Toyota NCWTS New Hampshire Post-Race Recap

by Official Release On Sat, Sep. 23, 2017

Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race 17 of 23 – 225 miles, 150 laps
September 23, 2017

5th, Stewart Friesen*
*non-Toyota driver

1st, CHRISTOPHER BELL 2100 points#
2nd, Johnny Sauter* 2060 points#
3rd, MATT CRAFTON 2059 points#
4th, BEN RHODES 2050 points#
9th, RYAN TRUEX 591 points
10th, GRANT ENFINGER 548 points
11th, NOAH GRAGSON 519 points
13th, CODY COUGHLIN 368 points
*non-Toyota driver
**unofficial point standings
#competing in 2017 Playoffs

· Tundra driver Christopher Bell scored his fifth victory of the season in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
· Bell capitalized on the first Playoff race of the eight-race NCWTS championship battle by scoring the maximum number of bonus points winning both stages along with the event.
· Bell led a race-high 73 laps (of 150) while fellow Tundra drivers led the remaining laps of the event – Ryan Truex (28 laps), Matt Crafton (17 laps), Ben Rhodes (17 laps) and pole-sitter Noah Gragson (40 laps).
· Toyota drivers Truex (second), Todd Gilliland (third), Grant Enfinger (fourth), Crafton (sixth) and Rhodes (seventh) all earned top-10 finishes.
· Gilliland’s third-place finish marks a career-best in only his fourth start in the NCWTS.


CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 4 SiriusXM/JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 1st
Talk about winning the first race in the Playoffs and sweeping the stage wins.
“It’s a dream come true to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports. These guys do such a good job preparing this SiriusXM Tundra. Just can’t thank all of our partners at JBL, TRD, Toyota, everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports – thank you guys for building such fast trucks. It’s an honor to drive them.”

What enabled you in the end to make that pass on Ryan Truex?
“Well he was doing a really good job of watching his mirror. I knew it was tough to pass all day, but our truck had been so good we hadn’t been able to do it until we got to him. I kept trying to work down and he kept blocking my air down and down and down. Finally, I got one run where I drove up in one and two and then got a big run into three.”

How was your run today?
“This run today is just a credit to everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. They prepared such fast Tundras, it’s a dream come true to be able to drive this thing. I just can’t say enough man about these guys. I’m the one that gets to sit up here and take pictures with the trophy, but my team are the ones that do this. They’ve been so successful with so many different guys, it’s just a credit to them to really show how fast this truck is.”

Was it tough to pass out there today, especially when you were running second to Ryan Truex?
“Yeah, it’s just extremely tough to pass. It’s so flat that you don’t have any banking to lean against. The air is really, really – makes it difficult to get up there and pass them. I could get to his bumper and then I’d screw up and lose the nose and have to fall back five or six car lengths. He did a great job there hanging on and if he didn’t – I kept trying to peel him off the top to get me where I could have an open lane on the top and then finally I did. I could get a run in three.”

Does it take pressure off next week going to Las Vegas knowing that you’re moving on to round two?
“It’s huge to know that we can go and be aggressive at Vegas and Talladega and try and race for more wins. It’s huge for us. You know I’m just happy for all of our partners, you know. To be able to win five races in a year is incredible and really glad that we have SiriusXM on these trucks and JBL and of course Toyota and TRD and Kyle Busch Motorsports – everybody that works on these things and helps us out, this one’s for them.”

How big of a victory was this for you today?
“It was really really big. To be able to win the first race and now we can be more aggressive at Vegas and especially Talladega and try and win the race compared to how I did it last year and just kind of had to take my fifth through eighth place finishes and move on. It’s just a credit to Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and Kyle (Busch, owner) and everyone on this group – this team that I’ve got man. They’ve been the team to beat for several years now with multiple different drivers. It’s a different driver every year and the results are the same every year. It’s just a credit to Rudy and how well he can get his trucks driving. I’m the lucky guy to be in the seat.”

