Christopher Bell

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Camping World Truck Series points after New Hampshire

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Christopher Bell advanced to the second round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs after his win Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell also is the points leader. He has a 40-point lead on Johnny Sauter. Matt Crafton is one point behind Sauter.

Two drivers will be eliminated after the second round, which ends after races at Las Vegas and Talladega.

Kaz Grala sits on the sixth and final transfer spot. He has a three-point lead on Chase Briscoe and a seven-point lead on John Hunter Nemechek.

Click here for points report

 

Results of Truck playoff opener at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Christopher Bell scored his fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Ryan Truex tied his career-best result by finishing second. Todd Gilliland placed a career-best third.

NH II Truck Race Results

Christopher Bell opens Truck playoffs by winning at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Christopher Bell passed Ryan Truex for the lead with 16 laps left and went on to win the opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff race Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The victory is the fifth of the season for Bell, the regular-season champion, and advances him to the second round. Bell, who started second, also won both stages Saturday.

“Now we can be more aggressive at Vegas and especially at Talladega and try to win the race,” Bell said of the next two races in the opening round of the playoffs.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report 

Truex finished second to tie his career-best finish. Todd Gilliland placed a career-best third, overcoming a penalty for running over pit equipment early in the 175-lap race. Grant Enfinger was fourth. Stewart Friesen completed the top five. Four of the top five spots were taken by non-playoff drivers.

Defending series champion Johnny Sauter finished ninth. He was running seventh when he was struck in the passenger side door by a spinning Noah Gragson on Lap 64 and fought the truck’s handling after that.

“From there, it was try to fix it as best we could,” Sauter said. “Tailpipes were missing. You can’t compete at that level with that kind of damage. We’re just lucky it wasn’t something major. It could have been a spindle or a right front suspension.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

HOW CHRISTOPHER BELL WON: He simply had the best truck. After battling Ryan Truex for the lead late, Bell pulled away for the easy win.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Runner-up Ryan Truex scored his fifth top-five finish in the last six races. … Todd Gilliland, making his fourth career series start, finished a career-best third. … Grant Enfinger placed fourth to record his second consecutive top-five finish. … After Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton was the next highest-finishing playoff driver. Crafton placed sixth.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: John Hunter Nemechek started 14th (worst among playoff drivers) and went to the garage on Lap 44 for a gear change. He lost more than 30 laps for repairs and finished 20th. … Pole-sitter Noah Gragson led 40 laps before spinning and suffering damage when he hit Johnny Sauter’s truck. Gragson finished 15th in the 29-truck field.

NOTABLE: This marked the first time in the last six Truck races at New Hampshire that the pole winner didn’t win the race.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s an honor to drive for you guys,’’ Christopher Bell told his Kyle Busch Motorsports team on the radio.

NEXT: Saturday, Sept. 30 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1)

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Noah Gragson wins pole for New Hampshire Truck race

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Noah Gragson scored his third pole of the season Saturday for this afternoon’s Camping World Truck Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Gragson won the pole for the Truck Series’ opening playoff race with a lap of 131.811 mph.

The pole winner at New Hampshire has gone on to win the race the last five consecutive times.

Playoff driver Christopher Bell starts second after a lap of 131.770 mph. He was followed by playoff contenders Johnny Sauter (131.333 mph) and Ben Rhodes (131.112). Todd Gilliland starts fifth.

John Hunter Nemechek was the only playoff driver not to advance to the final round. He will start 14th.

Click here for starting lineup

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Christopher Bell fastest in final Truck practice at New Hampshire

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Christopher Bell was fastest in the second and final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice session Friday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell covered the 1.058-mile flat track with a top speed of 132.877 mph.

Ben Rhodes was second (132.301 mph), followed by Todd Gilliland (132.213), Matt Crafton (132.122) and Noah Gragson (132.071).

Sixth through 10th were Johnny Sauter (132.016), Austin Cindric (131.865), Grant Enfinger (131.683), Ryan Truex (131.656) and Kaz Grala ((131.533).

Qualifying for the UNOH 175 takes place Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, while the green flag for the race drops three hours later at 1 p.m. ET. Both qualifying and the race will be televised on FoxSports1.

Click here for the full speed grid from the final Truck practice.