Las Vegas: TJ Bell race report

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A 12TH PLACE FINISH AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. Bell battled a loose race truck but was able to earn his second 12th place finish in a row. LAS VEGAS, NV. (September 26, 2009)- Nevada native, TJ Bell couldn't wait to...

TJ BELL BRINGS HOME A 12TH PLACE FINISH AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.

Bell battled a loose race truck but was able to earn his second 12th place finish in a row.

LAS VEGAS, NV. (September 26, 2009)- Nevada native, TJ Bell couldn't wait to race on his home track in front of all his home state fans. Hoping that Lady Luck would be on his side, Bell prepared for a good weekend in Sin City. The #11 Red Horse Racing team used two practice sessions to get their Toyota Tundra handling well. Bell qualified 13th and when the Las Vegas 350 went green, he was determined to earn a good finish for this team. He fought a very loose race truck for much of the 146-lap event. After running in the top-10, Bell was so loose his #11 became difficult to drive. He eventually lost a lap to the leaders and fought hard to bring home a 12th place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The #11 Red Horse Racing team spent two practice sessions on Saturday morning preparing their Toyota Tundra for the Las Vegas 350 under the lights just miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Feeling good about the condition of his truck in practice, Bell put the #11 in the 13th starting spot.

When the green flag dropped, Bell wasted no time working on the competition. On lap 12 he radioed the crew that his truck was too loose to run the bottom groove of the race track. Staying in the high groove, Bell lost two positions and found himself in the 15th spot when the caution flag flew on lap 21. Crew chief, Rick Gay, called his driver to pit road for four fresh tires. Bell returned the following lap for fuel and a track bar adjustment to help the loose condition. He restarted 16th.

Just after the green flag flew, Bell reported a major problem. He told the crew that his #11 was too loose to drive. Gay told Bell the tires they had just put on the truck must have been a bad set. Forced to make the best of the situation, Gay brought Bell back to pit road when the caution came out again on lap 35. Bell picked up a substantial wedge adjustment. The crew also pulled tape off the nose of the truck and topped it off with fuel. Bell restarted 16th.

The adjustment helped improve the condition of the truck enough that Bell could pick up a few spots. He claimed the 14th position on lap 49. Bell once again came on the radio to tell the team that his truck was bouncing off the left front and then snapping loose. He said his Tundra seemed to be getting worse with each lap. Another caution flew on lap 49 and Bell headed to pit road for more help. The team made a shock adjustment and filled the #11 with fuel. Bell restarted 10th.

When green flag racing resumed, Bell was able to work his way to the eighth spot. He held onto his position in the top-10 for several laps but the longer he ran, the more difficult his truck was to drive. Bell slipped back to the 15th spot by lap 70. He told the crew that the front end of his #11 Tundra was bouncing off the track like a pogo stick. Bell continued to slip back in the field, fighting a very loose truck. He was passed by the leader on lap 93 and was running in the 19th position, one lap down.

As the race continued under green flag conditions, Bell was getting close to his fuel window and knew he would probably have to make a green flag stop. Other competitors peeled off the race track to make their fuel stops and Bell followed on lap 110. Taking fuel and a track bar adjustment only, the #11 merged back on the track in the 17th spot.

Bell worked his way to the 14th position but told the crew his truck felt even worse. A caution flag flew on lap 119 and Bell hit pit road again for fresh tires. Taking four fresh Goodyears on lap 120, he returned the following lap for another wedge adjustment. Bell restarted 13th. He spent the remaining 22 laps maintaining his track position and working to get every thing he could before the race ended. Bell picked up the 12th spot and held on to it until the checkered flag waved. He earned his second 12th place finish in a row and his eighth top-12 of the season.

-credit: rhr

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Series NASCAR Truck
Teams Red Horse Racing