Christopher Bell holds off Custer for Dover Xfinity win

Christopher Bell continued his march toward his first Xfinity Series championship with another victory on Saturday.

Christopher Bell holds off Custer for Dover Xfinity win
Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Rheem
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Rheem celebrates his win
Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Rheem
Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
Daniel Hemric, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro South Point Hotel & Casino
Ross Chastain, JD Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro
Matt Tifft, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Surface Sunscreen

Bell picked up his series-leading sixth victory of the season, holding off Cole Custer to win the Bar Harbor 200 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

The win is Bell’s second so far in the 2018 playoffs and seventh of his career. The six wins is also a new NASCAR record for wins by a rookie in the Xfinity Series.

“It’s been a lot of fun this year. They keep giving me really fast race cars,” Bell said. “It’s honor to drive for this company, this group of people.

“It’s pretty special. To all the people that came out today, thank you. If not for the fans, we wouldn’t be out here, so it’s an honor to have them.”

Asked what it meant to bypass Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch in wins in your rookie year, Bell said, "It the means the world. To be able to have the season we had, it’s been a career year for me. It’s all credit to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and my crew chief Jason Ratcliff."

Justin Allgaier finished third, Ryan Preece was fourth and Spencer Gallagher completed the top-five.

Advancing to the Round of 8

Along with Bell, advancing to the second round of the playoffs are Daniel Hemric, Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric and Matt Tifft.

"It was very intense, especially the last part of the race," Tifft said. "We weren't very good today, we've had a lot of strong runs lately, but that just wasn't one of them."  

With 45 of 200 laps remaining, Bell had built up an almost 3-second lead over Custer. Allgaier followed in third, five seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 162, Josh Bilicki got into the Turn 4 wall to bring out a caution. All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit for fuel and tires, since everyone had to make at least one more stop.

Jones elected to take two tires and took over the race lead on the restart with 29 laps remaining. He was followed by Bell, Custer, Gallagher and Preece.

Playoff contender Ross Chastain was penalized during his top by NASCAR for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.

Bell quickly got around Jones on the restart to retake the lead.

On Lap 179, Chastain got into Tifft in an attempt to pass and Tifft got into Chase Briscoe, who hit the wall and brought out a caution. On the restart with 17 laps to go, Bell led the way followed by Custer, Preece, Allgaier and Jones.

Stage 2

Hemric held off a fast-approaching Bell to claim the Stage 2 victory. He also collected enough points to clinch a spot in Round 2 of the playoffs.

Allgaier ended up third, Gallagher was fourth and Custer completed the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all of the lead-lap car pit for fuel and tires with Hemric the first car off pit road. He led the way when Stage 2 went green on Lap 52, followed by Allgaier and Bell.

On the restart, Allgaier powered around Hemric to take the lead for the first time in the race.

With 25 laps left in the stage, Allgaier held a nearly 1-second lead over Hemric. They were followed by Bell, Gallagher and Custer.

On Lap 75, Hemric made his way around Allgaier on the inside to retake the lead.

With 10 laps remaining in the stage, Hemric had already moved out to a more than 1-second lead over Allgaier. They were followed by Bell, Gallagher and Custer.

Bell went to the outside and passed Allgaier to take over the second position with eight laps left.

Stage 1

Bell easily held off Hemric to take the Stage 1 victory, his sixth stage win of the season.

Allgaier was third, Jones was fourth and Gallagher completed the top-five.

Hemric started on the pole but Bell quickly got around him to take the lead on Lap 1.

Ten laps into the race, Bell held a small advantage over Hemric with Allgaier running close behind in third.

With 25 laps remaining in the first stage, Bell still maintained a small lead over Hemric. They were followed by Allgaier, Jones and Gallagher.

With 15 laps to go in the stage, Bell had opened up a 1.6-second advantage over Bell as nearly half the 40-car field was already a lap down.

Hemric had cut the margin down to half-a-second with five laps remaining in the stage.

NASCAR black-flagged Mike Harmon with four laps left for failure to maintain minimum speed.

Harmon had to start the race from the rear of the field after making an engine change over the weekend.

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 20 United States Christopher Bell  Toyota 200   110
2 00 United States Cole Custer  Ford 200 0.525 38
3 7 United States Justin Allgaier  Chevrolet 200 3.157 23
4 18 United States Ryan Preece  Toyota 200 3.944  
5 23 United States Spencer Gallagher  Chevrolet 200 4.231 2
6 19 United States Brandon Jones  Toyota 200 8.236 4
7 21 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 200 8.293 24
8 22 United States Austin Cindric  Ford 200 8.642  
9 42 United States John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 200 10.354  
10 11 United States Ryan Truex  Chevrolet 200 10.820  
11 1 United States Elliott Sadler  Chevrolet 200 11.212  
12 5 United States Michael Annett  Chevrolet 200 11.462  
13 4 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 200 11.863  
14 9 United States Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 200 12.135  
15 2 United States Matt Tifft  Chevrolet 200 12.586  
16 16 United States Ryan Reed  Ford 200 13.036  
17 3 United States Shane Lee  Chevrolet 200 14.056  
18 39 United States Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
19 60 United States Chase Briscoe  Ford 199 1 lap  
20 51 United States Jeremy Clements  Chevrolet 197 3 laps  
21 36 Canada Alex Labbé  Chevrolet 197 3 laps  
22 90 United States Brandon Brown  Chevrolet 197 3 laps  
23   United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 196 4 laps  
24 52 United States David Starr  Chevrolet 195 5 laps  
25 78 United States Vinnie Miller  Chevrolet 192 8 laps  
26 01 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 189 11 laps  
27 66 United States Timmy Hill  Dodge 189 11 laps  
28 8 United States Matt Mills  Chevrolet 188 12 laps  
29 55 Bayley Currey  Toyota 187 13 laps  
30 35 United States Joey Gase  Chevrolet 170 30 laps  
31 45 United States Josh Bilicki  Toyota 159 41 laps  
32 76 United States Spencer Boyd  Chevrolet 110 90 laps  
33 38 United States J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 101 99 laps  
34 40 United States Chad Finchum  Chevrolet 62 138 laps  
35 74 United States Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 60 140 laps  
36 13 United States Carl Long  Dodge 59 141 laps  
37 15 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 30 170 laps  
38 89 United States Morgan Shepherd  Chevrolet 21 179 laps  
39 93 United States Jeff Green  Chevrolet 16 184 laps  
40 99 United States Stephen Leicht  Chevrolet 13 187 laps  
NASCAR Heat 3 contest continues on the Road to Miami - video

Previous article

NASCAR Heat 3 contest continues on the Road to Miami - video

Next article

NASCAR Roundtable: With Talladega ahead, who is in playoff danger?

NASCAR Roundtable: With Talladega ahead, who is in playoff danger?
Load comments