RACE: Ford EcoBoost 300
TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Bell Finishes Fifth in Season Finale at Homestead
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
- Christopher Bell qualified seventh for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Bell was part of the final four looking to capture the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship with a strong run at Miami.
- The No. 20 fired off tight and Bell battled the handling throughout the opening stage.
- By lap 11 Bell had raced his way into the top five and maintained his position until a caution towards the end of the stage created different pit strategies. Bell opted not to pit and restarted first on lap 37.
- Bell could not hold off the fresh tires and dropped all the way back to 12th to finish stage one at Miami.
- At the stage break Bell pitted for four tires, fuel and to have tape added to his Supra.
- Those who had pitted at the prior caution did not pit at the stage break and with a fast pit stop by his team Bell restarted ninth for stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-90)
- Bell started 9th, finished 2nd.
- With fresher tires Bell quickly worked his way forward, taking over the second position just five laps into stage two.
- The handling continued to shift to the loose side as the long run went on, but Bell was able to maintain his ground to close out stage two second.
- Bell came down pit road for four tires, fuel and more tape at the stage break and came off pit road the leader after another fast pit stop by this team.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 96-200)
- Bell started 1st, finished 5th.
- The No. 20 Supra fired off tight again and Bell slipped back to second. A caution on lap 123 gave Bell a chance to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. His crew once again got him the lead off pit road and this time Bell was able to fend off the field for around 30 laps.
- On the final pit stop of the day under green on lap 167, Bell received four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
- As the laps dwindled down the No. 20 just didn’t have the long run speed Bell needed to contend for the lead and he was left with a fifth-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Bell finished third in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Standings after leading 37 laps and finishing fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Bell closed out the 2019 NXS season with eight wins, six poles, 20 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.
- Bell will make his NASCAR Cup Series Debut in the 2020 Daytona 500.
Where did you need to be better tonight?
“The long run. Just couldn’t get the long run going.”
What made a difference in the closing stage when three of you were battling hard?
“We just had great pit stops. Our pit stops would allow us to get up front and then we would maintain until we started falling off and then they would drive by me.”
Did you feel you had a shot at the championship when you were up front?
“Even really since the drop of the green flag, I knew that we were in trouble. We can’t get around this place for some reason.”
How much did missing pit road impact your chances?
“It didn’t help. We got beat by 17 seconds there. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. For some reason, just can’t hit on what I need to, to be able to get around this place for a 30 or 40-lap run.”
How will you remember your final season in the Xfinity Series?
“Just a lot of fun. A lot of fun racing with these people. This whole group on this No 20 Supra, driving for Coach Gibbs. A lot of fun to drive for him. Very thankful that I got to spend some time in the Xfinity Series. These cars are a ton of fun to drive. I’m ready for the next chapter.”