Phoenix: TJ Bell race report

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A 13TH PLACE FINISH ON FRIDAY THE 13TH AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY For the duration of the 150-lap event, Bell was beating and banging with the competition, determined to bring home a good finish for his ...

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A 13TH PLACE FINISH ON FRIDAY THE 13TH AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

For the duration of the 150-lap event, Bell was beating and banging with the competition, determined to bring home a good finish for his #11 Red Horse Racing team.

AVONDALE, AZ. (November 13, 2009)- TJ Bell and the #11 Red Horse Racing team headed to Sun Valley hoping to earn a solid finish and end the 2009 season on a high note in the final two races. Fueled by Fans.com rejoined the team to sponsor Bell in the Phoenix International Raceway event. Bell qualified 22nd and when the green flag waved under the lights in Phoenix; he was headed to the front. With each lap, Bell was determined to hold his own and not get pushed around on the tight turns of the Arizona short track. He maintained that focus all race, bringing the #11 Fueled by Fans.com Toyota Tundra home in the 13th position in the Lucas Oil 150.

Bell and the team worked on his Toyota Tundra in two practice sessions on Thursday and really felt they had a strong truck for the Friday night race. Despite the event falling on Friday the 13th, Bell planned to turn the "bad luck day" into good luck for his team.

He qualified 22nd for the Lucas Oil 250. When the green flag dropped just a few hours later, Bell was on a mission to get to the front. In the first two laps, he had moved from 22nd to the 19th spot. Bell reported that his truck was tight in the center of the corners so when the caution came out on lap seven, crew chief Rick Gay called his driver to pit road. Taking fuel and a wedge adjustment only, Bell restarted 29th.

Just two laps after the restart Bell had repeated his earlier progress; picking up the 23rd spot on lap 13. He continued to move through the field, reaching the 18th spot on lap 20. Bell reported that his Tundra felt much better in the center of the corners after that adjustment but was still tight off. Another caution came out on lap 34 and Bell hit pit road once again. Taking four fresh tires on lap 35, he returned the following lap for fuel and another wedge adjustment. Quick work on pit road put Bell in the 18th spot for the restart.

Once the green flag was back in the air, it didn't take him long to claim the 12th spot. Reporting that his Tundra was a little too free off of the corners but was turning really well, Bell maintained the 12th spot for 20 laps. On lap 64, he radioed the crew that his truck was starting to get tighter in the center and off of the corners and then seemed to snap loose. Fighting with the condition, Bell slipped back to the 17th position and eventually lost a lap to the leader on lap 89. The caution flag came out the very next lap and Bell received the "lucky dog" award and was put back on the lead lap. He hit pit road on lap 92 for four fresh tires and returned the following lap for fuel and another wedge adjustment. He restarted 17th.

Catching a break with the "lucky dog" award, Bell wanted to make the best of their good fortune. He was more determined than ever to pick up as many spots as he could in the final 50 laps of the race. Bell worked his way to the 15th position by lap 114 and told the crew his truck started off the run feeling pretty loose but was coming in. A caution came out on lap 121 and Gay told Bell to stay out. With only 24 laps to go, he restarted from the 14th spot.

Bell exercised aggressive patience as he worked on the trucks in front of him while simultaneously making sure no one got by him from behind. Bell worked his way to the 11th spot but got bumped from behind and shuffled out of the way by three trucks the very next lap. He was sitting 15th, frustrated but unwilling to give up. The caution came out on lap 145 and set the field up for a green/white/checkered finish. Bell took the restart from the 15th spot and in one lap, clawed his way to the 13th spot before the caution came out again ending the race. Bell earned a hard fought 13th place finish in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Miami, Florida this weekend. The Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is scheduled for Friday, November 20th. It will be televised on SPEED Channel at 8:00p.m. EST.

-credit: rhr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Teams Red Horse Racing