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Bell wins TMS truck race by inches under caution

Profile image for Stephen Hawkins
Stephen Hawkins, AP

FORT WORTH -- Christopher Bell won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway under caution Friday night, taking the white flag side-by-side with Chase Briscoe before a wreck behind them left a truck upside down on the frontstretch.

After a restart with two laps left, Bell and Briscoe were side-by-side and stayed that way the entire way around the 1 1/2-mile track back to the line. Bell had his No. 4 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch only inches and two-thousandths of a second ahead when they got to the white flag. The yellow flag came out right after that, and NASCAR determined upon video review that Bell was still ahead at that time.

Because the leaders had taken the white flag, the race was over.

"It's tough -- a split-second decision of when the yellow gets thrown is the difference between who won," Bell said. "If the yellow comes a couple of feet earlier, a couple of feet later, I don't win."

The 10th and final caution came out when Austin Self's truck collided with Timothy Peters, whose No. 99 Chevrolet ended up in the infield grass and flipped over onto its top before sliding along the frontstretch and coming to a stop on its roof near the start/finish line.

Peters remained in the truck for several minutes before safety workers turned it upright. He then got out and walked away to the cheers of fans in the stands.

Briscoe had his career-best finish in the No. 29 Ford, the only non-Toyota in the top five. Grant Enfinger was third, followed by Ryan Truex and Ben Rhodes.

Bell, from Norman, Oklahoma, led 92 of 167 laps after starting 21st. The only driver to win from further back at TMS was Todd Bodine when he won after starting 22nd in the fall 2004 race.

Within the first 11 laps, even though seven of those were under caution, Bell had already gained nine spots to 12. By the end of 25 laps, Bell was running second to Johnny Sauter -- and they were in the same order after the first 40-lap stage. Bell won the second stage.

Sauter, who got his third Fort Worth win last fall, finished eighth.

Peters was driving in his first race in the No. 99 Chevrolet for MDM Motorsports. Peters missed the last race when he was left without a ride when Red Horse Racing suddenly shut down after his fifth-place finish at Charlotte on May 19. Even with the finish on his roof, Peters was 13th.

The polesitter, 18-year-old rookie Noah Gragson, finished seventh after receiving his high school diploma from K12 International Academy during a prerace ceremony. Gragson got to don a cap and gown and walk across the stage to "Pomp and Circumstance" to receive his diploma from Eddie Gossage, the TMS president who presided over similar ceremonies before truck races for Cole Custer last year and Erik Jones in 2014.

In the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Gragson led twice for 13 laps -- the first time he's ever led a lap. But he had to make an unscheduled stop under green with about 65 laps remaining because of a loose left wheel.