DOVER, Del. – A fast pit stop propelled Christopher Bell to victory and a $100,000 bonus during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Allied Steel Buildings 200 at Dover Int’l Speedway.
Saturday’s race, the final of four Dash4Cash bonus races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year, was dominated by polesitter Cole Custer. The driver of the No. 00 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing swept the first two stages and looked primed to earn the victory.
That changed with 47 laps left when Kaz Grala spun after contact with John Hunter Nemechek in turn two. Custer and Bell led the field down pit road during the caution period, with Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew performing a lightning fast four-tire pit stop to get Bell off pit road first ahead of Custer.
The race resumed with 41 laps left and Bell quickly went to work, pulling clear of Custer as they field flowed into turn one. Justin Allgaier also pulled clear of Custer and into second, but Bell began to slowly pull away.
Bell’s advantage was erased with 28 laps left when Riley Herbst spun on the frontstretch. When the race resumed with 20 laps left Bell again pulled clear into the lead, but the battle was on behind him for second between Allgaier and Tyler Reddick.
Coming out of turn two Allgaier’s Chevrolet popped the outside wall, allowing Reddick to get a run to his inside into turn three. Reddick got alongside Allgaier, but nearly spun racing under Allgaier and had to back out of the throttle.
One lap later the final caution flag of the race waved when Gray Gaulding and Vinnie Miller spun in turns one and two. The green flag waved for the final time with 14 laps left and Bell continued to hold serve, easily pulling clear of Allgaier to hold the lead.
At the checkered flag Bell crossed the finish line 1.745 seconds ahead of Allgaier to earn his third victory of the season and his second Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus this season.
“I just can’t say enough about everyone on this 20 team at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Bell said. “They never quit. They keep working and over the last couple weeks we’ve had really fast race cars, but we just haven’t been able to capitalize on it. This one is really out to my pit crew. They did a great job of getting me out first there where I could control the restarts. I knew if we could get out front, we were going to be tough to beat.”
Reddick finished third ahead of Custer, who led a race-high 156 laps, but struggled after losing the lead on pit road late in the race and had to settle for fourth.
“It’s really frustrating when you lead that many laps. You just can’t give up your track position here,” Custer admitted. “Everybody wants to win at Dover, that’s why it’s so frustrating. We had a great Haas Automation Mustang.
“It’s about the hardest track to pass at that we go to. We just couldn’t get it all back. It’s just frustrating. We were so good and it just feels like we didn’t take advantage of a good car today.”
Chase Briscoe finished fifth ahead of Austin Cindric and Brandon Jones. John Hunter Nemechek nipped Zane Smith at the finish for eighth after the two made contact and crashed across the finish line. Michael Annett completed the top-10.