Date: Feb. 24, 2017
Event: NextEra Energy Resources 250 (Race 1 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Raceway (2.5-mile Tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 20 laps/20 laps/40 laps
Start/Finish: 4th / 8th (running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Winner: Kaz Grala of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Christopher Bell and the No. 4 JBL Racing team earned a hard-fought eighth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Stage One Recap:
- Bell started the 100-lap event from the fourth position, the best qualifying effort in the eight-year history of Kyle Busch Motorsports, and by the end of lap one was in the runner-up position. He took a short-lived lead for two laps on lap 14. With one lap remaining in the first stage, the Oklahoma native made a strong move to the outside down the backstretch trying to earn the win and collect playoff bonus points as he pulled side-by-side with Brett Moffit for the lead.
- Spencer Gallagher was running third and got into the back of Moffit’s Tundra, who then darted up the track and clipped the No. 4 JBL Tundra. Bell’s truck lifted off the ground and went spinning around. He was able to keep rolling, but ended the first stage in the 20th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- After pitting for four tires, fuel and repairs to the minor damage during from the accident during the break, Bell started the second segment from the 17th position when the field went back green on lap 26. He was able to maneuver his way back towards the front of the field and finished stage two scored in the ninth position.
Final Stage Recap:
- During the stage break, crew chief Rudy Fugle ordered up a left-side tire and fuel stop allowing Bell to start the final stage from the runner-up position. Bell was battling for the lead on lap 71 when his Tundra got loose, slid down on the apron and then back up into the field bringing out the fourth caution of the night.
- The JBL Tundra suffered major damage to the right front and rear end. The No. 4 over-the-wall crew used nearly all of the newly-implemented five-minute clock during three stops to fix the damage under caution.
- Bell took the lap-76 restart from the 15th position and had advanced to the 11th position when the fifth caution of the race occurred on lap 95. He brought his Toyota down pit road for more damage repair, four tires and a full load of fuel.
- The 22-year-old was scored in the 14th position when the field went back green with just two laps remaining.
- A huge wreck occurred down the backstretch on the final lap. Bell, who was in the middle lane, got collected but was able to keep the JBL Tundra rolling and emerged with an eight-place finish.
Talk about your race tonight
“Our JBL Tundra was super fast. We could pretty much drive to the front any time we wanted. We got the lead and kind of got caught up there at the end of the first break. I don’t feel like our truck was ever quite 100% again after that point. My team thrashed and used every minute of the five-minute clock that we had to work on it and came out of here with an eighth-place finish. We’ll take it and move on to Atlanta where we can go racing.”
NextEra Energy Resources 250 Recap:
- Kaz Grala earned his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in just his 10th series start. Austin Wayne Self finished in the runner-up position, while Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for a total of 29 laps. There were 14 lead changes among nine drivers. Bell led three times for a total of six laps.
How Bell’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 10th
Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 26th
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Bell leaves the first race of the season ranked ninth in the Truck Series Championship Standings, 23 tallies behind points leader Kaz Grala. He earned four points for finishing seventh in the second segment and 29 points for his eighth-place finish in the final segment.
Bell will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 JBL Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action March 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. Live coverage of the Active Pest Control 200 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 4 p.m. ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!