KYLE BUSCH, owner, Kyle Busch Motorsports
How satisfying was it to see Christopher Bell take the lead and close the door?
“A good hard fought battle with Ryan (Truex) up there. We know how good those guys have been here as of late. You know with Christopher being patient and being able to work his way past Ryan was really good obviously for our team and being able to score the victory. Getting these guys to victory lane – getting our Toyota into victory lane for everybody at KBM. It’s nice to see that Christopher and Rudy and the ability that they both have together obviously as they mentioned, it’s a really strong group and I like think that all three teams are strong teams. Just always the veteran driver is taking the lead and being able to push ourselves even harder and make our equipment even better and getting ourselves into victory lane each week. Like Christopher said it’s going to be cool to see these guys go to Vegas and not hold back and give it everything they got and then on to Talladega.”

RUDY FUGLE, crew chief, No. 4 SiriusXM/JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
How are you able to have so much success with different drivers in this truck every year?
“It’s not easy, but the answer is just the people. Best race team, best owner, best manufacturer – Toyota best manufacturer for sure and all the help they get us. Great sponsors and then every one of the drivers have been special, including Christopher. They’re all a little bit different, but they’re all special. And then this race team is just really good at making every which one of our drivers feel like they’re the driver of our team and just getting used to what they’re different niches are and making it happen. Proud to be the leader of this team and company.”

RYAN TRUEX, No. 16 Price Chopper Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Finishing Position: 2nd
Is this second-place finish tough?
“It is. Just that we’ve come so far with this group. I’m so proud of them. I’m glad a Toyota could win. Chris (Bell) has been the best truck all year. When you’ve got the best truck in the field behind you, it makes it tougher. I did everything I could to hold him off. I was trying to take his lane and block and everything, it just didn’t quite have the grip he had. I want to thank him for racing me clean though. It was a fun race. We wouldn’t have been here without Scott Zipadelli (crew chief) making the calls. I didn’t know how this race was going to shake out and every restart I just gave it my all. Lot of three-wide stuff, probably pissed a few people off, but we’re trying to win races and we’re getting close.”

Not the finish you wanted, but talk about trying to hold off Christopher Bell.
“I didn’t think I’d hold him off that long honestly. IT was tough to pass. Restarts were really important and I was very, very aggressive on restarts. The VHT on the very bottom, felt like you could kind of slide job people if you got down in there with all four and kind of just prayed that you were gonna make it at the end of the corner. I drove it in under the 27 (Ben Rhodes) and I didn’t know if I was going to hit him or not, but I didn’t care cause I saw the lead and I just drove it in until I cleared him and moved up. I saw the 4 (Christopher Bell) get clear behind me and I knew he’d be on me and he did the smart thing and just rode behind me, took care of his equipment. I was driving my truck for everything it was worth. It was a good finish – that’s Chassis 01 and I hate that truck and we almost won with it. That’s its best finish by a lot. Last time we ran it, it was Bristol and we ran – I think we never got higher than 15th, so that’s a testament to how good this team is, how well we work together and how much confidence I have in Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and he has in me to make the right adjustments to get the truck fast.”

How confident are you about getting your first win in 2017?
“I’m very confident. We got off to a late start. I didn’t sign until January and we didn’t get Scott (Zipadelli) as our crew chief until afterwards. It took a while to figure out what I needed – for Scott to figure out what I needed and kind of understand what I mean when I’m explaining things. It took him time to build the trucks and chassis and everything we needed. He’s a hands-on guy. He spends more time on the shop floor with a welder than he does in his office, so he’s really worked hard and honestly everybody has. It’s a small, tight-knit group of guys and we’re kind of more like a family than anything. They have confidence in me and I have confidence in them. I feel like if we could have started the year how we’re running now, with the equipment we have now and what we’ve learned, we’d be a real threat for the championship. Hopefully we can close this out and steal some wins and go into 2018 with some momentum.”

