Christopher Bell takes Xfinity win in thrilling finish at Iowa

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Christopher Bell takes Xfinity win in thrilling finish at Iowa
Nick DeGroot
By: Nick DeGroot
Jul 29, 2018, 12:36 AM

Christopher Bell prevailed for his third consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series win in a wild finish at Iowa Speedway.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Ruud
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Ruud
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Ruud
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Ruud
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Ruud

For Bell, the triumph makes him the first series regular to win three in-a-row since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999.

Sam Ard holds the series record for consecutive wins with four set back in 1983.

"When it's your day it's your day," Bell said in Victory Lane after leading 94 of 250 laps. "I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em."

Stage 1

Elliott Sadler, who started the race from pole, led the first 26 laps before he was overtaken by Cole Custer. 

The first caution of the race came out when Tyler Reddick cut a left rear tire.

Custer remained in control of the race until Vinnie Miller went spinning with five laps to go, ending the stage behind the pace car.

Behind Custer, it was Sadler, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Kyle Benjamin, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Daniel Hemric and Shane Lee.

Stage 2

At the start of the second stage, Sadler moved back into the lead until Custer snatched it away once more on Lap 83.

But with just five laps remaining in the stage, Custer got hung up behind slower traffic and lost the lead to Bell, who went on to take the stage win. Custer, Allgaier, Jones, Cindric, Nemechek, Benjamin, Sadler, Ryan Reed and Hemric.

However, it was Custer won the race off pit road and controlled the restart with 120 laps to go. 20 laps later, he was once again being challenged by Bell, who got around him as the final pit stop neared. 

On Lap 197, Custer made his final green-flag pit stop, followed by Bell on pit road four laps later. 

Mad-dash to the finish

Bell led the way and appeared to be cruising to the checkered flag until a dramatic caution with 14 laps to go. Chase Briscoe spun sideways directly in front of the leader, but Bell was lucky to escape with minimal damage.

The race resumed with nine laps to go. Custer's day went awry as he slid up the track, bouncing off the wall. Behind him, a spinning Garrett Smithley brought out another yellow.

The race turned into a two-lap shootout. On the restart, the field fanned out four-wide into the first corner with Allgaier prevailing. Bell fell all the way down to fourth, but he would get another shot at it as a heavy accident took place back in the back between Max Tullman and Matt Tifft.

The crash required a red flag, which lasted for 15 minutes. The field lined up again for another two-lap shootout as the race ran over into overtime. 

The final restart of the race proved to be a wild one with contact throughout the pack. Bell charged from the outside of the second row and got into the back of Allgaier out of Turn 2. The two went side-by-side at the white flag and banged doors. Bell would ultimately clear him into Turn 1 and went on to capture the win.

Allgaier would have to settle for second, but he was displeased with the way Bell drove him at the end of the race.

"Unfortunately we took off there and (Bell) had me lifted up on the restart and then off of 2, tried to put me in the fence. Yeah I'm salty .. just disappointing to get run over like that."

Behind him, Hemric and Jones collided for third, sending both spinning as the field roared by.

Benjamin ultimately finished third, Ross Chastain scored an impressive fourth-place result and Nemechek rounded out the top-five.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 20 united_states Christopher Bell  Toyota 257   94
2 7 united_states Justin Allgaier  Chevrolet 257 0.421 6
3 18 united_states Kyle Benjamin  Toyota 257 1.007 5
4 4 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 257 1.135  
5 42 united_states John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 257 2.241  
6 1 united_states Elliott Sadler  Chevrolet 257 2.638 41
7 16 united_states Ryan Reed  Ford 257 3.008  
8 11 united_states Ryan Truex  Chevrolet 257 3.028  
9 00 united_states Cole Custer  Ford 257 3.311 104
10 60 united_states Chase Briscoe  Ford 257 8.987  
11 21 united_states Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 257 15.570  
12 19 united_states Brandon Jones  Toyota 257 24.089 1
13 3 united_states Shane Lee  Chevrolet 256 1 lap 6
14 5 united_states Michael Annett  Chevrolet 256 1 lap  
15 23 Casey Roderick  Chevrolet 256 1 lap  
16 36 canada Alex Labbé  Chevrolet 255 2 laps  
17 35 united_states Joey Gase  Chevrolet 255 2 laps  
18 22 united_states Austin Cindric  Ford 254 3 laps  
19 52 united_states David Starr  Chevrolet 253 4 laps  
20 51 united_states Jeremy Clements  Chevrolet 253 4 laps  
21 78 united_states Tommy Joe Martins  Chevrolet 253 4 laps  
22 9 united_states Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 252 4 laps  
23 76 Boyd Spencer  Chevrolet 252 5 laps  
24 90 united_states Josh Williams  Chevrolet 251 5 laps  
25 0 united_states Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 250 7 laps  
26 2 united_states Matt Tifft  Chevrolet 249 8 laps  
27 15 united_states Brandon Hightower  Chevrolet 249 8 laps  
28 8 united_states Ray Black Jr.  Chevrolet 248 9 laps  
29 01 united_states Vinnie Miller  Chevrolet 247 10 laps  
30 26 Max Tullman  Ford 245 12 laps  
31 55 Peter Shepherd III  Toyota 242 15 laps  
32 74 united_states Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 241 16 laps  
33 66 united_states Stan Mullis  Dodge 236 21 laps  
34 39 united_states Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 206 51 laps  
35 38 united_states Jeff Green  Chevrolet 140 117 laps  
36 92 united_states Dexter Bean  Chevrolet 73 184 laps  
37 40 united_states Chad Finchum  Toyota 56 201 laps  
38 89 united_states Morgan Shepherd  Chevrolet 46 211 laps  
39 93 united_states Stephen Leicht  Chevrolet 36 221 laps  
40 45 united_states Josh Bilicki  Toyota 2 255 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR XFINITY
Event Iowa II
Location Iowa Speedway
Drivers Christopher Bell
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Nick DeGroot
Article type Race report