Bell scores first Xfinity victory, angers teammate with winning move
Christopher Bell won the lottery on Saturday — the Kansas Lottery 300.
Bell, 22, scored his first Xfinity Series victory in just his fifth start.
“Hell yeah, thank you guys,” Bell yelled as he took his first checkered flag with a 2670-second lead over polesitter Tyler Reddick.
"I don't want to wreck anyone especially my teammate," said Bell of the contact with Jones. "My spotter said clear. I drove it in deep and thought I cleared him ... I don't know man, I was clear."
Ryan Blaney, WIlliam Byron, Justin Allgaier, Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, and Ry Reed completed the top 10.
Erik Jones dominated the race at Kansas Speedway. He won both stages and led a record-high 186 of 200 laps for Kansas Speedway. But as Bell made the pass for the lead, Jones ran into the back of the No. 18 Toyota with four laps remaining in the race.
"Well I mean it's not dirt racing," said a frustrated Jones, who finished 15th. "He's not clear. I cant just stop on the top. I didn't expect him to drive in on the bottom so far he wouldn't hold his lane. Wasn't much of a race, more of a wreck."
The race restarted on Lap 97 with Ty Dillon in the lead followed by Blake Koch, Cole Custer, Austin Dillon, Bell, Erik Jones, Reddick, Allgaier, Byron, Blaney, Hemric, Reed and Gaughan.
Dillon, who pitted under the second caution on Lap 78, held the point for one lap under green before Jones blew by Bell and then Dillon for the lead. Custer, who elected to take two tires on the stop between stages, lined up fourth followed by Allgaier, Reddick, Byron, Blaney, Hemrick, Austin Dillon, Gaughan, Koch, Brandon Jones, Tifft, Reed, Poole, Annett and JJ Yeley. Sadler restarted 20th.
Five laps after the restart, Allgaier and Blaney cruised up to third and fourth, respectively, Reddick ran fifth followed by Ty Dillon, Byron, Custer, Hemric and Gaughan.
By Lap 120, Jones held a 4.034-second lead over Blaney. Bell, Allgaier, Reddick, Byron, Ty Dillon, Custer, Hemric and Gaughan completed the top 10. Austin Dillon ran 11th followed by Tifft, Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, Sadler, Annett, Reed, Koch, Chastain and Yeley.
Jones extended his lead to five-seconds over Blaney with 70 laps to go. Eight laps later, Ryan Sieg spun out coming off of Turn 4 in front of the race leader. Jones’ lead was 5.118-seconds over Blaney prior to the fourth caution. Bell ran third followed by Allgaier, Reddick, Byron, Custer, Ty Dillon, Hemric, Gaughan, Tifft, Austin Dillon, Brandon Jones, Sadler, Poole, Annett, Reed, Koch, Chastain and Yeley.
The leaders pitting on Lap 141. Jones held onto the point, Bell moved up to second followed by Reddick, Blaney, Allgaier, Byron, Custer, Tifft, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Poole, Annett, Austin Dillon, Brandon Jones, Reed, Sadler, Chastain, Dylan Lupton, Yeley and Koch. Hemric tumbled to 21st for pitting outside of the box.
“We’ll get it back, drive smart,” crew chief Danny Stockman Jr., told Hemric prior to the Lap 145 restart.
Jones and Bell battled for the lead when the race returned to green but the No. 20 Toyota held the point. Blaney passed Bell for second on Lap 147. Allgaier ran fourth followed by Reddick, Byron, Custer, Ty Dillon, Poole and Austin Dillon. Reddick and Allgaier exchanged spots on Lap 149, but Allgaier regained the position over the next circuit.
Jones raced to a .838-second over Blaney lead with 50 laps to go. Bell hung onto third followed by Reddick, Allgaier, Byron, Custer, Ty and Austin Dillon and Reed. Sadler moved up to 12th.
Blaney dropped to 1.548-seconds behind Jones with 40 laps to decide the contest. Bell remained third followed by Reddick, Allgaier, Byron, Custer, Ty and Austin Dillon and Sadler. Reed, Poole, Tifft, Gaughan and Brandon Jones rounded out the top 15, while Reddick ran 20th, one lap down.
Blake Koch wrecked in Turn 2 on Lap 165 but he was able to make it to pit road before NASCAR needed to call a caution. Jones’ lead was over two-seconds with 30 laps to go.
Sadler passed Ty Dillon for ninth on Lap 187. As Blaney approached lap traffic, Bell passed the No. 22 Ford for second-place. With 10 laps remaining, Jones lead over Bell was 1.907-seconds. Blaney, Reddick, Allgaier, Byron, Custer, Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler and Ty Dillon rounded out the top 10. Tifft passed Dillon to take 10th on the next lap.
With five laps remaining, Bell closed the gap between his Toyota teammate to .284-seconds. Jones hit the wall coming out of Turn 4 and Bell took the lead with three to go.
“It’s my first Xfinity win, I’m sorry that Erik couldn’t finish the race, but I’m just stoked," Bell added. "This thing was just awesome – this JBL Toyota Camry was absolutely outstanding and I’m really thankful to be a part of this Joe Gibbs Racing foundation.
