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Christopher Bell leads Darlington Cup practice

Christopher Bell, who said earlier this week that he was “underrated” among the playoff drivers, was fastest in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup practice at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Yahoo! Toyota Camry

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Bell’s top average speed of 168.428 mph came in the first 20-minute session, as did four of the top-five overall speeds.

Michael McDowell ended up second quick (167.276 mph) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third (167.049 mph).

Bubba Wallace was fifth overall, but the top driver in the second session (166.591 mph).

Among those drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps, Austin Cindric has the fastest average speed (164.167 mph). Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin were second and third, consecutively, in that category.

Group A

Playoff drivers led the way in the first 20-minute session with Bell on top with an average lap speed of 168.428 mph.

McDowell was second quick (167.276 mph) and Stenhouse was third (167.049 mph).

William Byron and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

Other playoff drivers in the session included Brad Keselowski (sixth), Kevin Harvick (10th) and Ross Chastain (13th).

Larson appeared to tag the wall late in the session but did not suffer any serious damage to his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Group B

Wallace topped the second 20-minute session with an average lap speed of 166.591 mph.

Cindric was second-fastest at 166.433 mph and Hamlin was third (166.241 mph).

Chase Briscoe was fourth and Martin Truex Jr. ended up fifth. Truex tagged the wall late in the session but did not appear to suffer much damage to his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Other playoff drivers in the session included Tyler Reddick (sixth), Chris Buescher (seventh), Kyle Busch (eighth), Blaney (ninth) and Joey Logano (16th).

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesCHRISTOPHER BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 26 29.197   168.428
2 United StatesMICHAEL MCDOWELLFront Row Motorsports 34 Ford 18 +0.201 0.201 167.277
3 United StatesRICKY STENHOUSE JRJTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 24 +0.241 0.040 167.049
4 United StatesWILLIAM BYRONHendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 25 +0.313 0.072 166.642
5 United StatesBUBBA WALLACE23XI Racing 23 Toyota 21 +0.322 0.009 166.591
6 United StatesAUSTIN CINDRICTeam Penske 2 Ford 29 +0.350 0.028 166.433
7 United StatesKYLE LARSONHendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 25 +0.365 0.015 166.349
8 United StatesDENNY HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 35 +0.384 0.019 166.242
9 United StatesCHASE BRISCOEStewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 29 +0.424 0.040 166.017
10 United StatesBRAD KESELOWSKIRFK Racing 6 Ford 21 +0.432 0.008 165.973
11 United StatesMARTIN TRUEX JRJoe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 25 +0.435 0.003 165.956
12 United StatesTYLER REDDICK23XI Racing 45 Toyota 27 +0.435 0.000 165.956
13 United StatesCHRIS BUESCHERRFK Racing 17 Ford 35 +0.488 0.053 165.659
14 United StatesHARRISON BURTONWood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 27 +0.518 0.030 165.492
15 United StatesKYLE BUSCHRichard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 21 +0.542 0.024 165.359
16 United StatesRYAN BLANEYTeam Penske 12 Ford 33 +0.549 0.007 165.320
17 United StatesERIK JONESLegacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 19 +0.557 0.008 165.275
18
TY GIBBSJoe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 28 +0.586 0.029 165.114
19 United StatesKEVIN HARVICKStewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 24 +0.591 0.005 165.087
20 United StatesJUSTIN HALEYKaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 30 +0.595 0.004 165.064
21 United StatesRYAN PREECEStewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 21 +0.605 0.010 165.009
22 United StatesCOREY LAJOIESpire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 22 +0.617 0.012 164.943
23 United StatesROSS CHASTAINTrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 29 +0.625 0.008 164.898
24 United StatesARIC ALMIROLAStewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 26 +0.644 0.019 164.793
25 United StatesAJ ALLMENDINGERKaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 25 +0.668 0.024 164.661
26 United StatesJOEY LOGANOTeam Penske 22 Ford 37 +0.668 0.000 164.661
27 United StatesTODD GILLILANDFront Row Motorsports 38 Ford 21 +0.672 0.004 164.639
28 United StatesTY DILLONSpire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 20 +0.733 0.061 164.303
29
CARSON HOCEVARLegacy Motor Club
42 Chevrolet 29 +0.738 0.005 164.276
30 United StatesCHASE ELLIOTTHendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 36 +0.775 0.037 164.073
31 MexicoDANIEL SUAREZTrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 34 +0.795 0.020 163.964
32 United StatesALEX BOWMANHendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 34 +0.798 0.003 163.947
33 United StatesJJ YELEYRick Ware Racing 15 Ford 18 +0.847 0.049 163.680
34 United StatesBJ MCLEODLive Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 10 +0.867 0.020 163.571
35 United StatesAUSTIN DILLONRichard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 29 +0.922 0.055 163.272
36 United StatesRYAN NEWMANRick Ware Racing 51 Ford 16 +0.960 0.038 163.067

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