Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Controversy Surrounds Finish of Texas Truck Series Race

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

It’s safe to say the finish of Friday night’s 400 at Texas will still be getting discussed at the water cooler on Monday morning.

With Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell running neck and neck over the closing laps, the caution would fly for a vicious crash between Timothy Peters and Austin Wayne Self that saw Peters wind up on his roof on the frontstretch after flipping through the grass.

Though Bell led at the start/finish line to take the white flag, it appeared Briscoe had edged ahead when the caution lights illuminated on the catchfence, which would determine the winner since it was the last lap. The FOX Sports 1 broadcast also showed that Briscoe was just ahead of Bell with the caution lights on, but NASCAR would declare Bell as the race winner, setting off a firestorm of controversy on social media, including from Briscoe’s owner, Brad Keselowski.

The overwhelming opinion on Twitter after seeing the video of the finish from the broadcast seemed to be that Briscoe should be sitting in victory lane instead of Bell, but NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Steve O’Donnell, provided the proof that Bell was indeed the winner in a tweet shortly after the race was called.

The tweet from O’Donnell showed Bell was ahead and the exact timestamp of when the caution was called, providing undeniable proof that the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was exactly where he belonged – victory lane.

While Bell was celebrating in victory lane, Briscoe was left wondering what if, having his first career win come down to a matter of inches. Despite the agony of defeat and nearly bouncing back in a big way after his team received a big penalty from NASCAR earlier in the week, the rookie kept his head held high in his post-race comments.

“It was close, I know that much,” said Briscoe. “It was a fun race. It was awesome racing with Christopher. Me and Bell are really good friends, we’ve literally known each other the past six or seven years. It was fun putting on a show with him. I enjoyed it, I hope the fans enjoyed it. Overall, just definitely wanted to get the win, just a tough way. We’re going to St. Louis next weekend and we’ll see if we can’t get this Cooper Standard Ford F-150 finally in victory lane.”

“I was sleeping on couches two years ago and never even pictured I was going to have a ride. To be full-time with Brad Keselowski Racing and signed by Ford Development is a blessing. Just thankful to be here and we’ll go on to the next one.”

Bell would also point to the fact of just how close the finish was between the two drivers when speaking with the media down in victory lane.

“I had no idea,” said Bell. “I didn’t think he (Chase Briscoe) had the lead whenever he got it and then I didn’t think I had the lead whenever I got it, so it’s just so tight, man. Me and Chase have known each other for a long time – we’re really good friends and met each other racing online whenever we were in our teens and now here we are racing in the Camping World Truck Series together.”

After reviewing the footage for himself, Brad Keselowski also came around on the finish and accepted that Bell had won the race and his driver would be second on the day.

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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.