Loudon: TJ Bell race report



Bell and the #11 Red Horse Racing team earned their 10th top-15 finish of the 2009 season.

LOUDON, NH. (September 19, 2009)- TJ Bell and the #11 Red Horse Racing team were looking forward to hitting the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Right from the start of practice, it looked to be a good weekend for the team. Bell qualified 25th and told the crew his Toyota Tundra would be great for the race. He was slowly but surely making progress during the race despite the difficult to pass style of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The team used pit strategy to gain even more ground and Bell worked his way to the fifth position by the half-way point. Fighting a tight-off condition, Bell ran consistent lap times but slipped back a few positions. With just 25 laps to go, Bell was running ninth but had to make a green flag pit stop for fuel along with the rest of the field. Everyone got shuffled up on the green flag stop and Bell found himself in the 14th spot. Unwilling to settle for that position, Bell went to work in the final 20 laps and was able to earn two more positions to bring home a 12th place finish in the Heluva Good 200.

The #11 Red Horse Racing team used two practice sessions on Friday afternoon to prepare their Toyota Tundra for Saturday's 200-lap race. Bell was fifth quick in the first practice session but finished the final practice 19th. Bell qualified on Saturday morning and put the #11 in the 25th starting spot. He told the team not to worry; he said his truck was driving great but just didn't have the speed in qualifying.

When the green flag dropped at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bell was on a mission. He picked up four spots in just the first five laps. A caution came out on lap 37 and Bell told the crew the center of the corners were killing him. Crew chief Rick Gay called his driver to pit road on lap 37 for four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment. Bell returned the following lap for fuel and a wedge adjustment. He picked up four positions on pit road and restarted 17th.

Bell continued his forward progress despite how difficult it was to complete a pass. He worked his way to 15th by lap 56. Bell told the crew that he needed a little more of the previous adjustment the next time they hit pit road. He said the truck seemed to be bouncing all over the place. A caution flag flew on lap 91 and Bell got his chance to hit pit road on lap 93. Giving him only two right side tires, Gay used pit strategy to gain even more track position. Bell came back the following lap for fuel and another wedge adjustment. The gamble worked and Bell restarted fifth on lap 98.

Running consistent lap times, Bell was able to hold his own in the top-10. He slipped back to the ninth spot eventually but wasn't willing to give up. Reporting that the truck was really tight when he was right behind another truck, Bell fought hard to keep the ninth position.

The race went green for almost 70 laps and Bell knew that he would have to hit pit road again for fuel before the end of the race. On lap 169 other competitors began making their green flag pit stops. As the leaders peeled off the track, Bell picked up positions, moving to sixth before he hit pit road himself on lap 173. Taking only a splash of gas, Bell merged back on the track in the 14th spot. Reporting the truck was still tight-off, Bell had to make the most of the situation. In the remaining 25 laps, he was determined to get back inside the top-10. A late race caution on lap 189 bunched all the trucks back up and Bell had a shot at getting those spots back. He got a good restart and went to work on the trucks in front of him. Bell was able to pick up two spots before time ran out. He finished the Heluva Good 200 in the 12th spot.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend. The Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, September 26th. It will be televised on SPEED Channel at 9:30p.m. EDT.

-credit: rhr

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Series NASCAR Truck
Teams Red Horse Racing