RACE: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 300
TRACK: ISM Raceway
Bell Rebounds from Spin and Pit Road Penalty to Finish 16th at ISM Raceway
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
- Christopher Bell posted the fast lap time in qualifying Saturday morning to earn his sixth pole qualifying position of the season.
- Bell dominated the opening 45 lap stage, leading every lap despite reporting back to his team that his No. 20 Rheem Supra continued to migrate tighter through the center and was still loose into the corners.
- The handling improved toward the end of the 45-lap opening run and at the stage break Bell came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- With the help of a fast pit stop by his pit crew Bell came off pit road first and remained the leader to start stage two.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 45-90)
- Bell started 1st, finished 1st.
- Bell continued to dominate over the course of stage two, leading all 45-laps to take the green-white-checkered to end the stage.
- Despite pacing the field, Bell said “late exit of two is snappy loose” so at the stage break Bell came done pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- Bell came off pit road as the leader but was assessed a speeding penalty and had to take the green flag for the final stage from the tail end of the field.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 98-200)
- Bell started 17th, finished 16th.
- Bell started 17th on lap 98 and by lap 104 cracked the top 10. Bell worked his way up to eighth before the car got away from him on lap 116. Bell spun, bringing out the caution and then had to limp back around to pit road with a flat tire.
- Bell pitted twice under caution for repairs and tires and restarted 22nd on lap 120, one lap down to the field.
- Bell worked his way into the “lucky dog” position, but a caution never came out. Despite the spin and the ensuing sway bar issues from the flat tire, Bell was able to salvage a 16th-place finish at ISM Raceway Saturday afternoon.
- Bell secured his position in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his win at Texas.
- Bell dominated early, leading 92 laps at ISM Raceway.
What happened when you spun on the track?
“I think I just lost it. I don’t know. I was kind of running those guys down a little bit, just trying to get underneath them between turns one and two there.”
How was your car after the spin?
“I spun out and it took out the sway bar. I should have spun out every other lap, but saved it. I learned a lot though. I learned the front sway bar does a lot through (turns) one and two, but you can get away without having it in three and four.”
How much confidence do you carry going into Miami trying to get a championship?
“I feel really good about it. We’ll bring a really fast piece there. I can’t wait.”
How do you reset after this race and look forward to competing for a title next week?
“I’m just really excited to go to Homestead with a chance to win a championship. I’m really proud of these guys today. They gave me a really fast race car. I wasn’t really sure what happened with the speeding penalty. I was matching my lights, just like I did all day long and all day yesterday. We’ll have to look into that and see why it was so much closer to speeding today than it was yesterday in practice. Really happy for all my guys to be able to compete for a championship. Just have to go home, use the Xfinity internet service to study up and hopefully be as prepared as we can for Homestead.”
How do you feel heading into Homestead?
“This is what it’s all about. It all comes down to this one next week. I’m ready for it. I feel really good about where we’re at and our car is going to be extremely strong next week. We’ve prepared a ton for this. Ever since we left Homestead last year, we knew that this race was where we needed to improve. Pretty much all year long, we’ve been focused on Homestead.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale Ford EcoBoost 300. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, November 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.