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NASCAR Xfinity: Christopher Bell begins playoffs with seventh win

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – SEPTEMBER 20: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series GoBowling 250 at Richmond Raceway on September 20, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)


Christopher Bell kicked off the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs in dominant fashion Friday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, leading 238 of the 250 laps that made up the 250, the first race of the playoffs, on his way to his seventh win of the season.

“I think I told every one of my guys, this is an important race right here, because if you win this, you’re pretty much safe until you get to the middle of October, going to Kansas,” Bell said. “This one means a lot. And it’s number seven; that’s pretty good, too.”

The other playoff drivers, Austin Cindric and Brandon Jones, combined to lead the other 12 laps of the race. Cindric finished second after leading eight laps and Jones wound up 11th after leading the other four.

“We’re peaking at the right time; that’s for sure,” Cindric said. ”That’s definitely what I know, but I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made, the progress I’ve made, the things that I’ve understood to put races like this together, and overall, just a great team effort.”

Playoff drivers swept the top-five of the finishing order, with Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe finishing third through fifth.

Cindric started on the pole and lede the first six laps of the race before Bell took over with his first lead on lap seven. Bell’s dominant performance included wins in both 75-lap stages of the first 150 laps of the race.

After Bell took his initial lead, Cindric and Harrison Burton battled back-and-forth for second position for several laps until Noah Gragson got by Burton for third on a restart after a lap-51 caution for Vinnie Millr.

Cindric held the second position for the remainder of the opening stage.

Jones took his only lead of the race by getting off pit road first with a fuel-only stop during the caution at the end of the first stage, but when the race restarted, he lost several positions, including the first two to Cindric and Bell. Soon after Cindric took the lead from Jones, Bell took the lead from Cindric and led the remainder of the race.

“Going 92 laps straight here is really difficult,” Bell said. “We were sliding all around. I felt like if I could get to traffic I was going to be in good shape, because my car could move around really good. I could run up or I could run down. The 00 (Custer) was keeping pressure on us pretty good, but this Rheem Supra was too good.”

Custer eventually took the second position from Cindric to run second to Bell for awhile before Cindric retook the position late in the race.

“After qualifying, I was really happy with it,” Custer said. ”I was a little worried after that, qualifying 12th, but we were able to kind of work forward, there, and didn’t quite have enough for the 20 (Bell). He could just kind of tie the corner together better than I did, but I think it was a really good way to start off the playoffs. We’re 60 points to the good now, so going to the Roval, you have no idea what to expect, so that makes you feel a little bit better.”

Three additional playoff drivers finished in the top-10 — Noah Gragson in seventh, Michael Annett ninth and Tyler Reddick in 10th. Burton and Zane Smith also finished in the top-10 in sixth and eighth, respectively.

Jones was one of four playoff drivers outside the top-10 at the checkered flag. Ryan Sieg was 12th, John Hunter Nemechek was 15th after starting the race in the back, and Justin Haley finished 17th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the 250 at Richmond Raceway:

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Posted by on September 21, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,Xfinity Series. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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