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Dirt Specialist Bell Holds On For Victory at Bristol

| , RacinToday.com Monday, April 10 2023

Christopher Bell won Sunday night’s race at the Bristol short track.. (RacinToday/HHP file photo)

RacinToday.com

A return to the dirty days of his past is just what Christopher Bell needed to get his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season on Sunday.

Bell, a winner of three straight Chili Bowl midget events on the dirt in Tulsa, took the lead with 100 laps to go and held it the rest of the way at the dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway short track.

The race ended under caution after a wreck occurred a couple hundred feet from the finish line.

It marked the sixth career victory for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Tyler Reddick finished second while Austin Dillon rounded out the podium.

The race was marred by 14 cautions.

“Yeah, that was tough,” Bell said. “Those last, I don’t know, 70 laps or whatever it was, probably less than that, when we got on the top, was very tricky because the cushion was very unforgiving to run. If you made mistakes, you paid a really big price.

“Yeah, the laps just felt like they were taking forever to tick by because it was so hard to get the car through the corner and not make a mistake. Yeah, it was very tough from my seat.
But hopefully it was a good race. I know whenever I was back in the field at the beginning of the race, people were two- and three-wide majority of the time. It was pretty good from my seat.”

Reddick was closing on the lead when the final caution ended the event.

“Yeah, towards the end there definitely feel like I had a little bit more,” Reddick said. “I thought I had the edge, but I wasn’t quite there in the last couple laps. Definitely found it.

“Just hate it for everybody on this (No. 45 23XI Racing) Toyota. Just needed to be a little bit closer than I was. I think with two (laps) to go, it would have been really bold to try to make that move work.

Racing moves to another short track next, though one with a paved surface – Martinsville. It’s a place where Bell won last fall.

“I feel good about going back to Martinsville,” he said. “It’s going to be certainly different with the low downforce package. But it’s different for everybody. I feel like we were the best car there in the fall, so hopefully we can do our homework and make sure to study the differences between Richmond and Phoenix with the low downforce package and what we expect at Martinsville.”

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NASCAR Cup Series Race – Food City Dirt Race

Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt

Bristol, Tennessee

Sunday, April 9, 2023

  1. (4)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 250.
  2. (6)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 250.
  3. (2)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 250.
  4. (22)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 250.
  5. (14)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 250.
  6. (25)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 250.
  7. (27)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 250.
  8. (15)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 250.
  9. (26)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 250.
  10. (23)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 250.
  11. (13)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 250.
  12. (11)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 250.
  13. (10)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 250.
  14. (18)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 250.
  15. (20)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 250.
  16. (29)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 250.
  17. (33)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 250.
  18. (28)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 250.
  19. (7)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 250.
  20. (3)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 250.
  21. (32)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 250.
  22. (30)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 250.
  23. (9)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 250.
  24. (8)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 250.
  25. (34)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 250.
  26. (37)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 250.
  27. (31)  Josh Berry(i), Chevrolet, 250.
  28. (16)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 249.
  29. (17)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 248.
  30. (35)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 247.
  31. (19)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 240.
  32. (5)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, Suspension, 236.
  33. (36)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 205.
  34. (24)  Matt Crafton(i), Ford, Engine, 185.
  35. (1)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 177.
  36. (21)  Jonathan Davenport, Chevrolet, Accident, 176.
  37. (12)  Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 96.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  46.68 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 40 Mins, 40 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags:  14 for 71 laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson 1-75;T. Reddick 76-134;K. Busch 135-140;T. Reddick 141-150;C. Bell 151-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Christopher Bell 1 time for 100 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 75 laps; Tyler Reddick 2 times for 69 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 6 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,3,8,41,12,20,14,45,31,24

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45,3,5,20,8,14,19,12,31,10

| , RacinToday.com Monday, April 10 2023
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