Christopher Bell wins at Gateway; 50th Truck triumph for Kyle Busch Motorsports


Christopher Bell held off a last-lap surge by Ben Rhodes to win Saturday’s wild Drivin’ for Linemen 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Bell earned his second career series win, having also won last year at Eldora. He also scored Kyle Busch Motorsports’ 50th Truck Series win, which ties Roush-Fenway Racing for the record for most all-time in the series by a team owner.

MORE: Townley, Gallagher wreck, wrestle and then slug it out after Gateway wreck

MORE: Results of Saturday’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 Truck race at Gateway

MORE: Byron takes over lead in Truck Series standings after Gateway

“This one is for my guys,” said Bell, who led 38 of 160 laps, in victory lane to Fox Sports 1. “They deserve this one. We’ve been so fast all year long and I kept making a lot of mistakes. Track position was everything.”

So was Bell’s determination on the final restart with two laps left. Rhodes challenged Bell but the latter’s Toyota was just a bit stronger than Rhodes’ Toyota. One of the biggest keys to the win was how he ran his line in the last two laps following the final restart, Bell said.

“I figured the safest thing was to run the bottom because I knew my truck was turning pretty good,” he said.

Rhodes, who started on the pole, finished second, followed by Daniel Hemric, Johnny Sauter and Erik Jones.

“(Bell) did an awesome job all night,” Rhodes said to FS1. “He raced everybody clean and with respect and we could use a little more of that in this series after this crazy Drivin’ for Linemen 200.”

Rhodes’ calling the race “crazy” was fitting — there were six wrecks, including one with six laps left that saw John Wes Townley exit his truck and then go after Spencer Gallagher (who was also in the wreck), putting him in a headlock, wrestling him to the ground and punching Gallagher.

William Byron, who won the last two Truck races, finished 17th.

HOW BELL WON: Bell took the lead on Lap 153, waited out the red flag and caution periods for the John Wes Townley/Spencer Gallagher wreck, fight and clean-up, and refused to give up the lead to Ben Rhodes when the race resumed with two laps left.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Rhodes earned a Truck Series career-best second-place finish. … Defending Truck Series champ Erik Jones, making his first start of the season in a truck (he now races full-time in the Xfinity Series) rallied from an early wreck with Cameron Hayley to finish fifth. … Jordan Anderson bounced back from a late wreck to finish 11th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After wrecking his primary truck in practice earlier in the day, Rico Abreu suffered clutch problems prior to the start of the race. His team fixed the problem, but Abreu was unable to finish higher than 14th. … Engine issues forced Brandon Brown to fail to start the race and was scored last in the 32-truck field. … It’s likely John Wes Townley will face penalties for wrestling and punching Spencer Gallagher on the racing surface after their late-race crash.

NOTABLE: The race was red flagged for six minutes, 30 seconds on Lap 120 when Jordan Anderson, Austin Wayne Self and Jennifer Jo Cobb were involved in a wreck. After Anderson and Self got together, Self’s truck was hit broadside by Cobb, with both trucks sustaining heavy damage. … Teammates Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric were battling for fifth place when they made slight contact on Lap 72 and Hemric went spinning, sustaining just minor damage. Hemric rebounded to finish third, while Reddick finished 25th. … The start of the race was delayed nearly 90 minutes to dry the track after rain.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I had a blast tonight. Career-best finish of second is great, but after tasting (a chance at victory) for four times now and haven’t been able to go home and get it, that’s been tough, but hopefully here soon. We’re just going to keep pushing forward.” – Ben Rhodes, who finished second.

WHAT’S NEXT: The series has next weekend off before resuming Thursday, July 7, at Kentucky Speedway (green flag is 8:30 p.m. ET).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Sunday Cup race at Sonoma Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


The Cup Series heads to wine country to compete on the 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway. This race leads into the final off weekend of the season. After the break, the series races 20 consecutive weekends. NBC and USA will broadcast those races.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Adam Devine will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:50 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:45 p.m. … Driver intros are at 3 p.m. … Earl Smith, pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, will give the invocation at 3:30 p.m. … Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 110 laps (218.9 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 55.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Daniel Suarez won his first career Cup race last year at Sonoma. Chris Buescher finished second. Michael McDowell placed third.


Friday 5: Kyle Busch, Randall Burnett forming potent combination

Rick Hendrick hopes rough driving settles down after Chase Elliott suspension

Concussion-like symptoms sideline Noah Gragson

NASCAR implements safety changes after Talladega crash

Dr. Diandra: Brad Keselowski driving RFK Racing revival 

NASCAR penalizes Erik Jones, Legacy MC for L1 violation

Drivers to watch at Sonoma Raceway 

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Sonoma Raceway


Cup and Xfinity teams will be on track Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.

Cup teams will practice and qualify for Sunday’s race. Xfinity teams will qualify and race Saturday on the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California.

Sonoma Raceway


Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 75 degrees. Forecast is for mostly cloudy skies, a high of 71 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race.

