Nashville: TJ Bell race report

TJ BELL SURVIVES A LATE-RACE SPIN TO BRING HOME A 15TH PLACE FINISH AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK. Bell ran in the top-10 for much of the AAA Insurance 200 but a spin on lap 160 cost him track position. He was determined to overcome it and brought...

TJ BELL SURVIVES A LATE-RACE SPIN TO BRING HOME A 15TH PLACE FINISH AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK.

Bell ran in the top-10 for much of the AAA Insurance 200 but a spin on lap 160 cost him track position. He was determined to overcome it and brought home a top-15 finish for his #11 Red Horse Racing team.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (July 24, 2009)- TJ Bell and his #11 Red Horse Racing team looked forward to short track racing under the lights at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Armed with a brand new truck for the occasion, the #11 team was ready to see what the new chassis could do. Bell qualified 13th and when the race started, was headed straight to the front. He broke into the top-10 and stayed there for much of the race. It looked like he would have no problem claiming a top-10 finish. Hard racing with another driver for position resulted in Bell spinning on the race track. He worked hard to keep the spin controlled and his truck off the wall. The #11 machine was unharmed but Bell had lost all the track position he had worked so hard to gain. He immediately went to work trying getting those spots back but ran out of time. Bell brought home a 15th place finish in the AAA Insurance 200.

After two practice sessions on Friday afternoon, Bell and the #11 Red Horse Racing team felt like their truck would be really good for the race. Bell put the #11 in the 13th starting spot later that afternoon. When the green flag dropped just after sunset at O'Reilly Raceway Park, Bell was headed to the front in a hurry. In two laps, he had already reached the 11th position and by lap seven, had claimed a spot inside the top-10. Although his truck was fast, Bell reported fighting with a tight center condition that seemed to be worsening as the laps ticked off. His forward progression had stopped and Bell began sliding backwards in the field. He found himself in the 14th position by lap 30.

The caution flag waved on lap 37 and crew chief Rick Gay called the #11 to pit road for some changes. Bell picked up four fresh tires on lap 39 and returned the following lap for fuel and a track bar adjustment. Some competitors opted not to pit at all so Bell restarted 15th.

When the green flag dropped, Bell was on the move again. He moved into the 13th position on lap 47 and continued his forward march to the 11th spot. Still reporting a tight center condition, Bell was fighting each and every lap to hold his spot. Another caution on lap 92 gave the #11 team another shot at making their machine even better. Bell hit pit road on lap 95 for four tires and came back in the following lap for fuel and a wedge adjustment. He restarted 12th.

It didn't take long for Bell to reclaim his position in the top-10. By lap 111 he was running in the ninth position. Racing hard for each and every spot, Bell and another competitor bumped each other and Bell spun on lap 160. He was able to keep the #11 off the wall so there was no damage to the truck, but Bell would need to pit for fresh tires. He came down pit road on lap 161 and took four fresh tires. Returning the following lap, he picked up a splash of gas and headed back out onto the track, scored in the 18th position.

Bell used his disappointment to fuel him during the next green flag run. He was determined to get back the positions he had lost. In the final 30 laps of the race, Bell was able to pick up three positions to put him in the 15th spot when the checkered flag fell. He earned a hard fought top-15 finish in the AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

-credit: rhr

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Series NASCAR Truck
Teams Red Horse Racing