RACE: Circle K Firecracker 250
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway
Bell started in eight positions and finished third after a solid speedway performance.
Bell Finishes Third at Daytona
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30)
- Christopher Bell earned the eighth starting position Friday afternoon during single car qualifying at Daytona.
- From the drop of the green flag Bell began making moves and by the time the field completed the first lap he was up to fourth.
- Under caution on lap nine Bell reported back to his team that his No. 20 Ruud Supra was pretty good at that point in the race.
- Bell drafted his way across the finish line 10th to close out the first Stage at Daytona.
At the Stage break Bell came down pit road for two right-side tires and fuel.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 35-60)
- Bell started 12th, finished sixth.
- Bell maintained his position in the top 10 the entire segment, crossing the finish line sixth to close out Stage 2 before coming down pit road for two tires and fuel.
- A tire briefly got away from the team on the stop and NASCAR issued an uncontrolled tire penalty.
- While coming down pit road to serve the penalty the team went ahead and put left-side tires on the No. 20 Ruud Supra.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 65-100)
- Bell started 29th, finished third.
- Due to the uncontrolled tire penalty on the previous pit stop, Bell started in the back of the field when the green flag waved to start the final Stage.
- Bell narrowly avoided a multi-car accident on lap 72 and by lap 85 was solidly running in the top 10.
- On lap 86, a 14-car pileup forced NASCAR to display the red flag for cleanup. Bell once again emerged unscathed.
- Bell took the final restart from the third position and held on without any drafting teammates to finish third at Daytona.
- Bell jumped back up second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, after briefly dropping to third.
- Bell crossed the finish line fourth at Daytona, but the No. 10 car was disqualified pending a failure during post-race technical inspection which advanced the No. 20 to third.
Was there anything you could have done to pass the Kaulig cars in the closing lap?
“I don’t know, I maybe could have laid back a little bit. You lay back and the guy behind you tries to make a move on you. I don’t know, I’ll just have to go back and see if there was anything I could have done differently. Overall, it was a great speedway season for us. I think we were sixth here in February, a third at Talladega and then a fourth here today. That’s my best speedway season I’ve had in my career. Take that and try to learn from it. Really proud of these guys on the Ruud Supra.”
Did the runs seem bigger tonight?
“They seem pretty big. I don’t know. I asked my spotter if he thought the runs were a little bigger than normal because I felt like there was a lot of jockeying. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t -- it was just a typical speedway race.”
Why was this race crazier than the race in February?
“I don’t know. I missed it. In February I said we were going to be all over the place and we rode around. Then we go to Talladega and I said we were going to ride around and we were all over the place. I really don’t know, I wish I could tell you more, but I have no idea.”
Did you consider making a run on the closing lap?
“I just couldn’t get a run to do anything. I wanted to pass those guys, but I’m sitting there wide open and I can’t get to their bumpers. I felt like I really didn’t have any move there.”
What was the attitude of the race team after last week’s post-race disqualification?
“They’re fine. I don’t think anyone really said much of anything. Obviously, you don’t want to give away races like that, but it was a great test session for us. We know where we could have been better and I was hammering the race track pretty hard. We just have to get the frontend up a little bit and our car will be way faster. Mainly when I say it was a good test session, Chicago is really similar to Homestead. The line you run and in the past, the tire has been really similar. That’s why I say it was a good test session. We know where we can be better. Obviously, the 00 (Cole Custer) was quite a bit better than us at Chicago so we know how we can close the gap a little bit on him.”
Did you feel you could make moves during the race?
“Whenever guys were kind of packed up, I felt like I could switch lines and get runs on people, but as soon as they got single-filed out, I was just kind of along for the ride. The 10 (AJ Allmendinger) car just kind of blew my doors off on the last lap. I was wide open and he got a run on me and drove by me.”
Up Next: The Xfinity Series heads back to Kentucky Speedway for the Alsco 300 on Friday, July 12, 2019. Coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SIRIUS XM Channel 90 and PRN radio.