Friday, April 20, 2018

Christopher Bell wins ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway with his teammate at his heels


CREDIT: Carol D'Agostino/Skirts and Scuffs
By Carol D’Agostino

Debuts, winning streaks and the Dash 4 Cash were the storylines going into tonight’s NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. The buildup for the race did not disappoint. When the final flag waved it was Christopher Bell who took the win.

For Bell this was his second victory in 16 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and his first victory and fifth top-10 finish this season. The win also marks his first victory and second top-10 finish at Richmond. Bell was the highest-finishing rookie in the race.

Lurking in Bell’s shadow in the final 78 laps, and almost stealing the race recap headline, was Bell’s teammate, Camping World Truck Series contender Noah Gragson, who made his Xfinity Series career debut this evening driving the No. 18 Switch Toyota Camry. Gragson started in the 11th spot and led 10 laps.

A disappointed Gragson addressed the media after the race.

“I found something there at the end of the second stage on old tires. I made up some ground, but was never able to get back to the lead,” Grayson said. “I’ve come a long way in the past year, but have a long way to go. I have the drive and the fight to win. I am learning the most I can."

Gragson will be racing in the next two weeks at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway

“Track position ultimately won me the race,” said Bell. “I was worried about how he (Gragson) was running me down. But I tried to focus on running my race instead of focusing on Gragson."  

Bell came off of a disappointing finish last week at Bristol after crashing out early in the race.

Elliott Sadler finished in third place and won the Dash 4 Cash, his fourth win for the program.

“It is so good running here at my hometrack. We got too tight at the end,” Elliott said. Although he wasn’t ungrateful he would have traded in the $100,000 bonus for a win. “A memory in Victory Lane is something that lasts a lifetime, and getting a win at my home track where I came to as a child with my family would be so special,” he added.

Elliott goes into next week’s Talladega race leading the driver points standings by 29 points over Christopher Bell.


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