RACE: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway
Bell Wins at Texas; Clinches Spot in Championship 4
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
- Christopher Bell qualified third but by lap six he was pacing the field around the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway.
- Once Bell took the lead in stage one he never looked back, leading until the stage concluded on lap 45.
- Bell reported that his No. 20 Rheem Supra was handling better as the run went on, but he needed more help on entry.
- At the stage break Bell pitted for four tires and fuel, along with wedge and air pressure adjustments.
- 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 52-90)
- Bell started 1st, finished 1st.
- Just a few laps into stage two Bell slipped from the lead into second while telling his team he needed just a little more to be able to keep up with the leader.
- Bell was able to regain the lead a few laps later and under caution on lap 79 reported back to his Rheem team that the No. 20 was “a little edgy taking off, then migrated tighter.”
- Stage two concluded on lap 90 with Bell leading the field.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff told Bell they’d work on tightening him up on the restart so they brought him
- down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- Bell won the race off pit road, but a few competitors had opted not to pit during the stage break, lining Bell up eighth for the final stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 96-200)
- Bell started 8th, finished 1st.
- The field took the green for the final stage with just over 100 laps remaining. Bell restarted eighth and lost a few spots maneuvering around lap traffic with a car that felt like it was getting looser.
- A few laps later Bell had recovered and raced his way up to fifth but started having some concern with the brakes on his Supra.
- A caution on lap 128 gave the team a chance to bring Bell in and tighten up the Rheem Supra. Under the caution Bell received four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
- Bell restarted fifth on lap 134 and was up to second on lap 140 when another caution came out for the field.
- Ratcliff called Bell down pit road for fuel only during the caution.
- Not everyone came in to top off on fuel and Bell lined up fifth for the restart on lap 144.
- Shortly after returning to racing the field was once again under caution on lap 149 but due to an extended cleanup NASCAR red-flagged the field.
- After the red flag for cleanup, the field resumed racing on lap 149 with Bell in third.
- By lap 156 Bell took over second and by lap 170 he was back out in front of the field.
- Bell drove away from the field to cross the finish line first at his home track of Texas Motor Speedway.
- Bell has secured his position in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his win at Texas.
- The win at Texas is Bell’s eighth NXS victory of the 2019 season and his first in the Xfinity Series at TMS.
- Bell led four different times for a total of 101 laps.
How confident do you feel now walking out of here with a win?
“I like where we are at, that’s for sure. There a couple of places earlier in the year that the car drove really, really nice and we just weren’t able to compete with some of the other competitors, but right now, I feel like we can be a little off on balance and still be competitive. So that means whenever we hit it we are going to be really good. I feel like the 2 (Tyler Reddick) was really good there with us and obviously he ran into some bad luck there and crashed, but winning is always outstanding.”
How strong was your car throughout the night?
“Well, I was struggling early. I was fast, but I didn’t really feel that great. We had some issues, and the brakes started going away, and whenever the brakes started going away, I really started struggling. So then, we had a couple long reds, or one long red and another really long yellow that really helped the brakes come back and the handle came back.”
How do you feel going into Phoenix?
“Well, this group here loves going to Phoenix, and now we can go to Phoenix with one thing on our mind and that’s trying to win. I’m very thankful about that.”
Is this excitement or relief after what you went through last year in Phoenix?
“Excitement. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get to Phoenix. I love that race track and now I get to focus on one thing, and that is winning the race. I don’t know if Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) was thinking points tonight, but we are definitely not going to have to think points next week.”
You are now locked in and you don’t have to worry about anything.
“It’s nice. The Homestead car has been sitting there. It has been getting touched a little bit, but obviously we still have priorities in line, where now, I believe Homestead becomes the number one focus.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads out West to ISM Raceway for the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200. The race will be broadcast live Saturday, November 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.