Christopher Bell Sustains Damage to Finish Third
As the laps wound down in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250, Christopher Bell appeared to be in perfect position to have consecutive series wins. But his efforts were dashed by rush-hour traffic.
Throughout Saturday’s event at Martinsville Speedway, Bell was in contention with a fourth-place finish in Stage 1. Bell then played strategy for Stage 2, pitting with 25 laps to go, restarting mid-pack. He fought back to finish ninth, before taking over the lead when many trucks chose to pit.
Restarting in the lead, Bell held off Chase Elliott for 88 circuits as they closed on lapped traffic. Austin Cindric, trying to stay on the lead lap, went across the No. 4 Toyota front bumper, taking the bottom lane. The sudden swerve caught Bell off-guard, causing him to making contact with Cindric’s No. 19 Ford. He would suffer left-side damage and fall in behind GMS Racing teammates Elliott and Johnny Sauter.
With little time remaining, Bell would have to settle for a third-place finish.
“We were in really heavy lapped traffic, and obviously both the GMS trucks were really fast,” he said. “But I felt like our truck was able to maintain and we were strong enough that we were going to be able to hold on there and getting through lapped traffic, got to the 19 (Austin Cindric), got into the back of him in (turns) three and four and then he got all the way up the race track off of four all the way to the wall. At that point, I had went down to try and get underneath him getting into (turn) one, and he decided he was going to go down with me.”
While it wasn’t the result Bell wanted, he has posted a top-10 finish in all three events thus far and sits second in the standings.
“I’m just proud of everyone on this Kyle Busch Motorsports number 4 (truck),” he said. “We brought a really fast JBL Toyota Tundra today and just don’t quite have the result to show for it. Third’s a good place to build on and we’ll come back here in the fall and be a little bit better.”
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