Saturday, June 10

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 3 – 4 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 5 – 6 p.m. — Cup practice  (FS2)
  • 6 – 7 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS2)
  • 8 p.m. — Xfinity race (79 laps, 156.95 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Alpha Prime Racing’s road woes don’t keep team from competing


SONOMA, Calif. — Alpha Prime Racing owner Tommy Joe Martins laughs. He can. His Xfinity Series cars all are here at Sonoma Raceway.

At one point last week, it was not certain if his team’s cars would make it to Portland International Raceway.

“It was probably the toughest professional week I’ve had of my NASCAR career,” Martins told NBC Sports on Friday at Sonoma.

MORE: Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma

The Alpha Prime Racing team had both its trucks break down and one of its haulers have mechanical issues last week on the way to the Pacific Northwest.

“We basically sent four pieces of equipment on the road and three of them broke,” Martins said.

For a time, the car Sage Karam is driving this weekend at Sonoma was left in a hauler in Kansas City because there wasn’t room in the dually Martins sent. It had room only for the car that was needed at Portland and other equipment. Karam’s car, which was to be a backup at Portland, was left behind.

“It’s a very helpless feeling when you feel like your stuff is stuck on the side of the road,” Martins said.

He still has one truck still in St. Louis and another in Oregon. Martins estimates the mechanical issues will cost his team about $50,000 when everything is totaled.

Trouble started well before the team left its Mooresville, North Carolina, race shop for Portland.

The Xfinity Series race at Charlotte was scheduled to run May 27. Rain forced that event to be rescheduled to May 29. Martins said the team had planned to send its trucks to Portland on May 28. With the race pushed back to the 29th, the travel schedule tightened.

It got worse.

After the Xfinity race started, rain came. With the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for 3 p.m. ET that day – after being delayed by rain from Sunday – the rest of the Xfinity race was pushed back until after the 600. That further tightened the window on Xfinity teams to make it to Portland.

The Xfinity race ended around 11:30 p.m. ET on May 29. Alpha Prime Racing’s haulers left the shop around 6 a.m. ET on May 30.

The two trucks traveled together until issues in St. Louis.

The truck hauling the Nos. 44 and 45 cars had engine issues in St. Louis. The other truck kept going until it had mechanical issues with its hauler in Kansas City. The air bags on the hauler failed.

So, Alpha Prime Racing had a truck that worked in Kansas City with a hauler that didn’t and a truck that didn’t work in St. Louis with a hauler that did.

The truck in Kansas City went back to St. Louis to attach to the hauler and take those cars and equipment to Portland. Martins then had to find something to haul the stranded equipment in Kansas City and a driver. He eventually did. A dually left North Carolina for Kansas City. Once there, what fit in the dually was taken to Portland and what didn’t, including Karam’s Sonoma car stayed behind.

Yet, more trouble was headed for Martins and his team.

The truck that had gone back from Kansas City to St. Louis to take hauler that worked then broke down about 200 miles from Portland.

“I laugh knowing that we’re on the other side of it,” Martins said Friday of all the issues his team had transporting cars and equipment across the country.

“We’ve started to make plans and corrections for it not happening again,” he said.

That hauler that was left in Kansas City? It was repaired and transported to Sonoma, arriving earlier this week.

“Our guys are troopers,” Martins said. “Both of our (truck) drivers were just awesome about the whole thing. … They went through hell week as far as driving somewhere, fly back and pick something up, drive again and now are going to have to do the same thing getting back.”

When the garage opened Friday at Sonoma, Alpha Prime Racing had all its cars.

“I don’t think we had any major issues here, so that was good,” Martins said.

The focus is back on the track. Karam was 24th on the speed chart in Friday’s practice, leading Alpha Prime Racing’s effort. Dylan Lupton was 32nd. Jeffrey Earnhardt was last among 41 cars.

After Saturday night’s race, the team heads back to North Carolina for a well-earned weekend off.

Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Xfinity Series practice at Sonoma Raceway.

This is the first time the series has raced at the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California. Teams got 50 minutes of practice Friday.

Larson led the way with a lap of 90.392 mph. He was more than a second faster than the rest of the field.

MORE: Xfinity practice results Sonoma

Sheldon Creed was second on the speed chart with a lap of 89.066 mph. He was followed by AJ Allmendinger (89.052 mph), Cole Custer (89.020) and Ty Gibbs (88.989).

Larson, Allmendinger and Gibbs are among seven Cup drivers are entered in the Xfinity race. Aric Almirola was seventh on the speed chart with a lap of 88.750 mph. Ross Chastain was ninth with a lap of 88.625 mph. Daniel Suarez was 16th with a lap of 88.300 mph. Ty Dillon was 33rd with a lap of 86.828 mph.

Anthony Alfredo will go to a backup car after a crash in practice. He was uninjured in the incident that damaged the right side of his car.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Saturday. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

Anthony Alfredo’s car after a crash in Xfinity practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway. He was uninjured. (Photo: Dustin Long)