TALLADEGA, Ala. — Before the season started, at the Henderson Motorsports shop in Abingdon, Virginia, I asked NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman why he was taking a part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride. His response was “Why the hell not?” Today I asked him if this win validated that response, he said it didn’t need validating because he’s having a hell of a lot of fun.
Getting a push down the backstretch from Grant Enfinger, Kligerman took the lead from Bell coming to the white flag. Entering Turn 1, Justin Haley made contact with Noah Gragson and Johnny Sauter, sending either Gragson or Sauter into Stewart Friesen and triggering the five-car wreck that ended the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“It was just crazy. Every move worked,” Kligerman said of his closing laps. “And it’s just sometimes, they’d click. Those last 10 laps, no matter if I went high and I’d separate a pack, or I’m trying to get the bump and the run. Every move just works.”
It’s his 12th victory in 68 career starts.
Bell finished second and Myatt Snider rounded out the podium.
Enfinger and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five.
John Hunter Nemechek, Vinnie Miller, Clay Greenfield, Matt Crafton and Tyler Young rounded out the top-10.
Bell led the field to the green flag at 1:16 p.m., but lost the lead immediately to Sauter, who led the first stage from start to finish and won it.
DJ Kennington and Cindric led during the first stage break, but Sauter took back the lead on the ensuing restart and led all the remaining laps of the second stage on his way to winning it.
The intensity picked up from the drop of the green for the final stage, with 48 laps to go. Snider edged out Bell at the line to take the lead with 47 to go. Sauter shoved Snider ahead of Bell, but Kligerman shoved Cody Coughlin to the front coming to the line with 46 to go. Kligerman went to the inside of Coughlin and took the lead with 45 to go. Friesen was shoved by Bell to the front down the backstretch with 43 to go.
On the restart, following a three-truck wreck in Turn 3, Kligerman got a push from Bell to the front around Friesen through Turn 1 35 to go.
A multi-truck wreck in the tri-oval with 23 to go set up the run to the finish.
Caution flew for the first time on Lap 20 for a one-truck wreck exiting Turn 4. The second caution on Lap 42 was for the end of the second stage. A three-truck wreck in Turn 3 on Lap 55 brought out the third caution. Caution flew on Lap 71 for a multi-truck incident, coming to the start/finish line. The final caution flew in Turn 1 on the final lap, ending the race.
NUTS & BOLTS
The race lasted one hour, 57 minutes and 18 seconds, at an average speed of 129.258 mph. There were 17 lead changes among 11 different drivers and six cautions for 27 laps.
Bell leaves with a 52-point lead over Sauter. Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala fail to advance on in the Truck Series Playoffs.