Bell Takes Atlanta Xfinity Race

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HAMPTON, GA – RIS – Despite a lingering fog and damp atmosphere,  Christopher led the majority of the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.  He held the lead for all but 20 laps but faced challenges from Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer in the final ten laps.

It was the first victory for the Supra that Toyota is using this season in NASCAR’s second-tier series.

“First Supra win in the Xfinity Series, so that means a lot for me to be able to win the first one,” Bell said.

Bell, who won a series-high seven races last season, gave up the lead during scheduled pit stops but cycled back to the front with 30 laps remaining. As dominant as he appeared, Bell didn’t believe he had the race locked up until a caution with eight laps to go gave him the chance to get fresh tires to preserve the victory.

Cole Custer made a late final charge, but Bell worked Atlanta’s abrasive racing lines over a three-lap sprint to the finish to win his first factory of the 2019 seson.

“I felt pretty sloppy there as a driver at times. We struggled on the longer runs,” Bell said. “I was tickled when that caution came out so I could go get some tires.”

The caution for John Hunter Nemechek’s spin with eight laps remaining gave Custer a shot to catch Bell. Although Bell beat Custer by .191 seconds, Custer felt that Bell would not have won had he not changed his racing line to hold off Custer’s charge.

“If he ran on the bottom, I think I would have had him,” Custer said. “It was close, man, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Justin Allgaier finished third and was followed by Brandon Jones and Tyler Reddick.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, was sixth for his first career top-10 finish. He has a partial deal with Joe Gibbs Racing — Bell’s team — and believes competitive cars will give Earnhardt a chance to win races


Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 3 20 Christopher Bell Rheem Toyota 163 1 1 60 Running 5 142 7
2 1 00 Cole Custer Jacob Companies Ford 163 2 2 53 Running 2 2
3 7 7 Justin Allgaier Cessna Chevrolet 163 3 42 Running
4 9 19 Brandon Jones Menards/Jeld-Wen Toyota 163 5 4 46 Running 1 1
5 12 2 Tyler Reddick Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet 163 4 3 47 Running 2 9
6 8 18 Jeffrey Earnhardt iK9 Toyota 163 7 5 41 Running
7 6 8 Ryan Preece(i) Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet 163 9 9 0 Running
8 13 11 Justin Haley # LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 163 29 Running
9 4 9 Noah Gragson # Switch Chevrolet 163 28 Running 1 9
10 5 22 Austin Cindric Discount  Tire Ford 163 8 6 35 Running
11 18 39 Ryan Sieg Code Rum Chevrolet 163 26 Running
12 16 1 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association 163 7 29 Running
13 11 86 Brandon Brown # Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet 163 24 Running
14 15 4 Ross Chastain teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 163 23 Running
15 28 98 Chase Briscoe # Nutri Chomps Ford 162 10 8 26 Running
16 35 08 Gray Gaulding GGPure.com/The Country Network Chevrolet 162 21 Running
17 22 0 Garrett Smithley teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 162 20 Running
18 17 51 Jeremy Clements All South Electric Chevrolet 162 19 Running
19 23 90 Alex Labbe Alpha Prime Chevrolet 162 18 Running
20 10 23 John Hunter Nemechek # Fire Alarm Services Inc Chevrolet 162 6 10 23 Running
21 19 36 Josh Williams Simcraft Chevrolet 161 16 Running
22 21 17 Bayley Currey(i) Chevrolet 159 0 Running
23 20 07 Ray Black II ISOKERN Fireplaces & Chimneys/Scuba Life 159 14 Running
24 29 15 BJ McLeod teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 159 13 Running
25 30 01 Stephen Leicht teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 159 12 Running
26 2 42 Chad Finchum Smithbilt Homes Toyota 158 11 Running
27 27 52 David Starr Chasco Chevrolet 158 10 Running
28 33 66 Timmy Hill CrashclaimsR.US/James Carter Attorney at Law 157 9 Running
29 32 35 Joey Gase Donate Life GA/Life Link Toyota 156 8 Running
30 25 5 Matt Mills JF Electric Chevrolet 154 7 Running
31 24 99 Tommy Joe Martins Diamond Gusset Jeans Toyota 152 6 Running
32 14 78 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Chevrolet 94 5 Transmission
33 36 74 Mike Harmon Time For A Hero Chevrolet 90 4 Electrical
34 26 38 Josh Bilicki Chevrolet 87 3 Ignition
35 37 89 Morgan Shepherd Visone RV Chevrolet 45 2 Brakes
36 31 93 Jeff Green Chevrolet 42 1 Vibration
37 34 13 John Jackson Fluidyne/CrashClaimsR.US Toyota 14 1 Suspension
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 48 Mins, 0 Secs. Average Speed: 139.456 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.191 Seconds
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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 2019, Issue 2, Posted 5:26 PM, 02.23.2019