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NASCAR Xfinity: Christopher Bell wins at Dover, four drivers eliminated from playoffs

during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Bar Harbor 200 presented by Sea Watch International at Dover International Speedway on October 6, 2018 in Dover, Delaware.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Christopher Bell claimed his sixth NASCAR win of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season in dominating fashion at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Saturday, leading 110 of the 200 laps that made up the Bar Harbor 200 en route to his latest victory. He claimed a piece of Xfinity Series history with his latest win, becoming the first rookie in Xfinity Series history to win six races.

“It’s the means the world,” Bell said. “To be able to have the season we had, it’s been a career year for me. It’s all credit to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and my crew chief Jason Ratcliff — everyone that works at the shop to put these Camrys together. We have really fast cars every time we go to the track. All of our partners deserve it. Today, we had Rheem on the car; other weeks we’ve had Ruud and GameStop. Everyone that makes this happen, I am thankful to be a part of it and drive for them.”

The win also was the 12th series win for Joe Gibbs Racing at Dover.

Cole Custer finished second, Justin Allgaier third, Ryan Preece fourth, and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the top-five.

“Early on, there were probably some restarts where I was a little bit too conservative, just making sure I wasn’t gonna get wrecked,” Custer said. “Our car was pretty solid. It was a lot about track position, and we had to work on our car throughout the day, but the car was awesome at the end. We just needed a tick more. Me and Chris were about equal, but he had the track position. I wish I could have figured out the top faster on that long run, but I think we made huge gains at this track, and that’s a testament to our engineers and crew chief and whole team and the Ford simulator, too.  I think we have some good momentum going into the next round.”

Saturday’s race was the elimination race of the first three-race round of the playoffs. Brandon Jones and Ryan Truex were eliminated, despite top-10 race finishes. Jones finished sixth and Truex 10th.

“We started fifth today and finished sixth,” Jones said. “Still not a bad day.”

Ross Chastain and Matt Tifft battled for the eighth and final playoff advancement spot and even got together late in the race in doing so. After being part of a three-car incident, also involving Chase Briscoe, and bringing out the fourth and final yellow flag on lap 179, Chastain finished the race in the 13th position and Tifft 15th. The two drivers were, at one point late in the race, in a points tie, as they ran, for the final spot in the second round. At race’s end, though, Tifft had the spot by three points over Chastain.

The other driver eliminated from the playoffs at Dover was Ryan Reed, who finished 16th in the race.

Bell won the first 45-lap stage of the race. After starting on the front row next to pole sitter Daniel Hemric, Bell took the lead on the opening lap and ran up front the entire opening stage.

Hemric was the winner of the second stage. He got off pit road first during the caution at the start of the stage but lost the lead to Allgaier on the restart. Hemric retook the his lead on lap 75 to take his stage win 15 laps later.

After winning the second stage, though, Hemric was nabbed speeding on pit road. Over the course of the final 110-lap stage he got back up to seventh for the finish.

Bell lost positions on pit road on both of his first two pit stops at the end of each of the first two stages. He began the final stage outside the top five. After Custer led laps early in the third stage, Bell got back to the front on lap 133.

Bell briefly lost the lead as a result of Jones’ pit strategy of taking only two tires during a lap-162 caution, but when the race restarted, Bell retook his lead and ran up front the remainder of the race.

“This Rheem Camry was so fast on the long run and, especially, when I could get the top going. It was really good,” Bell said.

Other top-10 finishers included Austin Cindric in eighth and John Hunter Nemechek in ninth.

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Posted by on October 6, 2018. 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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