RACE: Allied Steel Buildings 200
TRACK: Dover International Speedway
Bell dominated at Dover and brought home the $100,000 Dash for Cash prize.
Bell Leaves Dover Victorious; Claims Final $100,000 ‘Dash 4 Cash’
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
- NASCAR made a qualifying change going into the race weekend at Dover for all series, going from three rounds of group qualifying to one round of single car timed laps. Under the first weekend of the new format Bell posted the fourth fastest lap time.
- Bell took the green flag to start the race fourth but moved up to second as the field came around to complete the first lap.
- Despite a very loose handling Supra, Bell maintained his ground and finished the caution free 45-lap opening Stage second.
- At the Stage break, Bell came down pit road for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 54-90)
- Bell started third, finished second.
- Bell started Stage 2 third, but wasted no time regaining the second position.
- The No. 20 Rheem Supra went from extremely loose handling in Stage 1 to too tight in Stage 2.
- When the Stage ended Bell pitted for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and one round down on the track bar.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 99-200)
- Bell started second, finished first.
- The first caution of the day came during the final Stage on lap 153. Bell reported back to his team that the previous adjustment had helped, but he needed more turn on the exit for the longer runs.
- Everyone took advantage of the caution to come to pit road for service. Bell pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- The No. 20 Rheem team had a fast stop and got Bell the lead coming off pit road.
- Bell took the green flag on lap 159 from the lead and never looked back. Despite multiple cautions as the laps dwindled down, Bell continued to pace the field to take home this third victory of the 2019 Xfinity Series season.
- Bell won the final ‘Dash 4 Cash’ race, claiming the $100,000 bonus. Bell also took home top honors in the opening ‘Dash 4 Cash’ race at Bristol Motor Speedway four races ago.
- Bell remains second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, 23 points behind the leader.
- Bell led for a total of 44 laps Saturday afternoon at the “Monster Mile” earning his second win at the 1.0-mile concrete oval.
Will this $100,000 Dash 4 Cash check help you build a Sprint Car team one day?
“That sprint car team is a long way down the road, but it’s definitely a dream of mine to have one. I just can’t say enough about everyone on this team 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing. They never quit. They keep working and over the last couple weeks we’ve had really fast race cars, but we just haven’t been able to capitalize on it. This one is really out to my pit crew. They did a great job of getting me out first there where I could control the restarts. I knew if we could get out front, we were going to be tough to beat. This one’s for everyone at Rheem, Ruud, everyone at Xfinity and all the people at Xfinity for putting up this serious money right here. This is one of the coolest trophies that we get to have – a cardboard check for $100.000.”
How difficult was it to pass on the track today as you had to take the lead with the final pit stop?
“This place, you can pass on long green flag runs and it’s one of my favorite race tracks because you can move around and kind of find different lines and get going. Over the short run, it’s pretty difficult to make it happen because there’s so much grip on the bottom. Just really thankful for everyone at Toyota and TRD too. They’re the ones that have believed in me since day one on the dirt side of things and now here we are holding up my second cardboard check. Thank you guys!”
How much better was your race car in clean air?
“It was a little bit better, but I knew we had a really good Rheem Supra from really the drop of the green flag. I was able to keep pace with them, it was just tough to pass. There’s no doubt that he (Cole Custer) was really good. Over that long run there, I felt like I could make gains on him running the top. Last time we were here, the top was really good for me, but it seemed like it rubbered up more and the top was a little less of a disadvantage. Once we got the lead – thank you to my pit crew, they did an outstanding job – it's really special to be here.”
How do you keep your cool during the restarts in the closing laps?
“It’s tough, it’s just a matter of executing and doing your job. I’ve been struggling on restarts over the course of my NASCAR career so I’ve been focusing hard on that to get better. I feel like I did a pretty good job today.”
What are you focused on now that you’ve won so many races in the last season and a half?
“Just continuing to win. This sport is a very funny sport and you’re only as good as your last race. At this moment I just need to continue to win races and just get better and better, week in and week out. Days like today are a really good day, I didn’t feel like we had a dominant race car and we were still able to win. Those days are really hard to come by and I’m really thankful that I get to drive for such a legendary crew chief like Jason (Ratcliff).”
Do you think you could have passed Cole Custer had the race gone green to the finish?
“It was going to be close. We were pretty close together and he was starting to struggle pretty bad on the long run. It was going to be a good race for sure. Getting off pit road was going to be extremely important because it takes so long for the cars to start driving bad here, you fire off and the race track is clean, the tires have a lot of grip so there’s a lot of on-throttle time and it’s really hard to pass until you get deep into a run whenever you start seeing car difficulties. It was going to be basically, I feel like the race was going to be won by who got off pit road first and had the lead. Then it was going to be a battle for sure.”
Why do you feel you’re not as strong at restarts?
“I think a lot of it is just the air games and knowing how the air manipulates your car and stuff like that. There’s no doubt that there’s no harder restarts in the world than racing with the World of Outlaws. Those guys train you really good and it is double-file restarts over there too. A lot of it here too is just who gets the right push, who makes the right air block or placing air on different parts of the other guys cars. The air stuff is what I’ve struggled with and I think I’m getting a little bit better at it.”
Where will you put this check and how will you spend the money?
“I’ve already got the one check hanging up in my house so it’s in a pretty primo spot too. You can see it pretty easily so I need to find another spot for this check. As far as getting any of the money, I haven’t paid any attention to it yet. I’m not sure on that. Regardless of who gets the money, Joe Gibbs Racing is going to benefit from it and it’s really cool to see how Xfinity has put in a bunch of money for their teams to race for and you don’t get to race for that much money very often. If it wasn’t for a mistake on a restart at Richmond, I think we had a good shot at winning all the races.”
What made you give the checkered flag away again to a child in the grandstands?
“We get a bunch of trophies, now I have a check, a golden Miles (the Monster trophy) -- a checkered flag is just a third piece of a trophy so I decided to give it to a kid. I’ve done it the last couple times and I actually saw that kid at the autograph session and he was talking to me so that’s why I picked him.”
Up Next: The Xfinity Series has two weekends off before a home race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco 300 on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, SIRIUS XM Channel 90 and PRN radio.