Sports

Bell arrives at Gateway with NASCAR Truck Series points lead within reach

Driver Christopher Bell celebrates a NASCAR Truck series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., March 4. He’ll be at Gateway Motor Sports Park Saturday, just 40 points off the lead in the Camping World Truck Series standings.
Driver Christopher Bell celebrates a NASCAR Truck series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., March 4. He’ll be at Gateway Motor Sports Park Saturday, just 40 points off the lead in the Camping World Truck Series standings. Associated Press

Defending champion Christopher Bell will lead a field of 28 drivers at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park.

The 22-year-old Bell, who defeated Ben Rhodes in a thrilling two-lap shootout a year ago, will go against the likes of 2017 Camping World Series points leader Johnny Sauter, Ryan Truex and two-time series’ champion Matt Crafton.

Practice sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with qualifying set for 4:45 p.m. Also scheduled is the ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40, which begins at 6 p.m.

Bell, a native of Norman, Okla. will be trying for his second straight win after taking the checkered flag in Texas last Friday by inches over Chase Briscoe. Bell scored his first NASCAR Truck Series win in 2015 at Eldora, Ohio in a green-white-checker finish over polesitter Bobby Pierce.

That first win came in only his third Truck Series start.

The 2013 national USAC Midget champion drives full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series and also races part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Super Bowl champion coach Joe Gibbs. He currently is second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings, just 40 behind leader Johnny Sauter.

The top eight drivers in the Camping World Truck Series point standings are in the field at Gateway.

Bell will be a busy man in St. Louis this week. After visiting visit Scott Air Force Base on Thursday afternoon, he will throw out the first pitch at the Cardinals-Brewers game at Busch Stadium at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 are on sale and may be purchased at the GMP ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888 or online atwww.gatewaymsp.com. General admission tickets start at just $36 and kids 15 and under are free (general admission).

On the Air

Gateway Motorsports Park’s has a new radio home in the St. Louis region. WBGZ (1570 AM and 94.3 FM) will carry the Motor Racing Network broadcast of the race live and in its entirety Saturday.

“When added to our coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the weekly PRN At The Track and the extensive local motorsports coverage afforded by Doug Jenkins, we feel this addition further solidifies our place in the St. Luis market as a leader in motorsports coverage,” said WBGZ General Manager Nick Darr in a release.

Military honored

Gateway Motorsports Park will salute Scott Air Force Base’s 100th anniversary and play host to more than 1,000 men and women stationed there during the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 Saturday.

The first 10,000 fans will receive American flags. Each NASCAR Truck entered in the race will carry a Scott Air Force Base decal. United States Air Force personnel will ride along with the NASCAR stars during driver introductions.

More than 60 men and women from Scott Air Force Base will participate in the opening ceremonies, including the singing of the national anthem. GMP will host a military hospitality area with refreshments located outside of Turn 4.

“We are proud to honor the brave and men and women of Scott Air Force Base, and to join in the facility’s 100th anniversary celebration,” said Chris Blair, GMP’s Executive vice president and general manager.

At a glance

Here’s the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200:

Saturday

  • 8:30 a.m.: Spectator parking lots open.
  • 9 a.m.: Spectator gates open.
  • 9 a.m.: Climbin’ for Linemen competition begins (infield).
  • 9:30-10:25 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Illinois Lottery 40 ARCA Midwest Tour practice and qualifying.
  • 2-2:45 p.m.: NASCAR driver autograph session (infield).
  • 2:30-4:30 p.m.: Free concert by The Band Steele on the midway.
  • 4:45 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 qualifying.
  • 5:45 p.m.: ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 driver introductions.
  • 6:10 p.m.: ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).
  • 7 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 driver introductions.
  • 7:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 (160 laps, 200 miles).

(Schedule is subject to change)

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