RACE: iK9 Service Dog 200
TRACK: ISM Raceway
Bell hit the wall late in the race after winning the pole and leading 68 laps.
Bell’s Dominating Run Cut Short at ISM Raceway
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)
- Bell sat on top of the speed chart for all three rounds of qualifying Saturday morning to earn his first pole starting position of the 2019 season.
- From the drop of the green flag Bell pulled away from the field with a No. 20 Rheem Supra that was handling really well under throttle.
- A caution late in the Stage allowed Bell to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- The field resumed racing with six laps remaining in the Stage. Bell restarted eighth since not everyone had taken the opportunity to pit and before the Stage ended had raced his way up to contend for the lead, coming up one spot short when the green-checkered waved.
- Bell closed out the first Stage second.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 53-90)
- Bell started first, finished first.
- Bell battled with his teammate Kyle Busch for the lead in the opening laps of Stage two. Busch took the lead to start, but Bell quickly regained the top spot.
- On lap 70, Bell took advantage of the wide-open track and cut through the dog leg to reclaim the lead and held the top spot to close out the Stage.
- Needing to be looser on the long run, Bell came down pit road at the Stage break for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 100-200)
- Bell started first, but was collected in an accident on lap 130.
- The No. 20 Rheem Supra fired off loose from the start of the final Stage and two competitors were able to get around Bell.
- The handling on the No. 20 came around on long runs, but Bell did not get another chance to get back to the front. Another competitor lost an engine on the track and expelled a massive amount of oil and smoke. Bell, blinded by the smoke, hit the oil and then made contact with the wall.
- The damage was too severe to continue and a dominating day was cut short.
- Bell is now second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, four points behind the leader.
- Bell’s No. 20 Rheem Supra was a dominating force, leading five different times for a total of 68 laps out of the 130 laps raced before their efforts were derailed.
What got you in the accident, the smoke or the oil on the track?
“It was definitely both. I saw him blow up going into one and I figured it was going to be slick, I saw the 7 (Justin Allgaier) car start sliding and I started sliding and as soon as I entered the smoke wall, I couldn’t see anything. I lost my bearings of where I was and the next thing you know, I was in the wall. Frustrating and very disappointing because our Rheem Supra was extremely strong. I don’t know, it was weird. My car didn’t really feel that much worse that run, but once I got back behind those guys, I just really couldn’t pass them.”
What happened in the accident?
“I saw him blow up so I knew that I was in trouble. I saw the 7 (Justin Allgaier) get sideways and then by that time, I entered the smoke wall and I knew that I was sliding, but I just couldn’t see anything and didn’t know where I was and I backed her into the wall.”
Next Up: The NASCAR Xfinity Series continues on a West coast swing with the next stop being Auto Club Speedway for the Production Alliance Group 300. The race is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, with television coverage at 5pm ET on FS1.