Bell takes Xfinity race for 2nd straight win at Dover

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 5, 2019

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Christopher Bell raced to his third Xfinity Series victory of the season, winning an extra $100,000 for taking the checkered flag at Dover International Speedway.

Bell also won at Dover for the second straight time, though he led only 44 laps in the No. 20 Toyota on Saturday compared with 110 last fall. Bell also won this season at Atlanta and Bristol and has 11 career wins in NASCAR’s second-tier series in just 51 starts.

“We’ve had really fast race cars, but we just haven’t been able to capitalize on it,” Bell said. “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.”

Bell matched Kyle Busch, who stars in the elite Cup series, for most Xfinity wins this season. He gave his checkered flag to a young fan in the stands.

The 2017 Truck Series champion, Bell earned a $100,000 bonus for scoring the highest finish among a field of four drivers in the “Dash 4 Cash” incentive program and already has plans for the money.

“That sprint car team is a long way down the road, but it’s definitely a dream of mine to have one,” he said.

The 24-year-old Bell is seemingly ready to move up to the Cup series but faces a logjam at Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, is signed beyond 2020 and so are Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Erik Jones said at Bristol he is discussing a contract extension with JGR. Bell will likely find a Cup ride in 2020 but it’s unclear for which organization he’ll drive.

“Winning races doesn’t seem to be an issue for us,” Bell said.

Justin Allgaier was second and Tyler Reddick third. Pole-sitter Cole Custer won the first two stages ad led a race-high 156 laps but faded and finished fourth.