Christopher Bell sweeps all three stages in Atlanta Truck win
Christopher Bell became the first driver to sweep all three stages of a NASCAR race.
After dominating the first two stages of Saturday night’s Active 200 Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bell had to hold off Matt Crafton on a two-lap dash to the finish to earn his third series victory.
Johnny Sauter finished third, Ben Rhodes was fourth and Chase Elliott ended up fourth.
“I was just trying to do everything I could to get the best restart I could,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “I didn’t get my momentum broken.
“These Truck races are really tough to get restarts going because it’s so aero-dependent. You can get all sorts of momentum or you can get all sorts of momentum taken away from you. That happened to be there in the middle section of the race.”
Bell called his No. 4 Toyota a “dream machine.”
“Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job preparing this thing,” he said. “It was really fast all weekend.”
Jordan Anderson hit the wall to bring out a caution on Lap 104 of 130 which sent most lead-lap cars to pit road.
Grant Enfinger elected not to pit and took over the lead on the restart on Lap 112 followed by Austin Dillon, Crafton, Sauter and Bell.
"I think that was as good a restart as I could have gotten. I thought it was pretty perfect but not perfect enough," Crafton said of the final restart battle with Bell. "Maybe if I had some help from Johnny (Sauter), but I thought we did pretty good."
Kyle Busch, who started sixth on the restart, cut a tire and hit the wall on the restart and was knocked out of contention for a sweep of the NASCAR doubleheader on Saturday.
Bell dominated the second 40-lap segment, easily holding off his owner, Busch, by nearly 12 seconds for the stage victory.
Rhodes finished third in the segment, Timothy Peters was fourth and Crafton was fifth.
Just before the conclusion of the stage, John Hunter Nemechek – who won this race a year ago – slammed into the outside wall and was forced to pit road. He eventually went to the garage and was forced out of the race.
All of the lead lap trucks pit during the break with Busch emerging off pit road first and took over the race lead at the start of the final stage followed by Bell and Sauter.
Bell started on the pole and led every lap of the first 40-lap segment, easily holding off Busch for the stage victory.
Crafton finished the segment third, Rhodes was fourth and Austin Cindric was fifth.
The top 10 finishers of each segment are awarded points on a 10-to-1 scale.
Noah Gragson and Brett Moffitt got collected in an accident on the first lap of the race. Both drivers were able to remain on the lead lap and continue on.
Analysis: GMS Racing is going toe-to-toe with KBM in Trucks
Where are they now? – Robert Huffman