RACE: LTi Printing 250
TRACK: Michigan International Speedway
Narrowly missed pole-position again this week then had a miscommunication during a caution.
Bell Leads 36 laps and Overcomes Pit Cue Mishap to Finish 13th at Michigan
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30)
- For the second week in a row Bell narrowly missed the pole qualifying position, claiming the second starting spot in single car qualifying Saturday morning.
- From the drop of the green flag Bell lost a few spots but quickly got his rhythm back and began gaining positions.
- Under an early caution Bell reported back to his team that his car felt really good.
- Bell took over the second position on lap 18 and was chasing down the leader as the first Stage came to a close, coming up just shy of the top spot to finish the first 30-lap Stage second.
- At the Stage break Bell pitted for four tires, fuel and no adjustments to this No. 20 Rheem Supra.
- Some cars gambled and took two tires to gain track position and with his four-tire stop Bell returned to the track fifth to start Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 37-60)
- Bell started fifth, finished first.
- The No. 20 Rheem Supra fired off loose but really came on strong over a long green flag run.
- With a caution free Stage, Bell was able to race his way to the top spot to win Stage 2.
- At the Stage break Bell came down pit road for four tires, fuel and no adjustments to his Supra. With a fast pit stop by his crew Bell was the first car off pit road.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 67-125)
- Bell started first, finished 13th.
- From the drop of the green flag Bell led the field and held his ground up front with a fast Rheem Supra.
- A caution on lap 76 opened the field up to different strategies. The No. 20 team was going to bring Bell down pit road for a splash of fuel to fill up his Supra to go the scheduled distance, but a miscommunication occurred. Bell remained on track and missed pitting under the short caution.
- The rest of the race went caution free and on lap 114 Bell had to come down pit road under green for a splash of fuel.
- Bell maneuvered his way through the field following the green flag stop, working his way up to 13th when the checkered flag flew.
- In addition to winning Stage 2, Bell led for a total of 36 laps.
- Bell remains second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, 89 points behind the leader.
Did you have the car to beat without the miscue on pit road?
“Ultimately, we just weren’t fast enough. The 00 (Cole Custer) drove by us like we were sitting still. Just have to get a little bit faster here where we can compete with these guys.”
What happened when you didn’t pit on lap 78 that took you out of contention to win?
“It was just a miscommunication. My definition was a little different than what Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) had planned. Ultimately, that was a big hiccup in our day. The 00 (Cole Custer) blew our doors off so we just have to get faster. That’s our biggest thing and for whatever reason on the bigger tracks right now, I don’t have the speed that the 00 has. We just have to keep working hard and get our Rheem Supra to be a little bit faster and it will be easy to clean up the miscommunication there.”
What happened with the miscommunication for Christopher to pit on lap 78?
“This is a track where you can actually play some strategy. We don’t go to many tracks that you can do that. I felt like last week was one and I feel like Michigan is one where you can mix it up a little bit. Everywhere else we go is kind of straightforward. We talked about, ‘If I tell you this, then it means to pit now.’ Just some code words and it’s really simple actually. It’s first-grade stuff and somehow we mixed it up. He did exactly what his wristband said on it. Unfortunately, it was poor execution on my part in communicating what to put on the wristband. I think we had a good performance today after a little bit of a struggle last week in Pocono. I felt like our car had speed so we’ll just build in that and go on to Iowa.” - Jason Ratcliff
Up Next: The Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the CircuitCity.com 250 on Sunday, June 16, 2019. Coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, SIRIUS XM Channel 90 and MRN radio.