Christopher Bell scores dominating win in Atlanta
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown HAMPTON, Ga. – Christopher Bell unquestionably had the dominant truck in Saturday's Active Pest Control 200, but, in the end, the driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra had to work hard for the third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of his career. In the nightcap of a NASCAR doubleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bell held off fellow Tundra driver Matt Crafton in a two-lap shootout to the finish for his first win of the 2017 season. Austin Cindric's spin on Lap 124 of 130 brought out the eighth and final caution of the race and set up the final two-lap dash. Bell restarted on the inside on Lap 129, with Crafton in the outside lane. Crafton held his own through the first two corners, but Bell pulled ahead on the backstretch and finally cleared Crafton's No. 88 Toyota off Turn 4. One lap later, Bell crossed the finish line .447 seconds ahead of Crafton, with defending series champion Johnny Sauter trailing the lead pair in third place. Ben Rhodes ran fourth, followed by Chase Elliott. "I was just trying to do everything I could to get the best restart I could," Bell said. "I didn't want to get my momentum broken. These Truck races are really tough to get restarts going, because it's so aero-dependent. "You can get all sorts of momentum or you can get all sorts of momentum taken away from you. That happened to me there in the middle section of the race." But the truck was there when it counted. "It was just a dream machine. It was really, really good." Clearly, that was an understatement. Bell edged his team owner for the pole position in Saturday morning's qualifying session and proceeded to lead the first 83 laps, claiming both the first and second 40-lap stage wins in the process. In fact, Bell was so dominant in the second stage that crossed the stripe 8.030 seconds ahead of Busch, who nevertheless took the lead with an excellent pit stop, putting Bell in the outside lane for the start of Stage 3 on Lap 88. Bell subsequently fell back to fifth in the running order, but after two cautions, he restarted from the inside lane on the third row on Lap 113 and one lap later passed Crafton for the lead. Busch, who won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race earlier in the day, fell back with a cut tire on the Lap 113 restart and finished 26th, but he could take solace from the quality of Bell's effort – not to mention the progress the 22-year-old has made since Busch signed the open-wheel star to a full-time ride last year. “We’re still trying to get the Sprint Car out of him,” Busch quipped after the race. “This kid grows up running 30-lap features, and after 30 laps his tires are worn out.” On Saturday, however, Bell decisively overcame the "Days of Thunder" mentality Busch described, and with the race win and two stage victories, came away with all seven available playoff points in the process. </p>
David McGrath looks to make mark at New Hampshire
RELATED: Buy tickets for New Hampshire If you happen to be a track promoter or a race fan, there is a pretty good chance you believe there is no such thing as too much racing. At least that's the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and the fan base that fills the grandstands two weekends a year at the 1-mile track located in Loudon, New Hampshire. "The crowds tell you no," McGrath told NASCAR.com. "Those stands don't empty. "They get it twice a year (at our facility) and they live for it. Like any other part of the country, the Northeast race fan is a rabid fan of our sport. They love it; they can't wait to get up to New Hampshire. They plan their summers and early fall around those races." McGrath, a native New Englander, understands the region's race fans, the bulk of whom arrive from in-state, with nearby Massachusetts and those making the trek from across the Canadian border making up a sizable chunk as well. Named to oversee the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track in October of '15, McGrath has quickly become acquainted with the intricacies and aspects of running such a facility. "Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none," he said. "You have to work at state level, local level, know your governor, senators, representatives and local selectmen. ... We care a great deal about our municipalities and our towns we work with, because we are all in the same boat together. We are the largest driver of economic revenue (in the state), but we don't do that with a swagger. "You are always trying to be understanding, tolerable and work together to figure out solutions. But make no mistake, the vision of the speedway is to be able to utilize that 1,100 acres with the team we've got and find new, cool events, create things for fans to come and experience." The typical race weekend at New Hampshire will see anywhere from three to four series competing during the course of three days. A Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series doubleheader in the summer and a Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in the fall headline programs that also include events from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Whelen Modified Tour and American Canadian Tour. It's rare to wander into the facility during a race weekend and not hear cars of one sort or another on the track, either practicing, qualifying or racing. Competing at New Hampshire is a big, big deal, especially for the grassroots circuits. "Certainly in the case of the Modifieds it is, no question," McGrath said. "They are a touring series that travels all over the Northeast and they look at New Hampshire as their big, big event. Their Daytona, if you will." The track has played host to the Whelen Modified Series since 1990, three years before Sprint Cup came calling, and the list of previous winners includes such standouts as Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman and Ted Christopher . "Saturday on either race weekend at our track, whether it's July or September, I think is one of the best deals in all of motorsports as far as for the race fans," McGrath said. "Absolutely. You get three great races. In July you've got the K&N race to end the day, you've got XFINITY and then you've got Modifieds. And then in September, you've got Modifieds, Trucks, and the ACT. That's just a great day." In addition to hosting two Sprint Cup Series races, including one that falls in the Round of 16 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fall Truck Series race will serve as that series' opener for its inaugural seven-race Chase. Off the track, McGrath said his vision is to continue to develop those things that track ownership -- the facility is one of eight operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- has already undertaken. "We work for the fans," he said. "One of my visions is to continually improve the facility to make it more fan friendly than it already is. Our company has invested a lot of money since we purchased the track back in 2007 going into 2008. We're going to continue to do those things as it makes sense. "We will continue to evaluate areas where we can improve the fan experience. We've built bath/shower houses, increased and improved site drainage ... and have new paving areas all over the campgrounds and the facility. "But the vision would really be to evolve and improve the track and think about new ways to increase the fan experience."
