyed it.”
Bell’s teammate Noah Gregson started on the pole in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No 18 Toyota, ahead of defending series champion Johnny Sauter. It was the first career pole for Gregson, a Las Vegas native who is just 18 years old.
Gregson led 13 of the first 19 laps until yielding the lead to Sauter on Lap 20.
Sauter led the next 28 laps, but Christopher Bell roared from the 21st starting spot to close on Sauter’s bumper by Lap 30. Sauter was able to hold Bell off to win Stage 1, which ended at Lap 40. It was Sauter’s series-high fourth stage win of the season.
Bell didn’t give up, though, and on Lap 70, he got past Sauter to capture Stage 2.
Once the third and final stage began, Bell soon came under unrelenting pressure from Chase Briscoe in the Brad Keselowski Racing Ford. The two ran nose to tail for many laps, before a caution flew near Lap 120.
Under yellow, Bell took only right-side tires and held the lead on pit road.
Then after John Hunter Nemechek crashed, the trucks restarted with 25 laps to go, bell on the inside and Briscoe to the outside. On the first lap of green, Briscoe inched ahead briefly, but he couldn’t hold it as Bell pulled away.
Still, Briscoe kept the heat on Bell out front.
Then, with 13 laps to go, Cody Coughlin lost an engine, oiling down the track and necessitating a lengthy cleanup.
The green flew with eight laps to go and when it did, Myatt Snider and Kaz Grala crashed, sending the track to yellow again. Briscoe led Bell by inches at the previous scoring line right before the track went yellow.
So when they restarted with two laps to go, Briscoe was on the inside and in the lead, flanked by Bell on the outside. Bell took the lead when the green came out.
The, another crash, as Timothy Peters and Austin Wayne Self crashed, Peters going upside down in the frontstretch tri-oval. After a brief red flag, the track went back to yellow and Bell was declared the winner.
Best of all, Peters was able to walk away from the crash.