It didn’t come easy after having to survive two late-race restarts, but Christopher Bell took the win at Atlanta Motor Speedway after putting on a clinic.
Bell started the day on pole, a feat that wasn’t easy to accomplish as he had to beat out his team owner Kyle Busch for the top spot. The youngster didn’t look back, and led the first 80 laps, which was also the entirety of the first stage.
A slow pit stop after the second stage allowed Busch to grab the lead, and cost Bell several spots. The Oklahoma driver struggled restarting on the high lane, and quickly started dropping back.
Bell was able to get back to the lead with just under 20 laps to go after a caution for Korbin Forrister getting into the back of Jordan Anderson. Anderson’s No. 12 spun through the grass, and nearly flipped when the splitter took a big hit. While the caution turned out to be good for Bell, it was misfortune for his teammate and owner, Busch, who cut down a tire after the restart. Busch would lose three laps, and finish 26th.
With just six laps to go, the caution flew for the final time when Austin Cindric got aero loose trying to pass Grant Enfinger for a top-10 spot. The final caution set up a restart with just two laps to go, and Bell was able to hold off veteran Matt Crafton to score his third career win after leading 99 of 130 laps.
“I was just trying to do everything I could to make sure I got a good restart, and didn’t get my momentum broke,” Bell said in victory lane. “These Truck races are really tough to get restarts going because it’s so aero dependent, and you can get all sorts of momentum, or you can get all sorts of momentum taken away from you. That happened to me there in the middle section of the race.”
Crafton, who wound up finishing second, had only one thing to say after the race at Atlanta, which will be his last time racing on the current track surface.
“Please, please do not repave this racetrack. This is by far the coolest track we race on.”
Johnny Sauter finished third followed by Ben Rhodes, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Grant Enfinger, Timothy Peters and Ross Chastain.
Full results can be found below.