Christopher Bell scores his first NASCAR win in the MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.
Same truck. Same result. Different up-and-coming driver.
Christopher Bell, a standout sprint car driver on dirt, looked right in his element on Wednesday night as he held off a fierce challenge from Bobby Pierce in a two-lap overtime to win the MudSummer Classic at historic Eldora Speedway.
If somebody told me my first win at Eldora was going to come in a NASCAR Truck, I would have told you you’re crazy
Race winner Christopher Bell
Bell, 20, won in just his third start in the Camping World Truck Series, all for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Bell won in the same No. 54 Toyota used by last season’s winner, Darrell Wallace Jr., who now competes fulltime in the Xfinity Series.
“If somebody told me my first win at Eldora was going to come in a NASCAR Truck, I would have told you you’re crazy,” said Bell. “It’s awesome what NASCAR has done, getting to be able to come here to Eldora.
“I’d like to see a couple more dirt tracks on the schedule.”
Bell was met in Victory Lane by track owner and Sprint Cup Series veteran Tony Stewart, who congratulated him on the win.
Pierce fights hard
Pierce, 18, established early in the day he had a fast truck. He won the pole in single-lap qualifying runs and earned the top starting position in the race by winning his qualifying race.
He and Bell battled virtually the entire race up front and for the entire third segment, Pierce threw his truck all over the track – including into the wall – as he desperately tried to knock Bell off his rhythm.
Tyler Reddick finished third, Erik Jones was fourth and Daniel Hemric ended up fifth.
“That was something. It was a great show for the fans, it’s definitely different for drivers,” Jones said. “We were the best at the end.”
The race was slowed by a record number of cautions (13). Championship leader Matt Crafton finished ninth, losing ground to title rival Reddick, who brought the points margin down to just 14.
Earlier in the day, Pierce, Nemecheck, Schrader, Bell and Reddick won the five qualifying races, while Pierce won the official pole for the race during single-lap qualifying runs.