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.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park hosted its second annual King Cadillac GMC Throwback 100 featuring the K&N Pro Series East on Saturday, July 14 showcasing the young up-and-coming drivers of NASCAR. The theme of the night was racing history with a showcase of vintage cars and K&N drivers featuring classic paint schemes as they took to the track hoping to write their name in the history books as a NASCAR winner.
The evening started with qualifying which saw record breaking speeds by the K&N Pro Series drivers. Points leader Tyler Ankrum looked to score his second win of the season and started the day with his first pole breaking the track record with a time of 19.882. However, Ankrum’s time was disallowed after he failed tech following qualifying putting Spencer Davis, driving a #13 car paying tribute to the late Ted Christopher, on point.
The first 75 laps of the race were relatively smooth sailing for Davis who secured a comfortable lead early and dominated the first 50 laps before Ruben Garcia, Jr. presented Davis with his first true battle of the evening. Meanwhile Tyler Ankrum worked his was through the field moving into the top three by lap 63 where he began to put the pressure on Davis and Garcia. After the only caution of the race a few laps later a restart changed everything for the frontrunners as Davis managed to lead up to lap 75 but was finally passed by Dillon Bassett while Ankrum once again found himself in a precarious position after spinning his tires on the restart.
Bassett opened up a decent lead in the ensuing final laps of the event, but Ankrum would not be denied using the top line to power his way past Bassett with six laps to go and charge to his second victory of the season, winning the event from last place.
“It was a little frustrating being sent to the back like that for something that was so minor. Our skew was off a few thousandths of an inch. We had an awesome racecar regardless. We flew through the field. Halfway through I was in the top five and I thought to myself ‘there’s no stopping us’,” Ankrum said after visiting Victory Lane. “Overall an awesome night. There’s not too many times you can come from the back like that and win. I’m super excited about it. Second win of the year. Hopefully that will extend our points lead by a lot.” Dillon Bassett, Tyler Dippel, Spencer Davis and Chase Cabre rounded out the top five.
Earlier in the evening the Limited Sportsman division turned into a battle of championship contenders in a 20-lap feature, but it didn’t start that way. After rookie Kyle Gero started up front and led the opening laps the fight for the lead became a battle of veterans as Jesse Gleason and Ryan Waterman tangled for the top spot. A caution that waved eleven laps in set up a restart that would alter the complexion of the race as Gleason and Waterman restarted on the front row and fought hard through the first half of a lap before getting into each other in turn three and wrecking, stacking up the field and essentially ending any opportunity for either driver to win.
The wreck opened the door for Shawn Monahan and Chris Meyer who inherited the top two spots creating a nine-lap shootout for the victory. Despite getting caught behind a slow car in lap traffic in the final turn of the final lap Monahan held on and defeated his closest rival for the title. The win was Monahan’s second of the season as he looks to win his second consecutive division title. After the race Monahan admitted he didn’t have the best car on the track but called the battle between himself and Meyer in the closing laps an exciting and nerve wracking one from the driver’s seat.
“I don’t think I had the car to beat tonight. I just wanted to keep it clean and get a good finish, but it got real funny looking down the back straightaway and what do you know,” Monahan said. The race winner offered some insight into the current relationship he has with second-place Chris Meyer after the two endured a rivalry in years past. “Chris Meyer and I have quite the history, but that history has turned in a positive direction over the past couple of years. We’re getting older. We respect each other. He had a real fast car. He was closing in there at the end and I was nervous, but I’ll take it. You can’t take a win for granted these days.” After the race Meyer took a moment to congratulate Monahan with a soft tap to the bumper on the backstretch that Monahan called an “exchange of love”.
The Sunoco Modified division closed the night with a 30-lap feature as Keith Rocco looked to remain perfect on the season and score his fourth consecutive win in the division at Thompson. It didn’t take long for Rocco to find himself where he is most comfortable as he had the lead in hand by lap five. Rocco led until halfway when things got interesting as Ryan Preece was able to work his way to the front and put pressure on the defending champion. A pair of cautions with 11 laps to go set the battle up to be an epic showdown in the closing laps of the night.
Rocco was able to hold the lead off the restart, but Preece would not let Rocco drive away staying glued to his back bumper and making several attempts to pass on the inside. Preece finally completed the pass out of turn four on lap 23 and fought off a rebuttal from Rocco to carry that momentum to his first win of the year in the division and prevent Rocco’s perfect season in the Sunoco Modifieds.
“It was a race that’s for sure,” Preece said. “I’m really proud of how good of a car we had on the long run. I feel like after ten laps we were really good so I’m just super proud of how good this car is right now.”
In the Late Model division is was a dominating victory by Ryan Morgan who started the 25-lap feature strong and finished over five seconds ahead of William Wall to claim his second win of the season. Morgan was a contender for the Late Model title in 2017, winning a race before an injury sidelined his chances at a title. The event was also bittersweet as it was the final run for defending champion Ray Parent who sold his #98 car and is moving his talents to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Current points leader Nick Johnson finished in sixth making him the only driver in the division to score top five finishes in all five features of 2018 despite not having a win.
The Lite Modifieds took center stage for a 20-lap feature where Bryan Narducci took home the trophy, his second in two nights of short track racing. Narducci is a perfect three for three in his races at Thompson and he did it all after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Finally, in the Mini Stocks Wayne Burroughs showed dominance by claiming his second win of the season. The reigning champion is out of the running for a title after missing one of the two races in June. Points leader Eric Bourgeois finished second. The night also included a showcase of the modifieds of yesterday in a 15-lap vintage modified feature that helped kick off the festivities early on.
