RACE: Drive for the Cure 250
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL
Bell Finishes 12th at Charlotte ROVAL Following Late-Race Penalty
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20)
- Christopher Bell made it to the final round of qualifying Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the ROVAL to earn the 11th starting position.
- Bell took the green flag 11th but raced his way up to eighth on the first lap.
- The balance on the No. 20 Rheem Supra started off on the tight side, but Bell was able to continue to advance through the field and by lap 11 was running inside the top five.
- While running fourth, Bell made a green flag stop on lap 17 for four tires and fuel, just prior to the end of stage one.
- Bell closed out stage one 14th after pitting prior to the green but lined up second for the start of stage two.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 24-40)
- Bell started second, finished eighth.
- On the first lap of stage two Bell took the lead and held it until lap 38 when he came down pit road for four tires and fuel under green before the stage break.
- Bell closed out stage two eighth and then was directed into fuel conservation mode prior to the final stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 43-67)
- Bell started third, finished 12th.
- Once again Bell took the lead on the opening lap of the stage and paced the field until lap 48.
- After getting passed for the lead Bell reported back to his team that his No. 20 was handling tighter than it had been all day.
- Bell continued to run second and had some hard battles for track position, which forced him off course in the chicane.
- NASCAR issued a penalty for Bell going off course and the No. 20 had to start at the tail end of the field for the final restart.
- Since they’d have to start at the back, Bell brought his Supra down pit road on lap 59 under caution for four tires and fuel.
- Bell restarted 24th due to the penalty and as the laps winded down he was able to race his way forward to salvage a 12th-place finish at the ROVAL.
- Bell led two different times for a total of 19 laps.
- Bell remains the points leader and is locked into the “Round of 8” following his win last weekend at Richmond Raceway.
What happened there with Chase Briscoe?
“I thought our Rheem Supra was really, really fast all day long. We were really good in the first and second stage and then the third stage, I just, for whatever reason, got a little bit tight and couldn’t keep up with those guys. The 98 (Chase Briscoe) was really fast and I was going to let him go as soon as he got beside me and then whenever we got into the chicane, he didn’t leave me any option besides running me off the race track. At that point, I was just going to race him back as hard as I could.”
Did you think you’d get the penalty by NASCAR for missing the chicane?
“I knew it was a penalty to miss the chicane, but there was a clause in there in the driver’s meeting where if you missed the chicane due to an incident, NASCAR would review it. I figured that me getting run off the race track and having no other option was a justifiable reason, but I guess not.”
Analyze your day for us.
“Well, we were really good. We had a really fast Rheem Supra and then it kind of just got away from us a little bit on that last stage. We were just really tight for some reason. Not the finish we wanted, but I’m thankful that we got the win last week in Richmond.”
How will you handle your relationship with Chase Briscoe moving forward?
“We haven’t ever had any issues before. He’s a hard racer, I’m a hard racer. If he has a problem with it, he can come ask me my opinion. That’s that.”
Up Next: The Xfinity Series returns to the Monster Mile in Dover, Del. for the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Coverage will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SIRIUS XM Channel 90 and MRN radio