Friday night was Christopher Bell's first time competing at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), but it was not the first race he had seen there. The Norman, Okla., native came to watch the NASCAR races at TMS when he was just 14-years-old, and could only dream of racing there himself one day. Bell's dream came true as he made his Texas debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ended the night with a solid eighth-place finish.
Bell started the race in 11th, but fell back early since his JBL Tundra was too tight to run in the top 10. He was 15th as the field began to cycle through green-flag pit stops on lap 43. The JBL team brought Bell to pit road on lap 46 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to free up the truck. Unfortunately there was an issue during the stop which kept the gasman from being able to get enough fuel in the tank.
Bell caught a lucky break when the only caution of the race came on lap 55 for debris. This allowed him to pit again for another adjustment and top-off his fuel. With only 15 trucks on the lead lap, the extra stop did not cost him any track position.
When the race resumed on lap 60, Bell restarted 14th but made an amazing move around the outside of several trucks to advance his position all the way up to sixth. His JBL Tundra was handling much better and he was able to run fifth during the long green-flag run. He made his final stop of the night on lap 99, but 10 laps after the stop he told the crew he could not throttle up soon enough. Bell ran in eighth place for the final 47 laps of the race and crossed the finish line there.
"I really like racing at Texas," Bell said. "It was awesome to be able to move around so much. I just can't thank all my guys enough, after first practice we were 18th and to be able to come out of here with a top-10 finish was a win for us. I'm disappointed we didn't run up front with our teammates, but I learned a lot and am looking forward to coming back here again. This is probably one of my favorite paved tracks yet.
"I also have to thank JBL and Toyota. It was great to have them here supporting me tonight and to have them on my Tundra for my races. I would have liked to have gotten a win for them tonight, but we still have one more shot at Homestead this season."
KBM's Erik Jones won the race after leading 117 of 147 laps, followed by his teammate Daniel Suarez. Ryan Blaney, Matt Crafton and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top five. The No. 54 team gained one spot to move up to 12th in the owner's championship point standings.