By: Mike Petteway for Triadsportscoverage.com
The 2012 Late Model campaign closed out for the two Rev Racing drivers, Mackena Bell and Trey Gibson, with the running of the Pepsi Fall Brawl presented by Gold King at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
After the grueling 200+ laps behind the wheel, Gibson picked up a fourth place finish while Bell crossed the stripe in eighth. Bell had been battling a case of bronchitis the past few days but that didn’t deter her performance.
Rain showers delayed the evening’s schedule but the track crew quickly dried the racing surface and qualifying took place for the 22 Late Model cars entered in the 200 Lap Feature.
Mackena Bell wins her first ever Late Model Pole at Hickory
It was Bell capturing her first ever Late Model pole and Gibson sliding into the eighth starting spot. “We were in Dover all day on Friday and we drove all night to be here (Hickory) and I was in the infield care center at Dover with bronchitis, it’s been crazy,” said Bell. Her Rev Racing crew had prepared a great car for this final race of the year. “We ran twenty laps in practice and the car didn’t need any changes, we were just really good right off the trailer,” Bell said.
Mackena held the lead for the first 28 laps, “I didn’t really want to over do it so I just let them go and thought that it would all come back to me.” Bell said her car got tight in the middle of the first 100 lap segment and then it became loose in the final 100 laps. “I was racing really hard and on the green white checker I had moved up to fourth place on the white flag lap but coming out of turn two it was four wide and I was in the middle, some place that you never want to be,” explained Bell.
“It was a really good year and I’m thankful for the opportunity, thanks to Rev Racing, Max Siegel, TRD, Toyota, Good Year, Jefferson and all the guys on my team,” Bell said. She added that she is “super bummed” that the year is over but is looking forward to many more years in her racing career.
Bell’s team mate, Trey Gibson brought his #2 Toyota home in fourth in the season finale. Gibson said that he drove conservatively in the first 100 laps trying to save his tires. “I was careful not to use up my left side tires since we had to keep those on the car for the last 100 laps of the race.”
Gibson said his car was a little too tight in the first segment but his crew chief, Mardy, made the correct adjustments at the break to free him up to make him more competitive. “We had a fast car and I was running laps times faster than the leaders at the end, but we just started too far back to catch them,” Gibson said. “The last 30 laps I gave it all I had, and overall it was a good night.”
Trey Gibson awaits the start of the final race of 2012
Trey said it was a good solid run and a good way to end the season with a strong fourth place finish. “I couldn’t do this without Rev Racing, my crew chief Marty and all the guys that work on my Toyota,” said Gibson, “I want to thank all my sponsors, Lithium Pro Batteries, Toyota, and NASCAR Diversity for this amazing opportunity.”