"It’s a dream to be here and to be able to win in the Xfinity Series. It’s something that I dreamed of as a kid and I’m just really excited about that.”
Allgaier took over the points lead with a two-point advantage over Byron.
Erik Jones held a 1.107-second lead over Blaney after locking down his second stage win.
Jones led 84 of the first 90 laps. Allgaier finished the segment third — the top of the playoff contenders. Bell, Reddick, Byron, Custer, Poole, Hemrick and Austin Dillon completed the top 10.
After spinning out with 15 laps remaining in the stage, Elliott Sadler recovered to finish 11th. The No. 1 JR Motorsports team decided to work on extensive repairs between stages. Sadler promised to “race like hell” to return to the front.
Erik Jones retained the point following pit stops on Lap 48. Reddick moved up to second followed by Blaney, Austin Dillon, Bell, Sadler, Allgaier, Hemrick, Poole and Byron. Brandon Jones lined up 11th for the restart with Custer, Tifft, Reed and Gallagher in tow.
Ty Dillon had a commitment line violation and dropped from 16th to 20th — the last car on the lead lap when the race returned to green on Lap 51. Reddick passed Jones for the lead. Blaney settled into third followed by Bell, Austin Dillon, Poole, Allgaier, Hemric and Custer.
Jones regained the lead coming to the line on Lap 55. After one lap at the point, Jones extended his advantage over Reddick by .452-seconds. Blaney passed Reddick two laps later. Bell remained four followed by Dillon. Sixth-place Sadler led the playoff drivers followed by Allgaier, Poole, Hemric, Custer and Tifft.
Spencer Gallagher was forced to pit on Lap 63 with a loose right-rear tire. He dropped to 27th, two laps down.
With 20 laps remaining in the stage, Jones led the first 67 laps and held a 2.314-second lead over Blaney, Reddick, Bell, Austin Dillon, Sadler, Allgaier, Byron, Poole, Hemric, Custer, Tifft, Brandon Jones, Reed and Ty Dillon. Nineteen cars remained on the lead lap.
Jones extended his advantage to 2.554-seconds over Blaney on Lap 75. Coming through Turn 4 on the next lap, Sadler, who was running seventh, spun sideways to ignite the second caution. Austin Dillon checked up and missed the No. 1 Chevy.
“I don’t know if I had a flat or it was getting that loose,” Sadler said. “My bad. Sorry guys, I got loose as (crap).”
Jones continued at the point followed by Blaney, Reddick, Bell, Allgaier, Dillon, Byron, Hemric and Custer. Custer and the Dillons pitted Sadler dropped to 20th and begged the crew not to let him lose a lap. Sadler received a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes, but was already starting from the rear of the lead lap cars.
The race returned to green on Lap 82. Jones, Blaney, Bell, Reddick and Allgaier ran in the top five. Blaney passed Jones for the point on Lap 83. Allgaier moved up to third followed by Bell, Reddick, Byron, Hemric, Poole, Reed and Custer.
Jones moved by Blaney on the outside for the lead on Lap 85. Allgaier remained third followed by Bell, Reddick, Byron, Poole, Custer, Austin Dillon and Hemric. Sadler moved back into the top 15.
Jones held a .610-second lead over Blaney with two laps remaining. Allgaier, Bell, Reddick, Byron, Poole, Custer, Dillon and Hemric rounded out the top 10.
Reed, Brandon Jones, Ty Dillon, Koch, Gaughan, Yeley, Annett, Tifft and Ross Chastain completed the top 20.
Erik Jones dominated the first stage by leading 45 laps and beating Ryan Blaney to the line by 3.983-seconds.
Tyler Reddick was third followed by Austin Dillon, Christopher Bell, Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemrick and Cole Custer rounded out the top 10.
Polesitter Reddick led the field to green but Erik Jones quickly took command of the race.
Playoff contenders William Byron and Matt Tifft, who qualified sixth and eighth, respectively had to drop to the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments along with Spencer Boyd.
Tifft and Byron carved their way through the field in the early laps. Although Byron hit the Turn 4 wall on Lap 8 and sustained damage to the No. 9 Chevy. He soldiered on and by Lap 15 was running 19th. Tifft broke into the top 15.
Jones led 19 of the first 20 laps. Blaney ran second followed by Reddick, Bell and Austin Dillon. Elliott Sadler passed Brennan Poole for sixth after 25 laps. Allgaier ran eighth followed by Hemric, Cole Custer, Ty Dillon, Brandon Jones, Tifft, Spencer Gallagher, Byron, Ryan Reed, Brendan Gaughan, Blake Koch, Michael Annett and JJ Yeley.
With 10 to go, Jones continued at the point followed by Blaney, Reddick, Bell, Austin Dillon, Sadler, Poole, Allgaier, Hemric and Custer. Byron passed Tifft for 14th on the next lap. Dillon passed Bell for fourth with seven laps remaining in the stage. Byron passed Ty Dillon and Gallagher on Lap 41 for 12th. Tifft fell to 16th.
Brandon Jones was 11th at the end of the first stage followed by Byron, Gallagher, Ty Dillon, Reed, Tifft, Koch, Gaughan Yeley and Annett.
Christopher Bell moving up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018
Stewart-Haas Racing and Biagi-DenBeste partner in Xfinity Series