TJ BELL AND HIS ...
TJ BELL AND HIS #11 RED HORSE RACING TEAM BRING HOME AN 18TH PLACE FINISH IN MEMPHIS.
Bell took advantage of pit strategy and led the race early but a loose condition in his Toyota Tundra kept him from earning the top-10 finish he wanted in the MemphisTravel.com 200.
MILLINGTON, TN. (June 27, 2009)- TJ Bell and his #11 Red Horse Racing had but one goal heading into the Memphis race weekend--hoist the Elvis trophy in the air. It looked like the team would have a great shot at achieving that goal when Bell took the lead of the race early on. A late developing loose condition in his #11 Toyota Tundra kept Bell from taking Elvis home but the team was happy to have a decent finish after a long string of bad luck that seems to have turned around in the "Home of the Blues."
After two practice sessions on Friday, the #11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra was strong. Bell finished final practice fifth quick. During qualifying, Bell felt he drove his machine into the corners just a little too deep and the result was a much slower time than he wanted. He started the MemphisTravel.com 200 in the 24th position but knew his truck was capable of running up front when the green flag dropped.
Just as he suspected, when the race started the #11 Tundra came alive and Bell passed five trucks in the first seven laps to take over the 19th position. He reported that the truck was tight off but he was still picking up spots almost every lap. Bell was running 17th when the first caution of the day came out on lap 12. Crew chief Rick Gay opted to work a different pit strategy than the leaders and brought Bell to pit road on lap 13 for four fresh tires. He returned the following lap for a splash of gas and to allow the crew to put a rubber in the right rear to help the tight condition. Since few other trucks pitted, Bell restarted 30th.
When the green flag flew, Bell was on the move again. By lap 49, he had climbed to the 14th position after restarting near the back of the field. Another caution came out on lap 51 and the #11 hit pit road for fuel only on lap 53. All the other trucks pitted twice for tires and fuel. The #11 Red Horse Racing team's choice to pit just once for fuel put Bell in the lead for the restart.
Bell brought the field to the green flag and led them off into turn one. Hard charging trucks with fresh tires took the lead from Bell and he slipped back to the sixth position. Still reporting that the truck was tight center and off, Bell and Gay discussed making a wedge adjustment on the next pit stop. The #11 machine held its own in the sixth position until lap 78. As the tires started to wear out, Bell began slipping back in the field, eventually falling to the 18th position before he would have a chance to pit again.
The caution came out on lap 109 and Gay called his driver to pit road on lap 112. The crew worked quickly to give Bell four fresh tires. He returned the following lap for fuel and a wedge adjustment. Bell restarted 18th.
The #11 Toyota Tundra moved up to the 16th spot on lap 122 but the condition of the truck seemed to change dramatically. Bell reported being too loose and could not make up any ground on the race track. He spent the final 65 laps running in the 18th spot. When the race ended with a green/white/checkered finish, Bell crossed the finish line in the 18th position. Although it was not the finish they were hoping for, the #11 Red Horse Racing team was happy to bring home the truck in good shape and complete all the laps for the first time since Texas Motor Speedway three weeks ago.
The NASCAR Camping World Series will enjoy two weekends off and then head to Sparta, Kentucky. The Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway is scheduled for Saturday evening, July 18th.