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 25 Years, 25 Moments
Buy Tickets - SYLVANIA 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 's September event weekend will mark the facility's 25th Anniversary. Relive some of the top moments over the past 25 years. From Rusty Wallace capturing the inagural NASCAR Sprint Cup race win to Cole Custer becoming the youngest driver to visit Victory Lane in a National Series event - check out the top 25 moments below. 1. August 13, 1989: Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly Bryar Motorsports Park). 2. June 5, 1990: Track owner Bob Bahre and N.H. Governor Judd Gregg cut the ribbon to officially open “New Hampshire International Speedway.” 3. July 15, 1990: In NASCAR's debut at NHMS, Tommy Ellis wins the Grand National Series ( XFINITY ) race. 4. August 23, 1992: Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) bump each other on the way to the finish line with Nemechek taking home the win. 5. July 11, 1993: Rusty Wallace wins the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at NHMS. 6. July 9, 1995: Jeff Gordon earns his first win at NHMS en route to his first Cup Series championship. 7. July 14, 1996: Ernie Irvan captures the win in one of the more emotional victories in NASCAR history. The win came less than two years after Irvan suffered a near-fatal crash at Michigan, where he was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival. 8. June 28, 1998: In his final season as an IndyCar driver, Tony Stewart wins the IRL New England 200, his final career win in the series. 9. Sept. 17, 2000: Jeff Burton leads all 300 laps of the Dura Lube 300 to earn his record-setting fourth Cup Series win at NHMS. The race is infamously remembered for its use of restrictor plates. 10. Nov. 23, 2001: The New Hampshire 300 runs as the last race of the season on Friday after Thanksgiving. Robby Gordon wins the race and Jeff Gordon holds the Sprint Cup Series trophy for the fourth time. 11. Sept. 19, 2004: The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship debuts with its opening race, the SYLVANIA 300. Kurt Busch wins the race and goes on to become crowned Champion. 12. Sept. 18, 2005: Robby Gordon chucks his helmet at Michael Waltrip after a wreck on the backstretch. 13. June 28, 2008: Chuck Hossfeld edges Ted Christopher by 0.001 seconds in the Whelen Modified Tour’s New England 100, the closest margin of victory in speedway history. 14. June 28, 2009: Joey Logano becomes the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at 19 years, 35 days. 15. Sept. 20, 2009: Fifty-year-old Mark Martin takes the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with the 40th and final win of his illustrious career. It was his first and only win at NHMS. 16. June 26, 2010: Kyle Busch ends a streak of 23 straight different winners at NHMS in the XFINITY Series by becoming the first two-time series winner in the track's history. He also won the '09 race and followed up with wins in '11 and '13. 17. July 16, 2011: Kyle Busch earns his 100th NASCAR National Series win and ties Mark Martin ’s record for most XFINITY Series wins with 49. 18. Sept. 25, 2011: Tony Stewart assumes his only lead in the SYLVANIA 300 with two to go when Clint Bowyer runs out of gas. The win was Stewart’s second in as many Chase races and propelled him to the championship. 19. July 14, 2012: NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik beats Ron Silk in the Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire 100 by 0.003 seconds. 20. Sept. 23, 2012: Denny Hamlin follows through on his guarantee to win, and celebrates with military personnel in victory lane. 21. July 11, 2013: Toomas Topi Heikkinen wins the SYVLANIA SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross race when leader Tanner Foust crashes on the final hairpin turn. 22. July 14, 2013: Part-time driver Brian Vickers wins the Camping World RV Sales 301, his first win since battling back from blood clots in his legs and lungs that threatened his life. 23. July 11, 2014: Ryan Newman wins the inaugural Modified All-Star Shootout event, a combination race between the best of the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour. 24. July 13, 2014: Brad Keselowski ties a NASCAR record by becoming the 13th different non-repeat winner at the same track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 25. Sept. 20, 2014: At 16 years, seven months and 28 days, Cole Custer wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck s Series UNOH 175 to become the youngest winner of a NASCAR National Series race.