The Whelen Modified Tour returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the third time in 2018 on Wednesday, August 8 with the 29th Annual Bud “King of Beers” 150. The yearly mid-summer staple will feature the stars of the Whelen Modified Tour with points leader Justin Bonsignore looking for this third victory of the year at the Big-T as well as the NEMA Midgets and Thompson’s four track divisions with drivers looking to capture every point they can as the season winds down.
KING CADILLAC GMC THROWBACK 100 FINISH: 1. Tyler Ankrum; 2. Dillon Bassett; 3. Tyler Dippel; 4. Spencer Davis; 5. Chase Cabre; 6. Anthony Alfredo; 7. Brandon McReynolds; 8. Chase Dowling; 9. Ruben Garcia, Jr.; 10. Ryan Vargas; 11. Tristan Van Wieringen; 12. Ronnie Bassett, Jr.; 13. Colin Garrett
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 2. Chris Meyer (North Franklin, CT); 3. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 4. Kyle Gero (Baltic, CT); 5. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 6 Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 7. Jenn Van Pelt (Pawtucket, RI); 8. John Carpenter (N. Grosvenordale, CT); 9. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 10. Ed Correia (Raynham, MA)
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Ryan Preece (Broad Brook, CT); 2. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 3. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 4. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 7. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 8. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 9. Kyle James (Ashaway, RI); 10. Kyler Cafro (Chaplin, CT)
MINI STOCKS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Wayne Burroughs (Oakdale, CT); 2. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 3. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 4. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 5. Dave Trudeau, Jr. (Mansfield, CT); 6. Chris Taylor; 7. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 8. Tommy Silva (Gales Ferry, CT); 9. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 10. Nick Matera
LATE MODELS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Ryan Morgan (Gales Ferry, CT); 2. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 3. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 4. Tom Carey, III (New Salem, MA); 5. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 6. Ray Parent (Tiverton, RI); 7. Paul Charette (Woodstock, CT); 8. Glenn Boss (Danielson, CT); 9. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 10. Randy Tucker (Millis, MA)
LITE MODIFIEDS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Wesley Prucker (Stafford, CT); 3. Jon Puleo (Branford, CT); 4. Chris Viens (Putnam, CT); 5. Glenn Komer (Bloomfield, CT); 6. Keith Caruso (Millbury, MA); 7. Teddy Hodgdon (Danbury, CT); 8. John O’Sullivan (Salem, CT); 9. Glenn Griswold (Vernon, CT); 10. Calvin Therrien
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kyle Larson pulled away from pole winner Christopher Bell after a restart with seven laps left and took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300, winning for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Larson beat Bell to the finish line by .881 seconds. The driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet led 142 of the 200 laps and overcame a pit road snafu that dropped him to eighth for a restart on Lap 139 after a caution for Austin Cindric’s crash in Turn 2.
The victory was Larson’s first of the season and the ninth of his career.
“It was an awesome day,” Larson said in Victory Lane. “This car was so fast. It was really fast last year, but you really never know, and this was my first time racing with this new (flange-fit) body, and it performed well.”
Nor did it take him long to recover after the slow pit stop on Lap 135 that set him back.
“Normally my guys are some of the best on pit road,” Larson said. “They said the left-rear (tire) just wouldn’t come out (of the wheel well). I had been fighting a tight issue all day and then finally we got our car to turn better.
“It allowed me to get to the lead fairly easily, and then I was saving fuel in case the race stayed green.”
Larson and Bell are frequent rivals in dirt-track racing, and Bell had the upper hand in last November’s Turkey Night Classic and January’s Chili Bowl, the marquee midget race of the season. Bell was happy to see the friendly rivalry extend to pavement.
“That was really cool, and there will be a lot more of that,” promised Bell, who outdueled Larson at the end of Stage 1 but fell short after the final restart. “We were close, running second to Kyle – if I’m going to run second to anyone, I guess I would rather it be him.
“Special day, we were able to win a stage and get a Playoff point. We need to keep racking those up and get some race wins here.”
Justin Allgaier ran third in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Ryan Blaney was fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler.
But the show at the beginning and at the end was Larson vs. Bell.
“It’s always fun to get to race Bell,” Larson said. “He seems to beat me all the time in the dirt stuff, and he edged me out there in qualifying. We were pretty equal there… It was cool to race, though.
“That first stage kind of felt like we were dirt-track racing there, swapping lanes and stuff. I was trying to take the air off him, and he got by, and yeah, it was fun… Anytime I get to race in the Xfinity Series, I’m sure we’ll be up front, battling each other.”
Trying for a weekend sweep after winning Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, Kyle Busch fought an ill-handling Toyota throughout the race and finished 14th after his fueler drew a penalty for handling a tire during a green-flag stop on Lap 166.
Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Las Vegas native Spencer Gallagher completed the top 10. Reddick and Sadler leave Las Vegas tied for the series lead, 23-points ahead of Bell in third.
37. (36) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Oil Leak, 24.
38. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Vibration, 18.
39. (32) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 15.
40. (22) Dylan Lupton, Ford, Accident, 5.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 131.884 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 16 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.881 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 6 for 29 laps.
Lead Changes: 10 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Bell # 0; K. Larson(i) 1-42; C. Bell # 43-48; K. Larson(i) 49-94; R. Blaney(i) 95-127; K. Larson(i) 128-135; C. Custer 136-139; J. Allgaier 140-151; K. Larson(i) 152-186; T. Reddick # 187-189; K. Larson(i) 190-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Larson(i) 5 times for 142 laps; R. Blaney(i) 1 time for 33 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 12 laps; C. Bell # 1 time for 6 laps; C. Custer 1 time for 4 laps; T. Reddick # 1 time for 3 laps.