The 23-year-old beat out Brad Keselowski for the win in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series appearance on “The Magic Mile.”
LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series appearance at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ended with a win on Saturday, giving him his second consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series victory after last week’s trip to Victory Lane in Kentucky.
Bell’s win broke a streak of six consecutive pole winners winning the Lakes Region 200. Brad Keselowski’s 2011 win was the last time the pole winner was not the winner of the race. Keselowski was the only driver in the field who had previously won in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Despite being the pole winner, Keselowski missed the mandatory Driver and Crew Chief Meeting and was forced to start at the back of the pack.
Bell’s back-to-back wins didn’t come easy as the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie experienced technical problems midway through the race. His tachometer failed, but it didn’t prove to be a challenge for the driver getting on and off pit road over the final stops of the race.
“I was getting really nervous, because I didn’t have a tach, so I didn’t know how I was going to get down pit road,” said Bell. “Luckily, I got the best spotter on the roof, and Tony [Hirschman] was able to guide me and let me know ‘I think you can pick it up a little bit,’ and, a couple of times, told me to slow it down. It worked out for us we were able to take four tires there. That was a big deal.”
Bell, a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular won stage one, but was off pit cycle and ended up in eighth after getting mired in the middle of the pack, which allowed Keselowski to take the win in stage two. Bell led the field for a total of 93 laps, and after 13 lead changes, he led for the final time on lap 182.
“That’s pretty special,” replied Bell when asked about beating Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski in back-to-back weeks. “I never dreamed I’d be here at Joe Gibbs Racing competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. I’m proud of this entire group at Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 20 team. They work their butts off.”
Keselowski and Ryan Preece finished second and third respectively.
“Once Brad got going, I thought I had a better car than him, and I thought I had a better car than Christopher Bell,” said Preece. “I knew Brad had two tires; I was racing him for all I had, trying to get in front him, chase down my teammate and win here in New England, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough to be with those guys.”
For full schedule and ticket information on all 2018 events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the July 20-22 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend and the September 21-22 Full Throttle Fall Weekend, please stop by the ticket office, visit the speedway website at www.NHMS.com or call Fan Relations at (603) 783-4931.