Toyota NXS Iowa Post-Race Recap

Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Iowa Speedway
Race 19 of 33 – 224.875 miles, 257 laps
July 28, 2018

2nd, Justin Allgaier*
4th, Ross Chastain*
5th, John Hunter Nemechek*
*non-Toyota driver

1st, CHRISTOPHER BELL 702 points
2nd, Elliot Sadler* 686 points
3rd, Cole Custer* 684 points
4th, Daniel Hemric* 679 points
5th, Justin Allgaier* 650 points
6th, BRANDON JONES 579 points
*non-Toyota driver
**unofficial point standings

American Muscle

· Camry driver Christopher Bell took the checkered flag in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at Iowa Speedway to earn his third consecutive victory.

· With his victory, Bell became the first Xfinity Series regular driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999 to win three straight NXS races.

· Bell led 94 laps (of 257) in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Ruud Camry to earn his fourth victory of the season.

· Kyle Benjamin earned a third-place finish for Toyota in Saturday’s NXS race.


CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Ruud Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

Can you take us through the final restart and getting by Justin Allgaier to win your third straight race?

“When it’s your day it’s your day. I’ll take them anyway I can get them, man. Our Rudd Camry was really, really good. I’m just thankful that we were able to get Ruud in victory lane. This was their first win. All of these Camrys are made in Georgetown, Kentucky, here in the United States so it’s special to win for these guys. I’ll tell you what, that long run there early in the race the 00 (Cole Custer) was kind of able to get out on me and we were really equal, but I thought he might have been a little bit better. My crew chief Jason (Ratcliff) just kept making the car better and better and better and just praying for no yellow there on that long green-flag run and then it came it just came time to execute on restarts. I let one get away on me, but this thing was just so good I was able to come from the second row and get there.”

What does it mean to be the first Xfinity Series regular to win three straight races since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999?

“It’s pretty cool, man. I’m just kind of speechless. These races are really hard to win. Growing up Sprint car racing and Midget racing you don’t have long races like this and it’s been really difficult for me to wrap my head around how to run these long distance races and thankfully with the great people behind me like Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and our spotter Tony Hirschman who wasn’t here with us, but I had another great spotter Al on top of the roof today. Those guys take good care of me and make sure I keep my head on for all 250.”

Did you get into Justin Allgaier intentionally on the final restart?

“I apologize to him if I lifted him up off the back straightaway. I was definitely pushing him, but I felt like I was helping both of us get away from the field so I didn’t mean to pick his rear end up, that’s not a fun feeling. So, I apologize for that. I didn’t plan on doing that or didn’t want to do that.”

Can you take us through the final restart?

“Well, it was definitely hair raising for sure. I was praying for no yellow, but when we went green for that long – I think it was over 100 laps – I was like there’s no way. I saw two or three guys getting into the wall in front of me and I was like there’s no way we’re going to make it to the end of the race. I didn’t expect the yellow to come literally at my front bumper. That caught my attention a little bit. From that point on I knew it was going to be a matter of executing on restarts. I was able to get the first restart good and then my teammate Brandon Jones did a heck of a job pushing me. Then, the next restart (Justin) Allgaier did an awesome and poked to my outside instead of pushing me through and then once he did that I lost some momentum and fell back. This thing was good enough that I was able to come back on that (final) restart).”

Can you talk about the momentum this team has as you get closer to the Playoffs?

“It’s great, but this racing gig is extremely difficult. It’s never easy. You can win today and that doesn’t guarantee you anything for next week. We’ve won a lot of races now but you’ve got to keep winning more.”

KYLE BENJAMIN, No. 18 Toyota Service Centers/Mobil 1 Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 3rd

Can you talk about the final restart?

“Right there on the final restart I had a really good car that I needed on the short run, but that red flag, everyone was going to cool their stuff off and it was going to be tough. If I had had a few more laps, I could’ve gotten him (Christopher Bell). Everybody having cool tires put us on an even playing field and I knew it was all about the start right there if I could get three-wide and somehow get them both off of turn 2. I would’ve had them, but the 42 (John Hunter Nemechek) pushed me all the way through the center and I lost my turn and when that happened I got back. I want to thank Toyota for helping me out and just really glad to have this opportunity. Can’t thank them enough.”

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