Do you pull up rubber as much on a paved track as opposed to concrete?
“I don’t know. You can’t really see it. I think it was more just a feel thing. It’s hard to explain. But yeah, the track changed a lot. But obviously fi the VHT wasn’t there, I couldn’t have done some of the passes that I did. I would’ve been in the fifth lane or in the wall. I think honestly – I was kind of against it coming here because I’ve never really raced on it before other than Bristol and I’ve always loved this race track and I was like ‘I hope they didn’t ruin it by laying this stuff down’, but I liked it. I thought it created passing so tomorrow will be the big test. It’ll be hotter, the race is longer, better drivers all the way through the field. It’s the Cup Series, so that’ll be a better testament to how well it performs on this track.”

Do you have to have a take no prisoners approach to this since you aren’t in the Playoffs to let them know you’re serious about the rest of the season?
“I race everybody the way they race me. That’s really been my code since I started racing. I learned that from my dad and my brother, so when they have a blue spoiler, I kind of give them a little bit of a break. When I was racing with the 27 (Ben Rhodes) or the 4 (Christopher Bell) further back in the field, there were times where a could’ve probably laid on his bumper and used him up or something like that, but I know how I’d feel if I was in there spot and they have a lot more to lose than me. They’re going to drive me however they want to be raced because that’s how I’m going to race them. It’s more of a driver’s code thing. Race how you want to be race and I certainly like to race clean and not use people up and I was glad me and Chris (Bell) could have a clean race. There was times where he could’ve just moved me out of the way and he didn’t that shows the level of respect he has and how he wants to go about trying to get this championship.”

TODD GILLILAND, No. 51 Pedigree Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
Walk us through the race through your perspective.
“Losing all that track position here like Ryan (Truex) mentioned, it’s really hard to pass. I only passed probably two or three trucks when I got in the very back. That built my confidence a tiny bit, but then we were able to come down in the pits, get four tires for that last stage and be really aggressive on restarts. You had to – like Ryan (Truex) said too, just really try and get every spot you can because that’s pretty much your only chance here. I was driving it for everything I had at the end and we started to fall back a little bit. I could see the lead there that’s really tempting, but you know like I said just can’t Pedigree, Toyota, you know the guys that get us here.”

What does it mean to finally get a good run this season?
“It feels great. You know Kyle Busch Motorsports is giving me really fast race trucks every time I’ve been out. For one thing or another we just haven’t really got the finished that we wanted, so it definitely feels good to finish this one off. I had Kyle Busch on the radio telling me what he felt through his Cup car and everything and I feel like that really helped a lot. With all those little things that Kyle Busch Motorsports provides, you should be able to get the finishes that we got today and it’s definitely just a big confidence booster going into the next one. I think my next race is Martinsville so it’s going to be another short track that’s really fun.”

GRANT ENFINGER, No. 98 Ride TV Toyota Tundra, Thorsport Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How were things out there today?
“Overall they were good. Lot of fun here – first time running Loudon. Everybody on this RIDE TV Tundra did really good cause we unloaded yesterday with good speed. Really had good speed all day. Started off at the drop of the green flag, we were a little too tight to run competitively but after that Jeff Hensley (Crew chief) tuned on her and we were really good after that. Just struggled a little bit with track position. If we could ever restart in front of those guys, I don’t think they could have got back around us, but we weren’t quite good enough to get to them and pass them.”

MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra, Thorsport Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How was the effort out there today?
“Track position was everything. We were a little bit off without a doubt, but we really got screwed by NASCAR on the last call with the 98 (Grant Enfinger), our teammate. We were running in front of him and he was literally three-tenths behind us on track, the yellow comes out and they put him in front of me and he starts whatever eighth and I’m ninth on the bottom and we lost spots. It’s so tough on the bottom. Overall, not a terrible effort. Good points day if you want to call it that.”

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