CONCORD, N.C. – After a blistering start to Saturday’s Alsco 300, a shredded tire at the end of the second stage ruined polesitter Christopher Bell’s afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bell, who qualified first and cruised to the opening stage win, had a right-front tire fail on his No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra with two laps to go in the second stage, sending him hard into the outside wall.
The Norman, Okla., young gun tried to stay on track in an effort to remain on the lead lap, but his flat tire shredded coming to the green-and-white checkered flag signaling the stage break, ripping the right side of his car to ribbons and leading to a small fire in the right-front wheel well of his machine.
Bell climbed from his car quickly after limping it to pit road, his day done after just 90 of 200 laps. He was officially credited with the 31st finishing position.
“I’m honestly not sure what happened,” Bell said after being checked and released from the infield care center. “The balance was really good on our car for the first part of the race there. I had no warning of blowing the right front; I was actually a little bit loose that entire run.
“I guess we ran something over, because I piledrove the fence … and then going down the back straightaway, I saw my teammate do it there,” he added. “I hate our day is over, but we had a really fast car.”
Bell was looking for his series-leading fourth win of the season, as well as his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Charlotte’s 1.5-mile quad-oval. Instead, the young star walked away dejected after a heartbreaker that he felt could have easily been a victory.
“We had the car, man,” Bell noted. “It’s a real bummer.”