BRISTOL, Tenn. – Replicating what his former teammate Ryan Preece did a year ago, Christopher Bell won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway and collected the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus to boot.
Bell didn’t dominate the Alsco 300, but he pounced when it came down to crunch time, passing Brandon Jones with 18 laps left and driving away to victory by .906 of a second over Tyler Reddick in the end.
The critical sequence of the afternoon came after Harrison Burton, making his Xfinity Series debut, lost a tire and slapped the wall coming to 40 to go, bringing out the caution flag as a result.
That sent most of the leaders down pit road for service, but Jones stayed on the race track and leapt from sixth up into the race lead. Bell, on fresher tires, lined up second for the final restart of the day.
When the green flag waved with 32 to go, Bell tried to slide Jones for the top spot but couldn’t get clear, allowing Jones to scoot out with the top spot by just under a second as Cole Custer challenged Bell for second.
The No. 20 Toyota held serve, however, and Bell slowly but surely closed in on Jones for the top spot.
After hounding the bumper of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate for the better part of five laps, Bell finally made the winning pass with a high-low crossover on lap 283, sliding up in front of Jones and taking off.
Bell never looked back after that, navigating traffic flawlessly in the final laps and going unchallenged.
“Man, it’s pretty cool to get my first win here with the Dash4Cash bonus,” said Bell in victory lane. “These Supras are super, super fast. Joe Gibbs Racing has a really, really good package here at Bristol, but for whatever reason, we struggled to find that. I didn’t feel good basically all of practice and didn’t qualify well, either.
“When they dropped the green flag for the race, I was really, really loose, but the longer the runs went, the better I got,” Bell added. “Just thankful to be at Joe Gibbs Racing driving for such a wonderful team.”
Saturday marked Bell’s 10th career win, second of the season and fourth in the last six Xfinity Series short-track races.
Though Reddick led 59 of the first 85 laps, miscommunication between he and spotter Derek Kneeland at the end of stage one set him back for much of the afternoon.
Reddick was passed by Justin Allgaier on the final lap of the first stage and could never get back to the head of the field after that. He got past Jones for second in the closing laps but had to settle for second.
“I just needed a little bit more there to get past Christopher,” said Reddick. “The unfortunate part is when I’m behind him, it’s hard to make the pass … and his spotter can see what we’re doing as well. It’s funny because we were second in stage one, second in stage two and we finished second in stage three.
“I’m really impressed with the speed in our Chevrolets, though,” he continued. “It was a good day, but it’s a shame we thought stage one ended one lap too soon. We should’ve gotten that stage point and stayed more in control.”
Cole Custer crossed the line in third, followed by Chase Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek.
Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Michael Annett and Noah Gragson were sixth through ninth, respectively, with Burton rallying back to complete the top 10.
After winning the first two stages and leading a race-high 138 laps, Allgaier was forced behind the wall by a right-front hub issue with 73 to go, ending his day and leaving him with a 30th-place finish.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.