Christopher Bell Dominates To Win At Atlanta Motor Speedwayby Camille Jones February 23, 2019 0 comments
HAMPTON, Ga. – Christopher Bell earned his first victory of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday in the second race of the season.
Bell’s win behind the wheel of his No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Rinnai 250 marked the ninth win of his career and the 105th win for a Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Bell led a race high of 142 laps throughout the 163-lap race.
“It means a lot to be able to come over here and win in the second race and what I call the first true race of the season,” said Bell. “Hopefully it means something and we can build on this and try and help our long run speed.”
Cole Custer finished in the runner-up position on Saturday in his No. 00 Jacob Companies Ford, giving him more confidence early in the season.
“That was a fun race,” Custer said. “I thought the end was pretty good. I thought I might get it for a second. We just didn’t have enough there and Bell kind of took my line there in the last lap. It is a great start to the year in our first race with the Jacob Companies Mustang. We got a new crew chief and it was huge for us to start the year strong. I feel like we will be a threat all year.”
Justin Allgaier finished in the third position in the race, his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at the 1.5-mile speedway.
The race came down to a restart with three laps remaining. Bell and Jeffrey Earnhardt lined up on the front row for the final restart. When the green flag flew for the restart, Bell soared out to the lead and was unable to be passed, allowing him to finish his dominant performance on Saturday with a win.
Brandon Jones and Tyler Reddick finished fourth and fifth,
Earnhardt slipped back on the final restart, but he was still able to claim a career-high finish in the series with a sixth-place effort. Earnhardt, Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, had a strong showing in every stage of the race
Ryan Preece, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-10.
There was just one incident in the event, which happened on lap 157, where the No. 23 car of John Hunter Nemechek went for a spin in turn two, bringing out the caution to set up for the final restart.
Catch the NASCAR Xfinity Series back on track next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the ‘West Coast Swing’ gets underway for the next three race weekends. Coverage of the Boyd Gaming 300 will be found live on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) on Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images