• 61°

Christopher Bell races to 5th NASCAR Xfinity win of season

LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Christopher Bell moved into a tie for the NASCAR Xfinity Series victory lead with five, dominating Saturday in hot conditions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell led 186 of the 200 laps in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota — only losing the lead when he pitted on Lap 33 — and finished more than four seconds ahead of Cole Custer, the Ford driver who won last weekend at Kentucky Speedway for his fifth victory of the season. Bell has 13 career series victories.

“The race cars win the races. The drivers just kind of are along for the ride,” Bell said, giving credit to crew chief Jason Ratcliff. “Jason keeps giving me great race cars. That’s what the key is.”

As happy as Ratcliff was to see the 24-year-old driver remain humble, he said Bell has had a lot to do within his own success.

“I’ve had a lot of good race cars but couldn’t win races in them without the right guy behind the wheel,” Ratcliff said. “He’s being patient. He’s doing a good job of executing each and every week and building on that. We’ll just see what tomorrow holds, but I think he’s got good things in store for him.”

Custer lost the lead on the first lap after starting from the pole.

“I wasn’t driving the car right at the start of the race, so I kind of got behind on adjustments,” Custer said. “I wish we’d had another caution so we could catch up to him.”

Justin Algaier was third in a Chevrolet. Series points leader Tyler Reddick was fourth in a Chevy, and Paul Menard followed in a Ford. 

Harrison Burton was running fifth for JGR until the 154th lap, when he got bumped from behind by Menard and spun out and struck the wall. Burton, the son former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, was able to get back on the track and finished 29th. He and Menard had a lengthy conversation at their cars after the race.

“He hit me twice, and I hit him once,” Menard said. “He was mad at me for hitting him that one time.”

The 18-year-old Burton didn’t think Menard’s retaliation was justified.

“We had a restart there, the first thing he said he was mad about was I hit him on the restart,” Burton said. “But I was on the apron, and he turned down across my nose. He got mad about that, and then I barely touched his door, and I got out of the gas because I didn’t want to hit him any harder than I did. Then I passed him clean and he wrecked me.”

Comments

Local

Dreams of flight become reality at ASCEND summer camp

Local

Base salary for SPD officers increases to nearly $42,000 next week

News

‘He loved people:’ Larry Ford leaves behind legacy of legal achievement, community service

Local

Statewide pickleball tournament at Catawba College in September expected to draw hundreds of visitors

Local

Resources still available for those dealing with lingering impacts of pandemic

Education

Shoutouts: Misenheimer completes master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College

Education

State expands Principal of the Year to charter schools

High School

All-county baseball team: Norris Award winner Honeycutt made the most of a dozen games

Education

Partners in learning raises $3.2 million for new facility

Education

Tar Heel Boys State creates miniature government at Catawba College

News

NC medical marijuana legalization gets hearing in Senate

News

N. Carolina bill ending extra $300 benefits heads to Cooper

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 positives in Rowan at lowest point since start of pandemic

Education

Rowan Wild’s animal camp makes a comeback at Dan Nicholas Park

Coronavirus

Health officials say financial incentives helped vaccination rates; lottery drawing today

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry adopts budget that keeps tax rate flat

Business

Airport Advisory committee endorses plans for expansion at Mid-Carolina Regional

China Grove

China Grove will celebrate 40th Farmers Day with week full of festivities

Sports

Pistons win in NBA draft lottery; Hornets will get 11th pick

Crime

Officers in Locust arrest drivers who tried to flee; one was on motorcycle reported stolen from Rowan

News

Panel OKs NC Senate budget bill; Dems pan policy provisions

News

Letter: Journalist won’t join UNC faculty without tenure

Crime

Chase from Mooresville ends with crash at Rowan Mill Road; two charged

Kannapolis

Dearmons gift two public art sculptures to city of Kannapolis