Carl Edwards' exit could put Christopher Bell on fast track to XFINITY
How long do you think it took Christopher Bell to do the math? Carl Edwards ' announcement of his abrupt exit from the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has had a ripple effect that could go far beyond the promotion of Daniel Suárez to a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride. Because Suárez will fill Edwards' seat in NASCAR’s premier series, he won't defend his NASCAR XFINITY Series title. Bell will be one of the beneficiaries of the changes in Suárez's schedule. "Right now, we have a solid plan for Christopher ," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) USA. "He exceeded our expectations. He got all the way to Miami (the championship race of the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway ). This year, we expect him to get to Miami and win. "And if circumstances play out, we really would like to get him into an XFINITY car for a couple of races. We're working hard on that, and we're optimistic, but that could very well be a domino that falls. Those are helpful -- those couple of races where there's zero pressure, but it gives you a look at the next step." Last week at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 22-year-old Bell wasn't thinking about the next step. He was contemplating the next race, trying to become the first native Oklahoman to win the marquee event of midget racing since Andy Hillenburg accomplished the feat in 1994. (And, no, the Andy Hillenburg in question is not the Indiana-born driver who ran NASCAR races and later bought Rockingham Speedway . The Andy Hillenburg who won the Chili Bowl is a sprint car racer from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.) Bell was also thinking about the upcoming season in the Camping World Truck Series, where his own expectations mirror those of the Toyota brass. "I guess it could open it up for me," Bell said of Edwards' departure. "But, honestly, I haven't even really thought about it, because my schedule's already set, obviously, with Kyle Busch Motorsports. That's where my focus is, and we're going to aim really hard to win races this year. "We came close on the championship last year, but we didn't win many races -- we won one time. My goal is to win races with KBM." That doesn’t mean, however, that Bell wasn't enthused about the prospect of getting his first taste of the XFINITY Series. "That's great," he said during a break between features at the Chili Bowl. "That's good that I might get a couple of races -- that's really good." The extent of Bell's participation in XFINITY races depends to some degree on sponsorship. Wilson said Suárez's primary sponsor, Arris, which also sponsored Edwards, will be confined to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup car, even though Suárez will still run between eight and 12 XFINITY races. "If he (Bell) does what he should do in '17, then, naturally, we would love to get him into an XFINITY ride in '18," Wilson said. "Yes, this could play into Christopher's further development and get him one or two more XFINITY races that we may not have foreseen prior to the news (about Edwards)." Last Saturday night, Bell fulfilled his long-standing dream of winning the Chili Bowl, noting that competing in the Truck Series had informed his approach to dirt-track racing. Biding his time in the 55-lap "A" Main, Bell started on the front row and passed polesitter Justin Grant on Lap 26. He stayed out front the rest of the way. "In years past, it's been attack, attack, attack," Bell said. "This year, it didn't have to be that way. I just ran hard enough to stay in position but not get into trouble. I was able to ride behind Justin there for a while. I knew the bottom was slowing down quite a bit and I kept trying the top. I tried it two times and I almost got passed, so I knew it was going to be a matter of too early or too late at the top. "I started to watch the big screen. (Eventual runner-up Daryn) Pittman was running the top at the time. I knew he was in eighth, and I looked up and he was third or fourth so I knew I had to go. Once I went, I was able to squeak by Justin on the straightaway, and then it was a matter of just not screwing up." That sort of patience is emblematic of Bell's maturation as a driver. Early last season, he didn't look like a championship contender. In the second race of 2016, at Atlanta, his aggressiveness led to a wreck that collected Suárez, his teammate, and fellow Toyota driver and two-time series champion Matt Crafton . But Bell won at Gateway Motorsports Park nine races into the schedule, and he finished outside the top 10 just twice in the last 16 events.
