RACE: ToyotaCare 250
TRACK: Talladega Superspeedway
After challanges in the first two stage, Bell rallies for a strong finish in the final stage.
Bell Finishes Third at Talladega; Qualifies for Final $100K ‘Dash 4 Cash’ at Dover International Raceway
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25)
- Bell made it to the final round of single car qualifying to earn the 10th starting position at Talladega Superspeedway.
- Over the opening laps an issue with team communications to the radio inside the No. 20 Rheem Supra emerged. A caution on lap seven allowed the team time to come down pit and resolve the issue.
- Bell restarted 36th on lap 11 but worked his way up to seventh at the conclusion of Stage 1.
- The No. 20 was extremely loose on the opening run, so Bell pitted at the Stage break for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-50)
- Bell started 10th, finished sixth.
- Stage two went caution free. Bell maintained his position in the pack and reported back that his balance was a lot better than the previous Stage.
- With a pit strategy call by crew chief Jason Ratcliff, Bell pitted for just two tires and fuel, gaining six positions to start the final Stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 55-113)
- Bell started third, finished third.
- Bell was a strong presence over the final Stage of the race. Taking over the lead on lap 71 after a quick caution for debris and pacing the field two different times for a total of 16 laps while working different drafting lines.
- In a flurry of late-race cautions, Bell held his ground in the top three.
A red flag with five laps to go set the field up for a two-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Bell took the final green flag second and despite jockeying for position held on to a top-three finish.
- The third-place finish qualifies Bell for the final ‘Dash 4 Cash' race next weekend at Dover International Speedway.
- Bell remains second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, 32 points behind the leader.
- Bell led two different times for a total of 16 laps.
How difficult were the closing laps of the race with everyone jockeying for position?
“It’s a lot of blocking and listening to your spotter. Speedway racing and especially defensive racing whenever you’re up front at speedways is my weakness. To get out of there with a top-four and be in the Dash-4-Cash next week is something I’m really proud of and that was what we had circled. Obviously, we want to win, but to be able to get a top-four and know that we have a shot at $100,000 next week at Dover is something I’m smiling ear-to-ear about.”
How do you feel about your chances to win at Dover next weekend?
“Can we go tomorrow? Please.”
How intense was the racing?
“It definitely wasn’t the ride-around session we had at Daytona so that was a lot of fun. Very intense moments – I thought I was going to crash a couple times. I hope the fans got their money’s worth there.”
What was going through your head during the red flag?
“Just top-four, I just wanted to run top-four so bad. I know going to Dover that we were going to have an excellent shot at winning the race so really wanted to be in that Dash-4-Cash.”
How do you balance being aggressive to win versus taking it too far and risking a wreck?
“It’s all a delicate balance. You can keep making moves and trying to win the race or get crashed really easily. The 2 (Tyler Reddick) car was really fast. Obviously, RCR (Richard Childress Racing) has a really strong speedway package. They probably deserve to win, but we’re going to beat them next week.”
Up Next: The Xfinity Series heads to the “Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway for the Allied Steel Buildings 200 on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, SIRIUS XM Channel 90 and MRN radio.