Iowa: TJ Bell race report

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A SEVENTH PLACE FINISH IN THE INAGURAL RACE AT IOWA SPEEDWAY. After capturing the outside pole for the Lucas Oil 200, Bell ran an impressive race capping off a strong weekend for the ...

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A SEVENTH PLACE FINISH IN THE INAGURAL RACE AT IOWA SPEEDWAY.

After capturing the outside pole for the Lucas Oil 200, Bell ran an impressive race capping off a strong weekend for the #11 Red Horse Racing team.

NEWTON, IA. (September 5, 2009)- The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series headed to Iowa Speedway for the first time in series history this past weekend. TJ Bell and his #11 Red Horse Racing team were ready to take on a new track with a new set of challenges. They seemed to be on top of their game right from the start. Bell was one of the five fastest trucks in four practice sessions and easily put his #11 Toyota Tundra on the outside pole for the 200-lap event. After starting the race from the second spot, Bell was able to hold his own in the top-five for much of the event. Bell battled a tight condition to bring home a seventh place finish in the inaugural race at Iowa Speedway.

Having never competed on the 7/8-mile track before, NASCAR gave all the teams four practice sessions on Friday and one final practice on Saturday. Bell sat at the top of the speed chart in the first practice session and was one of the top-five fastest trucks both days. Feeling confident he had a strong machine under him, Bell put his #11 Tundra on the provisional pole after his qualifying run. Another competitor knocked him to the second spot but Bell knew his truck would be fast in the race.

When the green flag dropped on the Lucas Oil 200, the third place truck went three wide with Bell and the leader. Bell backed out of the dicey move to keep his truck out of trouble. That decision put him in the fifth spot but Bell knew if would be just a matter of laps before he got the positions back. A quick caution came out on lap one and then another on lap five. Bell restarted fifth but the truck was so fast, he worked his way into the third position on lap 14. Bell radioed the crew that his Tundra was tight up off the turns. As the laps wore on he slipped back to the fourth spot and was happy to see the caution flag wave on lap 57. Hoping for some relief, Bell hit pit road on lap 59 for four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment. He returned the following lap for fuel and a minor wedge adjustment. Quick work on pit road gained Bell two positions on the track and he restarted from the second spot.

Bell was determined to keep his spot and even when challenged by a hard charging competitor, he held the second position. He radioed the crew that the #11 Tundra was pretty free getting into the corners but would probably feel better when the tire pressures came up. 100 laps into the 200-lap event, Bell was still second and running some of his fastest lap times of the race. The third place truck was fighting hard for Bell's position and even took the #11 and a lap down truck three-wide to get the spot. Bell wanted to make sure another's risky move didn't end his night so he backed out and took the third spot. A caution flag flew on lap 109 and Bell told crew chief Rick Gay he needed more over all grip and felt like the other trucks were better than him in the center of the corners. Gay came up with a plan to fix the truck and called his driver to pit road on lap 112. Taking four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment, Bell returned the following lap to fill up with fuel. Some trucks opted to take fuel only or just two tires, so Bell restarted from the seventh spot.

With just over 80 laps left in the race, Bell's Tundra was still fast but the trucks were spread out on the track and it was so difficult to pass, he maintained his seventh position but couldn't make up any ground. As the laps worn on, Bell reported than his truck was becoming tighter and tighter in the center of the corners. Struggling with that condition, Bell was still able to hold off his teammate Timothy Peters in the closing laps of the race. He crossed the start/finish line in the seventh spot to cap off a great weekend for the #11 Red Horse Racing team. It marked the third top-10 finish for the team in the last four races.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to St. Louis, Missouri this weekend.

-credit: rhr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Timothy Peters
Teams Red Horse Racing