Christopher Bell claims 2017 Chili Bowl victory
Photo: Toyota Racing Christopher Bell rang in the start of his 2017 season with perhaps the biggest win of his burgeoning racing career -- the 31st annual Chili Bowl. Bell, a full-time driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , won what many consider to be the world's most prestigious sprint car race after midnight ET on Sunday morning. Over the course of a week, he outlasted 364 other drivers who entered -- a Chili Bowl record -- and ended Rico Abreu's two-year reign as champion. Bell is regarded as one of the finer dirt racers in the country, and he was equally adept on pavement as well. The 22-year-old advanced to the Championship Round in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase as a full-time rookie in 2016. In 2015, he won at Eldora Speedway in his third career series start. Making the victory even sweeter is that Bell is an Oklahoma native -- he was born in Norman, about 125 miles southwest of the event site in Tulsa. "Oh my God, I just won the Chili Bowl," Bell said after climbing out of his machine. "This was a long time coming and a dream come true." C Bell up on the wheel tonight! #cbnationals @CBellRacing — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) January 15, 2017 Nice job C Bell! — William Byron (@WilliamByron) January 15, 2017 Daryn Pittman, a fellow Oklahoma native, finished second to Bell with Justin Grant, Tanner Thompson and Jake Swanson rounding out the top five. In all, four drivers with recent NASCAR experience qualified for the championship race. Abreu finished 11th after starting 25th in the 25-driver championship field, needing a champion's provisional to make the final field. Roush Fenway Racing 's Ricky Stenhouse Jr . finished 16th and Chase Briscoe, the newest full-time driver for Brad Keselowski Racing, was 22nd in the A-Main. The Chili Bowl is a week-long event with five days of practice and qualifying events to set the 25-car field for the main event. Saturday started with two O-Feature races -- the top four finishers from each O-Feature event advanced to the corresponding N-Feature races. Then the top four finishers from each N-Feature race advance into the M-Feature races. The format was used all the way up to the A-Main finale, although drivers also could qualify for the A-Main throughout the week. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , who has stayed behind the wheel all offseason, including a racing trip to Australia -- failed to advance to the championship race after making the A-Main for five consecutive years. Abreu did not make it out of the F-Feature due to a tire issue, but he received a past champion's provisional. Stenhouse, another Chili Bowl veteran, won his B-Feature to advance into the championship race. Justin Allgaier , who will drive in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports in 2017, was ousted after the C-Feature. His most eventful moment of the week, though, came Friday when his car flipped on the last lap of his race.
Bell sweeps stages, wins at Atlanta
Christopher Bell capped off a dominating performance in the Active Pest Control 200 with a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Bell celebrates in Victory Lane
Christopher Bell catches up with FS1's Alan Cavanna in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Rhodes' rebirth leads to top five in Atlanta
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown HAMPTON, Ga. -- The fire that forced a midseason rebuilding effort at ThorSport Racing last year impacted all of its four teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. From a results standpoint, ThorSport driver Ben Rhodes was not immune. That's why Saturday's showing at Atlanta Motor Speedway gave Rhodes reason for optimism as he dives into his second full season in the series. Rhodes finished fourth in the Active Pest Control 200, finishing just behind race winner Christopher Bell of Kyle Busch Motorsports, Rhodes' ThorSport teammate, runner-up Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter. RELATED: Bell takes Atlanta Truck Series race The top-five effort helped soothe some of the hardships Rhodes & Co. endured over the latter part of 2016. The strength he showed in the opening nine races of the year gave way to four DNFs and just one top-10 over the final 14 events. Saturday, things started looking up. "I had a really tough year, so it's really encouraging that we can come out here and get a good finish like this and see that we can run strong," Rhodes said after emerging from his No. 27 Toyota. "And now that the truck's all in one piece, that's an added bonus because all last year, it seemed like no matter what we did, something would happen and we would get caught up in somebody's mess. Tire would blow, engine would blow … something would happen. So it's really, really nice to put a good finish together." After a rookie season that held so much promise, Rhodes and his crew have made the earliest steps toward a rebirth. The 20-year-old driver has a new crew chief in Eddie Troconis, a new car number based on sponsor