Christopher Bell Dominates and Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Dover

Bell set a record for most wins in a season by a rookie with six.

byAmanda Vincent| PUBLISHED Oct 7, 2018 10:42 AM
Christopher Bell Dominates and Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Dover
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Christopher Bell dominated the Bar Harbor 200 at Dover International Speedway on Saturday by setting a record at the legendary “Monster Mile.” He led 110 of the 200 laps that made up the race on his way to his latest NASCAR Xfinity Series win.

The win was Bell’s sixth of the season, giving him sole possession of the most wins in a season for a rookie. It also was the 12th Xfinity Series win for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Chriostpher Bell receives the checkered flag from the NASCAR Xfinity Series flagman after winning the Bar Harbor 200 at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 6, 2018., Getty Images for NASCAR

“It’s a credit to my team,” Bell said. “As a race car driver, you’re only as good as your race car. Really fortunate to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing. My crew chief and team work their butts off and bring really face cars to these tracks. Makes my job easy.”

Bell’s laps led also included a Stage 1 win at Lap 45. After starting on the front row next to polesitter Daniel Hemric, Bell took the lead on Lap 1 and led the entire opening stage.

Hemric and Bell start up front

, Daniel Hemric [21] and Christopher Bell [20] took the green flag from the front row for the Bar Harbor 200 at NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 6, 2018., Getty Images for NASCAR

Hemric won the second stage that ended at Lap 90. He was first out of the pits during the caution after the first stage, but lost the lead to Justin Allgaier on the restart. He retook the lead, though, on Lap 75.

After his stage win, Hemric was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty, and as a result, Cole Custer wound up the race leader. Bell retook the lead on Lap 133 and ran up front most of the remaining laps. Brandon Jones got off pit road first with a two-tire pit stop during a Lap 162 yellow flag, but when the race resumed, Bell retook the lead.

Custer took runner-up honors and Allgaier finished third.

“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.”

Hemric rebounded from his penalty to finish seventh.

The Bar Harbor 200 was the elimination race for the first round of the 2018 Xfinity Series playoffs. Ross Chastain and Matt Tifft battled for the eighth and final playoff advancement spot in the closing laps. Chastain finished the race in 13th and Tifft 15th, but Tifft took the final spot in the second round in the playoffs by three points over Chastain. Jones and Ryan Truex also were eliminated, despite top-10 race finishes.

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

Ryan Reed was the other eliminated driver.

BAR HARBOR 200 RESULTS:

1. Christopher Bell, No. 20 Toyota

2. Cole Custer, No. 00 Ford

3. Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Chevrolet

4. Ryan Preece, No. 18 Toyota

5. Spencer Gallagher, No. 23 Chevrolet

6. Brandon Jones, No. 19 Toyota

7. Daniel Hemric, No. 21 Chevrolet

8. Austin Cindric, No. 22 Ford

9. John Hunter Nemechek, No. 42 Chevrolet

10. Ryan Truex, No. 11 Chevrolet

11. Elliott Sadler, No. 1 Chevrolet

12. Michael Annett, No. 5 Chevrolet

13. Ross Chastain, No. 4 Chevrolet

14. Tyler Reddick, No. 9 Chevrolet

15. Matt Tifft, No. 2 Chevrolet

16. Ryan Reed, No. 16 Ford

17. Shane Lee, No. 3 Chevrolet

18. Ryan Sieg, No. 39 Chevrolet

19. Chase Briscoe, No. 60 Ford

20. Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet

21. Alex Labbe, No. 36 Chevrolet

22. Brandon Brown, No. 90 Chevrolet

23. Garrett Smithley, No. 0 Chevrolet

24. David Starr, No. 52 Chevrolet

25. Vinnie Miller, No. 78 Chevrolet

26. Landon Cassill, No. 01 Chevrolet

27. Timmy Hill, No. 66 Dodge

28. Matt Mills, No. 8 Chevrolet

29. Bayley Currey, No. 55 Toyota

30. Joey Gase, No. 35 Chevrolet

31. Josh Bilicki, No. 45 Toyota

32. Spencer Boyd, No. 76 Chevrolet

33. J.J. Yeley, No. 38 Chevrolet

34. Chad Finchum, No. 40 Toyota

35. Mike Harmon, No. 74 Dodge

36. Carl Long, No. 13 Toyota

37. B.J. McLeod, No. 15 Chevrolet

38. Morgan Shepherd, No. 89 Chevrolet

39. Jeff Green, No. 93 Chevrolet

40. Stephen Leicht, No. 99 Chevrolet

UP NEXT: After a weekend off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will embark on Round 2 of its 2018 playoffs on Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway. Christopher Bell is the defending winner of the Kansas race. His win there a year ago as a part-time competitor in the series broke a string of three-straight Xfinity Series wins at the track for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kyle Busch.