Saturday’s trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the first for Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Christopher Bell, in the Xfinity Series. But that didn’t stop the rookie from taking the victory.
Bell claimed the win in front of hard-charging Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski and also took his third win of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Joe Gibbs Racing put Bell out in front during a pit stop on lap 163 in which his team elected to take four tires while Penske Racing and Brad Keselowski only took two. This choice would give Bell the advantage and he was able to defend his position from the veteran Keselowski and claim the win. Even with the tire disadvantage Keselowski was able to close within inches of Bell’s rear bumper with three laps to go, but was unable to complete the pass.
“The better tires, they didn’t hurt us—that’s for sure,” Bell said. “Jason (his crew chief) was able to put four on there and, man, we got going there that long green flag run, and I was getting really nervous because I didn’t have a tach, so I didn’t really know how I was going to get down pit road.”
With the win Bell inched closer to season points leader Daniel Hemric with only six points separating the two after the New Hampshire round of the championship. Hemric would finish 11th on Saturday while Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ryan Preece would finish third behind Brad Keselowski. John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Tift would finish fourth and fifth respectively. Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer and Austin Dillon completed the top 10.
The series travels next to Iowa Speedway under the lights on Saturday night for the Nascar Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250. The race will air on NBCSN.
Images courtesy of ESPN.com, Fox Sports, the Associated Press and Getty Images.
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