Christopher Bell Dominates Richmond To Capture Seventh Victory Of 2019by Hunter Thomas September 21, 2019 0 comments
RICHMOND, Va. – Christopher Bell led all but 12 laps on Friday night as he won the opening race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs at Richmond Raceway.
Bell started in fourth and won all three stages in the Go Bowling 250 en route to his seventh victory of the season. He led 238 of the 250 laps throughout the night in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Rheem Toyota. The third and final stage of the race went caution free, which meant Bell had to hit his marks and not make any mistakes.
“I was just trying to keep a gauge on my gap there,” Bell said. “When the 00 (Cole Custer) was closing, I was getting nervous because I was trying not to slip the tires. I was pretty much running as hard as I could without slipping them and he was catching me a little bit at a time. It seemed like my car could move around maybe a little bit better than his. Lap traffic got me a little bit of a gap. It was tough work. Ninety laps here is difficult. You feel like you are crawling after it, but this Rheem Supra was really, really good, and I’m just thankful to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing. I’m glad that I can drive for all of partners at Toyota, TRD, all the people at Xfinity that put on this series. It’s a lot of fun to drive these cars right now.”
With the win, Bell is now guaranteed a spot in the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs. Every race in the NASCAR Playoffs is important, but with the treacherous Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL next on the schedule, winning at Richmond Raceway really took a little pressure off for Bell and his team.
“I think I told every one of my guys, this is an important race right here because if you win this, you’re pretty much safe until you get to the middle of October going to Kansas,” Bell said. “This one means a lot. And it’s number seven, that’s pretty good too.”
Austin Cindric finished second, 1.700 seconds behind Bell, followed by fellow NASCAR Playoff contenders, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe. Rounding out the top-10 was Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson, Zane Smith, Michael Annett and Tyler Reddick.
Throughout the night, there were only four lead changes among three drivers. The caution flag flew on five occasions for 31 laps. Three of the cautions were for single car accidents in Stage 1.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff points following the Go Bowling 250: Christopher Bell (+22), Cole Custer (-22), Tyler Reddick (-44), Austin Cindric (-48), Justin Allgaier (-61), Michael Annett (-64), Chase Briscoe (-65) Noah Gragson (-67), Brandon Jones (-82), Ryan Sieg (-86), Justin Haley (-87) and John Hunter Nemechek (-88).
The Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL will broadcast live on Saturday, September 28 on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean GardnerGetty Images