It took a second overtime, and a jump from P4 to P1, but Christopher Bell still managed to find his way to victory lane on Saturday afternoon at the Iowa Speedway. Bell had come into the race on a two-race winning streak and has put together one of the best runs that the NASCAR Xfinity Series has ever seen.
Christopher Bell wins third straight Xfinity race
“That’s pretty special,” Bell said. “I guess when it’s your day, it’s your day. These races are hard to win.”
With his third-straight win, Bell has become the first Xfinity Series regular to win three races in a row since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won three in a row in 1999. Though his win didn’t come easy.
Bell had been battling Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer for the lead throughout the day, but during the final stages, he cemented himself in front of the 00 car late in the race. After green flag pit stops cycled through, Bell held a four-second lead over Custer, and maintained it up until lap 236.
That’s when Chase Briscoe, fresh off his Eldora Dirt Derby win, spun in front of Bell to bring out the caution.
“You never want the yellow come out when you’ve got that big of a lead,” Bell said. “Very rarely do wins come easy.”
After a quick yellow following the restart, NASCAR would send the race into overtime. On the first overtime attempt, Bell held firm and kept his car in the middle groove of the track, opening the door for Kyle Benjamin and Justin Allgaier.
Benjamin tried to stick his car to the inside to no avail, but Allgaier was able to run the high line and outrun Bell through the first turn, coming from P4 to the lead in a single corner. That’s when the caution came out again for a wreck between Max Tullman and Matt Tifft. They would line up the cars for another restart attempt.
“Allgaier did the same thing to me the last restart,” Bell said. “If he went fourth to first, there’s no reason I can’t go fourth to first.” Sure enough, Bell did. Bell got around the second and third place cars and got right up to the bumper of Allgaier on the backstretch.
After the two battled around the 7/8 mile over for two laps, Bell came out on top. Though, Allgaier wasn’t a fan of how he got raced.
“It’s just disappointing to get run over,” said Allgaier. “I know that Christopher definitely had the best car… “They’re going to hate me for being mad at Christopher, but it is what it is.”
Bell wasn’t expecting to hear anything about the finish. “I was surprised he was angry with me,” Bell said. “Hopefully I earned enough respect the last time we were here when I pushed him around the race track for 150 laps without touching him.”
Bell has done more than cement himself at the top spot in the Xfinity series standings, and now has taken the top overall spot in points as well. The series will return to the track next week at Watkins Glen International with seven races to go still before the playoffs get underway.
Seven races until Playoffs
1. Christopher Bell (4 wins)
2. Justin Allgaier (2 wins*)
3. Tyler Reddick (1 win)
4. Elliott Sadler +285
5. Cole Custer +283
6. Daniel Hemric +278
7. Brandon Jones +178
8. Ryan Truex +131
9. Matt Tifft +103
10. Austin Cindric +83
11. Ryan Reed +55
12. Ross Chastain +1
13. John Hunter Nemechek, -1
14. Michael Annett -40
15. Ryan Sieg -66
*Driver has two wins, but only one can be used for the playoffs.
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