Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Christopher Bell Drives Battered Toyota to Eldora Top-10

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

In a truck that looked like it had been in a demolition derby rather than a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Christopher Bell made the best out of a bad situation and brought home a top-10 finish for Kyle Busch Motorsports on a night at Eldora that could have ended much worse.

With three wins to his record already in 2017, Bell entered the night as one of the favorites to take home his second Golden Shovel trophy on the historic dirt track.

Starting the night in fourth, Bell’s race almost ended early after a spin near the end of the first stage, as he lost control of his truck and looped it around in Turn 2 right in front of oncoming traffic and was pounded in the right-front by Kaz Grala, who had no way of avoiding Bell’s truck.

Grala would be done for the night, and many thought Bell would be too, but his Kyle Busch Motorsports crew went to work and got his truck back in raceable condition under the Stage 1 break, allowing him to return to the track and actually still have a lot of speed in his truck.

Though he dropped all the way to 23rd at one point, Bell worked his way back through the field throughout the duration of the second stage, cracking the top-10 and eventually the top-five to finish Stage 2 in fourth place.

Bell would assume the race lead when the three trucks in front of him pitted for the Stage 2 break and he certainly made the most of it, leading the next 22 laps before giving up the lead to Stewart Friesen. As Bell rode in second place, he would cut down his right-front tire with 24 laps to go, which came just as a caution came out, allowing him to make it down pit road for new tires without losing too much ground.

Restarting outside of the top-10, Bell put the new tires to good use, working his way back into the top-10 by the time the checkered flag flew for a ninth place finish, his 10th top-10 finish of the season.

“First off, I’ve got to say I ruined it for my guys, man,” said Bell. “They gave me a great Tundra. I really feel like we had the truck to win there, but unfortunately, I made a mistake early on that cost us. My guys worked really hard to get us going again. We got going really good and the truck seemed like it was driving good enough like we had a lot of speed in it. I just miscalculated there on the spin. The lap before, I had a lot of grip up in the cushion and it held me really good, so I tried to make speed up there and was just a little too low and it was slick and I spun out. The flat tire really killed us. That just kind of wrote us off.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.