Friday the 13th is a day known for superstition. For Christopher Bell, however, it would turn out to be his lucky day.
Bell drove his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory in the Xfinity Series ALSCO 300 at Kentucky Speedway Friday night to score his third series career win in only 25 starts. He started out his day, however, with a little bad luck when he spun during qualifying and had to start the race from the rear of the field. But he battled the entire race so that he could be in contention for the win at the end.
“Your job is to just go out there and drive the race car as fast as you can,” Bell said. “My guys have been doing a great job all night picking up spots. I’m just really proud of this team. It’s a ton of fun to be here and I am thankful I get to stand in Victory Lane one more time.”
Stage 1 would go flag to flag green without any cautions. Pole sitter Cole Custer led at the start of the stage but it didn’t take driver Kyle Busch long to make his way into the top spot, and he would go on to be the stage winner.
Stage 2 also ran flag to flag without any caution periods. John Hunter Nemechek had a great run going and took the top spot from Busch. Driver Ty Majeski tapped the wall but it did not bring out the yellow flag and Nemechek would go on to win this stage gaining his first Xfinity stage win.
The final stage, unlike the first two, would see several cautions. Busch had a good pit stop which put him back into the top spot for the start of the stage. It was looking as if Busch would be the car to beat but as the saying goes, “cautions breed cautions,” which is primarily what happened. Restarts were crazy with drivers trying to gain any advantage they could. The cautions consisted mainly of two car incidents with one driver making contact with another and that driver ending up tapping the wall. Late in the race, Daniel Hemric was able to get around Busch for the lead and he would not lead again. Justin Allgaier was able to get up to the front to lead as well but with 16 laps to go Bell took the lead and won the race. Hemric brought his No.21 Richard Childress Racing Chevy home in second place.
“Unbelievable, frustrated on my end. I’m just not getting the job done for everybody at RCR,” a disappointed Hemric said after the race. “I wish I had the opportunity to undo a couple of things there on my end, but I just didn’t do my job.”
Taking third place was Busch in his No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
“Good for a teammate to win, obviously for Christopher and those guys for their chances this year,” he said. “The NOS Energy drink Camry was a top three car all day today, I thought it was a top one car. The No. 42 car was probably the best car overall. We came home third, but that’s not what we are here for. We need to win these things so, next time.”
Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer would round out the top five. Tyler Reddick, Nemechek, Ryan Reed, Paul Menard, and Austin Cindric finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
Elliott Sadler leads the Xfinity Series standings with 608 points while Hemric is shown in second, also with 608 points. Custer is in third with 605 followed by Bell in fourth with 591 points and Allgaier rounds out the top five with 569 points.
The Xfinity Series heads next to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 21.