FORT WORTH, Texas – Christopher Bell won the NASCAR Truck Series race at Texas under caution Friday night, taking the white flag side-by-side with Chase Briscoe before a wreck behind them that left a truck upside down on the front stretch.
After a restart with two laps left, Bell and Briscoe were side-by-side and stayed that way the entire way around the 1 1/2-mile track back to the line. Bell had his No. 4 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch only inches and two-thousandths (0.002) of a second ahead when they got to the white flag. The yellow flag came out right after that, and NASCAR determined on video review that Bell was still ahead at that time.
“It’s tough, a split-second decision of when the yellow gets thrown is the difference between who won,” Bell said. “If the yellow comes a couple of feet earlier, a couple of feet later, I don’t win.”
Because the leaders had already taken the white flag, the race was over at that point.
“I think that’s about as close as you can get to winning,” said Briscoe, who considers Bell one of his best friends.
The 10th and final caution came out when Austin Self’s truck collided with Timothy Peters, whose No. 99 truck ended up in the infield grass and flipped over onto its top before sliding along the front stretch and coming to a stop on its roof near the start/finish line.
Peters remained in the truck upside down for several minutes before safety workers turned it upright. He then got out and walked away to the cheers of fans in the stands. He was evaluated in the infield care center and released soon after that.
Briscoe had his career-best finish in the No. 29 Ford, the only non-Toyota truck in the top five. Grant Enfinger was third, followed by Ryan Truex and Ben Rhodes
Bell led 92 of 167 laps after starting 21st. The only driver to win from further back at Texas was Todd Bodine when he won after starting 22nd in the 2004 fall race.
A big victory for kid from Norman, Oklahoma, who while on the way to dirt track races in Texas used to ride by the massive speedway on Interstate 35 and dream of racing there.
“I didn’t really feel like it was a possibility. … I was just a dirt-track kid from Oklahoma. There’s no pavement racing around there,” Bell said. “To be able to race here was a dream come true. To be able to win here, I don’t even have words to describe it.”
Within the first 11 laps, even though seven of those were under caution, Bell had already gained nine spots to 12. By the end of 25 laps, Bell was running second to Johnny Sauter – and they were in the same order after the first 40-lap stage. Bell won the second stage.
Sauter, who got his third Texas win last fall, finished eighth.
Peters was driving in his first race in the No. 99 Chevrolet for MDM Motorsports. Peters missed the last race when he was left without a ride when Red Horse Racing suddenly shut down after his fifth-place finish at Charlotte on May 19. Even with the finish on his roof, Peters was 13th.
Pole and circumstance
The polesitter, 18-year-old rookie Noah Gragson, finished seventh after receiving his high school diploma from K12 International Academy during a prerace ceremony. Gragson got to don a cap and gown and walk across the stage to “Pomp and Circumstance” to receive his diploma from Eddie Gossage, the Texas Motor Speedway president who presided over similar ceremonies before NASCAR truck races for Cole Custer last year and Erik Jones in 2014.
In the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Gragson led twice for 13 laps – the first time he’s ever led a lap. But he had to make an unscheduled stop under green with about 65 laps remaining because of a loose left wheel tire.
Gateway Motorsports Park, June 17.
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