Bell Takes Iowa Xfinity Race and Sets a Record

Justin Heyworth/AP

AMES, IA- RIS – Christopher Bell set a NASCAR Xfinity record in winning his third straight race at Iowa Speedway in Saturday’s US Cellular 250.  I had been years in series’ history since a driver had won three straight. The last person to do it?  Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  Bell did it despite some bad luck in the closing stages of the race.

Bell moved back out front in overtime to win a wild NASCAR Xfinity series race on Newton’s bull ring, becoming the first series regular with three straight victories since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999.

Coming off victories in Kentucky and New Hampshire, Bell led 94 of 257 laps. He broke a tie with Cup driver Kyle Larson for the series season victory lead with four.

“When it’s your day, it’s your day,” Bell said. “I’ll take them any way I can get them, man.”

Bell fell back to fourth in the first attempt at overtime before a red flag halted the race. He retook control in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 car, going low to beat Justin Allgaier —the winner of the June race at Iowa.

Allgaier was second, followed by Kyle Benjamin, and Ross Chastain.

Bell seized the top spot early in the final stage and, after a clean final pit stop, seemed set to cruise to a victory if the race stayed green.

It didn’t, and Bell nearly got knocked out of the race in the first of three late incidents that set up a thrilling finish.

Bell avoided a near-disastrous crash with 14 laps left when Chase Briscoe spun out right in front of him. Bell somehow kept the No. 20 largely clean, damaging the nose of his car and he held first on a restart with nine laps left before Garrett Smithley spun out to draw another flag that brought on overtime.

Allgaier got the best of the field on that restart though, emerging from the pack on the high groove to grab the lead. That wouldn’t last, as Max Tullman and Matt Tifft drew the red flag with a big crash before the first overtime lap could be completed.

After the race resumed, Bell and Algaier rubbed fenders until Bell got by and went on to victory in a exciting finish.

“(Bell) drove into me and tried to put me into the wall,” Allgaier said. “It’s disappointing to be in that position, especially when you think you know how somebody is going to race you … unfortunately that’s Iowa. And (Bell) definitely had the best car. No questions asked.”

It was the seventh victory for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa and the first for Bell.

Iowa Speedway - Newton, IA - .875 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 257 Laps - 224.875 Miles
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 3 20 Christopher Bell # Ruud Toyota 257 3 1 58 Running 4 94 6
2 7 7 Justin Allgaier Precision Tank Chevrolet 257 6 3 48 Running 1 6
3 4 18 Kyle Benjamin Toyota Service Centers/Mobil 1 Toyota 257 5 7 44 Running 1 5
4 18 4 Ross Chastain KM Sports/Future Media Sales Chevrolet 257 33 Running
5 11 42 John Hunter Nemechek Fire Alarm Services Inc. Chevrolet 257 8 6 40 Running
6 1 1 Elliott Sadler US Cellular Chevrolet 257 2 8 43 Running 2 41
7 19 16 Ryan Reed Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford 257 9 32 Running
8 14 11 Ryan Truex Phantom Fireworks Chevrolet 257 29 Running
9 2 00 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 257 1 2 47 Running 3 104 1
10 12 60 Chase Briscoe Ford Ford 257 27 Running
11 10 21 Daniel Hemric South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet 257 9 10 29 Running
12 9 19 Brandon Jones Menards/Tide Toyota 257 7 4 36 Running 1 1
13 8 3 Shane Lee Childress Vineyards Chevrolet 256 10 25 Running 1 6
14 17 5 Michael Annett TMC Chevrolet 256 23 Running
15 15 23 Casey Roderick Chevy Accessories Chevrolet 256 22 Running
16 21 36 Alex Labbe # RoyAuto.com/VR Victoriaville Chevrolet 255 21 Running
17 22 35 Joey Gase SALARMYWESTERN.ORG/Iowa Donate Network 255 20 Running
18 6 22 Austin Cindric # LTi Printing Ford 254 4 5 32 Running
19 23 52 David Starr Honest Wrenches Chevrolet 253 18 Running
20 13 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com Chevrolet 253 17 Running
21 25 78 Tommy Joe Martins Riessen Construction Chevrolet 253 16 Running
22 5 9 Tyler Reddick # Takl Chevrolet 252 15 Running
23 27 76 Spencer Boyd # Grunt Style Chevrolet 252 14 Running
24 31 90 Josh Williams Sleep Well Chevrolet 251 13 Running
25 24 0 Garrett Smithley FAME / fame-usa.com Chevrolet 250 12 Running
26 16 2 Matt Tifft American Ethanol e15 Chevrolet 249 11 Accident
27 28 15 Brandon Hightower Kustom Race Parts/Premier Recycling Chevrolet 249 10 Running
28 30 8 Ray Black II Chevrolet 248 9 Running
29 34 01 Vinnie Miller # JAS Expedited Trucking LLC Chevrolet 247 8 Running
30 26 26 Max Tullman(i) Zoomi\Myota Ford 245 0 Accident
31 36 55 Peter Shepherd III National Exhaust Systems Toyota 242 6 Running
32 35 74 Mike Harmon Horizon Transport Chevrolet 241 5 Running
33 37 66 Stan Mullis TLC Resorts Chevrolet 236 4 Running
34 20 39 Ryan Sieg Lombard Bros. Gaming Chevrolet 206 3 Running
35 32 38 Jeff Green RSS Racing Chevrolet 140 2 Ignition
36 40 92 Dexter Bean Chevrolet 73 PE Vibration
37 29 40 Chad Finchum # MBM Motorsports Toyota 56 1 Brakes
38 33 89 Morgan Shepherd Visone RV Chevrolet 46 1 Brakes
39 39 93 Stephen Leicht RSS Racing Chevrolet 36 1 Electrical
40 38 45 Josh Bilicki # Prevagen Toyota 2 1 Engine
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 18 Mins, 00 Secs. Average Speed: 97.772 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.421 Seconds
00,1,20,22,18,7,19,42,21,3
20,00,7,19,22,42,18,1,16,21
Race Comments: Christopher Bell won the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol at Iowa Speedway, his fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory. Prior to the green flag, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reason indicated: No. 45 (unapproved adjustments).
Failed to Qualify: N/A
Caution Flags: 6 for 41 laps: Laps: 20-26 (Debris Turn 3 [89]); 57-67 (#01 Spin Frontstretch [40]); 122-129 (End of Stage 2 [26]); 238-241 (#60, 20 Incident Turn 4 [None]); 244-249 (#0 Spin Turn 4 [2]); 251-255 (#2, 26 Incident Turn 1 [Red Flag 17:18] [60]).
Lead Changes: 12 among 7 drivers: E. Sadler 1-26; C. Custer 27-67; E. Sadler 68-82; C. Custer 83-115; C. Bell # 116-123; C. Custer 124-153; C. Bell # 154-200; B. Jones 201; K. Benjamin 202-206; S. Lee 207-212; C. Bell # 213-249; J. Allgaier 250-255; C. Bell # 256-257.
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Toyota Racing Development (TRD), #20 Mobil 1 Driver of the Race : Christopher Bell, #20
Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Christopher Bell, #20
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: Aug. 4, 2018 - Watkins Glen International

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 6, Posted 11:50 PM, 07.28.2018