Safelite's preference, and a new, reconstructed shop in their Sandusky, Ohio, home. RELATED: ThorSport rebuilds after devastating fire "Ever since the shop's been rebuilt, these guys have worked their tails off over the wintertime, working 80 hours a week to get these trucks built and build some fast Tundras at that," Rhodes said. "I really think that we're going to be a contender for many, many, many wins throughout the season." Said Troconis: "We came here and we showed that ThorSport regrouped over the offseason and worked really hard all December and January, and now we're trying to beat the KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) trucks. They were the dominant team last year, and we're right there with them. We showed that it's not just one truck with Crafton that has a lot of experience, but also the young rookie guns. "So Ben's second year, we have a lot of work to do still, but I feel like definitely we're going to have a lot of potential. We're going to give a run at KBM." Rhodes battled back from a pair of hurdles during Saturday's 200-miler. He first made progress from a 15th-place qualifying effort that left him with a midpack start. And he also found himself at a disadvantage in a series of late-race restarts, mired in the treacherous outside lane and at a higher risk of wheel spin. The lineup shuffle for the final two restarts gave him the preferred inside lane and kept him in victory contention. Though he settled for fourth, he still managed a grin when asked about the race's possibilities. "If a couple things play out a little bit differently, I think we could be on the frontstretch doing donuts right now," Rhodes said.
Kyle Busch's winning XFINITY Series car fails post-race inspection
RELATED: Race recap from Atlanta " Race results HAMPTON, Ga. -- Kyle Busch's race-winning entry in Saturday's Rinnai 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race failed post-race inspection for a height violation, according to NASCAR officials. Busch's car measured too low on both the right and left front. The winning car, as well as the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of fifth-place Elliott Sadler, which was the random car, will be taken back to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, for final inspection. "I don't know. I didn't feel anything happen … over the course of the day," Busch said after joining Camping World Truck Series race winner Christopher Bell in the media center afterward. Bell competes for Busch's Kyle Busch Motorsports organization. RELATED: Bell wins Truck Series race at Atlanta "I don't remember what kind of adjustments we were making; I know we were going track bar down and wedge out so that should actually kind of lifted the front a little bit maybe, but I don't know how low it was or anything like that," Busch said. "I haven't heard anything. I don't even know what the penalty is now." Busch said the No. 18 entry is scheduled to run the entire XFINITY schedule with a variety of drivers, "so I guess I'll have to figure out who I'm working with next week." He is scheduled to compete in 10 of this year's XFINITY races, including next week when the series travels to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Boyd Gaming 300 on March 11. Busch led twice for 26 laps in the 163-lap event, the second stop for XFINITY Series teams this season, but beat the field off pit road late for the final lead change of the race. He led the final 19 laps. The win was his 87th in the XFINITY Series and the 171st overall among NASCAR's three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck). Any penalty or penalties as a result of the infraction are expected to be announced mid-week.
News: Christopher Bell can't sing as well as Huey Lewis and the
There's no denying Christopher Bell is bold. It's what led him to a victory in just his third career Camping World Truck Series start at the age of 20. And it's what led him to show off his vocal abilities in a new video he shared on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it seems his vocal abilities should've hit the gym first before flexing so hard. Time for @JBLaudio "Guess the Song." Tweet me the answer. Use #JBLxToyota #contest RULES: https://t.co/OUltxQpA66 pic.twitter.com/vJnghxLTNZ — Christopher Bell (@CBellRacing) March 30, 2016 Now, we fully admire Bell's ability to give it his all -- and hey, sometimes effort trumps talent -- but the first response tweet to his post kind of encapsulated how everyone is feeling about this. @CBellRacing @JBLaudio Chris please stick to racing — Zan (@Zannabee3) March 30, 2016 Well, maybe everyone except this guy. Does your mood suck? Try some @Huey_Lewis_News @pandora_radio . That will get your ass in gear. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) March 22, 2016 So, Chris, let's stick to what you know best (dominating on the race track), while leaving the mic work to the professionals and let's all jam out to some Huey Lewis and the News to help us get over hump day and one day closer to Martinsville.
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