FORT WORTH, Texas – Christopher Bell was declared the winner of Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winstaronlinegaming.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway in a controversial finish.
Bell was the dominant truck most of the evening, but he faced intense pressure from rookie Chase Briscoe during the final stage of the 167-lap event.
The controversy occurred in the final 15 laps. A caution flag with 14 laps left for the expiring engine in Cody Coughlin’s Toyota Tundra. Bell, who started 21st, was the leader at the time with Briscoe lined up alongside him in second.
The field returned to racing with eight laps left with Bell and Briscoe racing side-by-side in a battle for the lead. Just as the field completed a lap the caution waved again, this time for a crash involving Daytona winner Kaz Grala and Myatt Snider in turn four.
When the caution flag waved NASCAR officials determined that Briscoe was leading at the previous timing line, giving Briscoe the lead for what would be a two-lap dash to the checkered flag.
When the green flag waved again Briscoe and Bell were all over each other. Briscoe appeared to get the better restart, but Bell drove around his outside and was side-by-side with Briscoe as the exited turn two.
They stayed that way through turn three and in turn four Briscoe briefly bobbled, allowing Bell to edge ahead out of the corner.
As Bell and Briscoe continued to battle for the lead, mayhem broke out behind them. Austin Wayne Self got loose in turn four, sliding up the track and making contact with Johnny Sauter. Self’s truck slide back down to the inside of the track, making contact with Timothy Peters.
The contact with Self sent Peters’ truck into the infield grass, where he flipped violently before his truck came to rest on its roof just past the start-finish line. Peters eventually climbed from his truck unhurt and walked to a waiting ambulance.
Meanwhile, the question on everyone’s mind was who had won the race. After a few moments NASCAR officials declared Bell the winner, but video replays seemed to show Briscoe ahead at the time of the caution flag.
Under NASCAR rules, the race winner when the caution flag waves on the final lap is decided by video and any other available evidence.
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Steve O’Donnell later shared a photo on Twitter showing the moment of caution, which clearly showed Bell in front when the caution flag waved on the final lap.
Exact time of caution-4 is in front. Very close. Tv did not show correct shot prior to going off the air-This is how call was determined pic.twitter.com/8lOID7ttif
— Steve O’Donnell (@odsteve) June 10, 2017
“It’s just a dream come true to be able to win here in Texas,” Bell said after his second victory of the year. “All of the Tundras are built right here in Texas so it is a huge win for us and everybody at Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. Our JBL Toyota was super, super good.”
Briscoe, who was driving Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford, was humble in defeat.
“It was close, I know that much,” Briscoe said. “It was a fun race. It was awesome racing with Christopher. Me and Bell are really good friends. We’ve literally known each other for the last six or seven years and we’re always racing, so it’s fun to put on a show with him.
“I know I enjoyed it and I hope the fans enjoyed it. Overall, definitely wanted to get the win…tough. We’re going to St. Louis next weekend and see if we can put this Cooper Standard Ford finally in victory lane.”
Grant Enfinger finished third, followed by Ryan Truex in fourth and Ben Rhodes in fifth. Sauter, who won the first stage of the race was unofficially scored in eighth at the checkered flag.
For full results, advance to the next page.