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NASCAR Xfinity: Christopher Bell gets first win for Supra

during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23, 2019 in Hampton, Georgia.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Christopher Bell’s dominant performance in the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the second race of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, led to the driver’s ninth-career series win. It also was the first win for the Toyota Supra in its second race in the series.

“It means a lot to be able to come over here and win in the second race and what I call the first true race of the season,” Bell said. “Hopefully, it means something, and we can build on this and try and help our long run speed.”

Cole Custer finished second, Justin Allgaier was third, Brandon Jones fourth, and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-five.

Reddick was closing in on Bell and the race lead when the yellow flag waved for a John Hunter Nemechek spin with seven laps remaining. Bell got out of the pits first, but Reddick wound up sixth for the restart with three laps to go after his pit crew’s air hose got caught on the splitter of the car during service. When the race restarted, Custer got up to second and challenged Bell for the lead and the win on the final lap.

“That was a fun race,” Custer said. “I thought the end was pretty good. I thought I might get it for a second. We just didn’t have enough, there, and Bell kind of took my line, there, in the last lap. It is a great start to the year in our first race with the Jacob Companies Mustang. We got a new crew chief, and it was huge for us to start the year strong. I feel like we will be a threat all year.”

Bell claimed two stage wins in the first 80 laps of the 163-lap race. After taking the lead from pole sitter Custer on the opening lap, he led all 40 laps that made up the first stage, mostly with Custer running in second.

Bell, then, led all but one lap in the second stage that ended at lap 80. The only lap he didn’t lead was lap 43, a lap credited to Custer during yellow-flag pit stops after the end of the first stage. He was out of the lead for a few more laps after the second, stage, though, when Jones and Reddick beat him off pit road during the round of stops to start the third and final stage of the race.

Jones was nabbed speeding on pit road, putting Reddick in the lead. Reddick was able to fend off Bell until 70 laps remaining when Bell retook the lead. Meanwhile, Jones had the task of driving back up for the 18th position on the restart as a result of his speeding penalty and Custer from 10th after trouble on pit road.

With the final stage length at 83 laps and the race running incident-free until the final 10 laps, green-flag pit stops were necessary in the final round. Noah Gragson stayed out several laps to lead before finally making his stop with about 30 laps remaining. But by staying out so many laps, he dug himself into a hole, going a lap down when he made his stop.

Reddick and Allgaier had beaten Bell out of the pits, but several laps before Gragson pitted, Bell had gotten by them to get in position to inherit the lead with Gragson’s stop.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ryan Preece, Justin Haley, Gragson and Austin Cindric

The yellow flag waved only the three times in the race — twice to end stages and the final time for Nemechek’s spin.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

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Posted by on February 23, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. 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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