Young racing superstar Christopher Bell dominated in the recently held Active Pest Control 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, beating fellow Tundra driver Matt Crafton in a tense, two-lap showdown that ultimately ended with the young racer’s win. Overall, Bell’s race on Saturday was hard-fought, and the driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra had to dig deep in order to grab his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
Despite his overwhelming performance in the last lap of Saturday’s race, Bell was quick to state that the win was largely due to his team and his Toyota Tundra’s performance.
“(Crew Chief) Rudy (Fugle) and the guys did an awesome job preparing this thing. It was just a dream machine. It was really, really good,” Bell said, according to a FOX Sports report.
After the final restart of the race, all eyes were on Bell and Crafton, both of which could easily finish in first place. The eighth and final restart of the race was brought on by Austin Cindric, who spun on Lap 124. With six more laps to go, Bell and Crafton began their final showdown.
— Toyota Racing (@ToyotaRacing) March 5, 2017
Bell restarted on the inside during Lap 129, with No. 88 Toyota Tundra driver Crafton in the outside lane. Though Crafton maintained a strong performance during Lap 129’s first two corners, Bell was able to pull ahead during the backstretch. By the fourth turn of the Lap 129, Bell was already in the lead.
The final lap of the CWTS Active Pest Control 200 featured Bell leading the pack and establishing his lead over his opponents. Though Crafton trailed him over the course of the final lap, Bell was able to maintain his lead and cross the finish line 0.447 seconds faster than Crafton’s No. 88 Tundra. Johnny Sauter, the event’s defending champion, finished the race in third place. Racers Ben Rhodes and Chase Elliott crossed the finish line in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
In an interview with the NASCAR website, Bell stated that his performance during Saturday’s event was all about momentum. During the course of his professional career, Bell knew exactly how important momentum is in a race. Just last year, Bell seemed to be within reach of victory when his tire blew and his No. 4 Toyota Tundra slammed into a wall, forcing the driver to retire from the race.
This year, however, it was a completely different story. Though it appeared that Bell might be sidetracked once more in some points during Saturday’s race, his performance in the later stages of the event proved enough to seal his win.
“I was just trying to do everything I could to get the best restart I could. 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.”
— Toyota Racing (@ToyotaRacing) March 4, 2017
Bell’s feat on Saturday marks the third series win for the young racer. Crafton, the driver who came within a lap of winning the race himself, stated he had no regrets about the results of the event.
“We had a shot. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. We had a shot at (Bell) and it was close,” he said.
Kyle Busch, the owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports and who was a racer in the event himself, praised the young driver’s efforts. Overall, Busch stated that the 22-year-old up-and-coming racing star made a lot of progress over the past year.
“We’re still trying to get the Sprint Car out of him. This kid grows up running 30-lap features, and after 30 laps his tires are worn out,” he said.
Overall, while the race was hard-fought, Bell was able to muster up enough energy to push his Toyota Tundra towards the finish line. With his recent win at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 on Saturday, Christopher Bell currently has seven playoff points in the current racing season.
[Featured Image by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images]