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.
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.
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Sam Hornish Jr. dominated Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge, but his victory was anything but certain until the waning laps of a caution-filled race.
Hornish, driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang, earlier had eclipsed his own qualifying record at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and edged series rookie Daniel Hemric by 1.335 seconds when the event ultimately went green for the final time with five circuits remaining in the 75-lap distance.
The victory was the fifth in the series by Hornish, whose last win came in June of 2016 at Iowa Speedway.
Hornish, who led four times for 61 laps, traded the top spot with Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro four times over the race’s third and final stage. He took the point for the last time on Lap 62, on a restart following the seventh caution.
Veteran Brendan Gaughan advanced to the second after Justin Allgaier and James Davison slipped off the track in Turn 3 at Lap 63, setting up a final restart battle that ended prematurely when Gaughan’s No. 62 RCR Chevrolet Camaro was forced off the track by Hornish shortly after the green flag.
“I finally got the win (at Mid-Ohio),” said Hornish, who finished second here a year ago. “We had a smart, almost flawless day but I feel bad about the 62. I didn’t want to beat him that way.”
Rookie Matt Tifft finish third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, improving his best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish from a fifth-place at Kentucky Speedway last September. Davison, an international racing star and Indianapolis 500 competitor, took fourth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, followed by sports car veteran Andy Lally, whose No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro team posted their first top-10 finish in the series.
Twenty-four of the race’s 40 starters completed all 75 laps. Five drivers, Hornish, Hemric, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler, traded the lead nine times.
NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Sadler spotted the field an early spin and a green flag pit stop to change a flat tire, but he ultimately took sixth, ahead of Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong.
Koch won the race’s first stage when Hornish elected to pit with three laps left and leader Sadler was spun in Turn 1 by Poole.
Hornish quickly went back to the front of the field after Stage 1 pit stops, claiming Stage 2 over Hemric and Davison.
Saturday’s race left the playoff picture unchanged with no bubble drivers able to bump their way into the standings. Sadler holds an 81-point lead over William Byron, who appeared headed for a top 10 until being caught up in a late accident relegating him to a 25th-place finish.