RACE: Production Alliance Group 300
TRACK: Auto Club Speedway
Bell was in contention all race and came up thrid despite battling throttle and handling issues
Bell Finishes Third at Auto Club Speedway
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-35)
- Bell made it to the second and final round of single car qualifying Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway to claim the fourth starting position.
- From the drop of the green flag the No. 20 Rheem Supra had a tight handling condition.
- Bell lost positions battling with the tight handling and closed out the opening Stage ninth.
- During the opening Stage Bell discovered that the throttle was hanging and the team immediately started brainstorming ideas to help remedy the situation.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 41-70)
- Bell started fifth, finished sixth.
- Bell gained four positions after a fast pit stop by his crew to start the Stage fifth.
- Despite continuing to deal with the throttle hanging, Bell was able to maintain his ground to close out Stage 2 sixth.
- At the conclusion of the Stage, Bell made two trips down pit road. The first for a routine four tire pit stop and on the second visit the team opened the hood and tried to address the throttle issue.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 100-200)
- Bell started fifth, finished third.
- Due to the extra trip down pit road, Bell had to line up at the tail end of the field and restart 15th for the final Stage.
- The balance dramatically improved on the No. 20 Rheem Supra and Bell started making up for lost track position.
- While running fifth, Bell came down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. With another fast stop by the pit crew, Bell returned to the track as the leader.
- The car fired off tight, which opened the door for the second-place driver to get around Bell.
- Under caution on lap 126, Bell made what would be his final pit stop of the day for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- Bell once again won the race off pit road, but two competitors had opted to remain on the track.
- Bell took the final green flag from the third position but overtook the two who had stayed out on older tires getting into turn two and resumed the lead.
The lead was short lived as eventual race winner Cole Custer got by Bell with a hard charging Kyle Busch in pursuit.
- Bell was able to salvage a third-place finish despite the throttle and handling conditions.
- Bell is now third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, 14 points behind the leader.
How was your race today?
“It was a pretty awful race for us. One of the worst ones I’ve had. My pit crew was outstanding. They got us out front almost every time. That’s how we got this Rheem Supra to finish third. As soon as they dropped the green flag, we had the back-up lights on.”
Were you having issues with the throttle today?
“The throttle, I noticed whenever the first yellow came out my throttle was hanging up. I am hoping that was part of the issue of why we were so bad. It wasn’t returning all the way to idle. I am hoping that has something to do with why we were struggling.”
What’s it like to run here with a stuck throttle?
“It wasn’t too bad. Especially early in the run because you’re not trying to get out of the gas. As the tires wear, you need to be out of the gas. It wasn’t sticking wide open or anything, so it was drivable. It just really hurt the handling of the car. It didn’t make it much fun to drive.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series has a weekend off before heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. The race is scheduled for Saturday, March 30, with television coverage at 1pm ET on FS1.