NASCAR: Bell wins at Phoenix as Xfinity Championship 4 set
Christopher Bell, who needed a win to keep his title dreams alive, charged from 38th to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway and earn a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bell, who started from the back after not passing inspection in time to qualify, led 94 of 200 laps to pick up his seventh win of the season and first in Phoenix.
“I’ll be honest, after [crashes at] Kansas and Texas I kinda just accepted that we weren’t going to be able to get [to Homestead], and just came over here with a let’s-have-fun attitude,” Bell said. “And to start in the back, and we didn’t really make our way up front that fast. I kinda got stalled out once I got into the top 15, and I knew this thing was really fast because yesterday in practice it was really good, and that clean air just meant so much. My pit crew did an outstanding job, Jason [Ratcliff] kept making this thing better and better. But we’re going to Homestead baby!”
Regular-season champion Justin Allgaier won both stages, but his championship hopes were dashed when he sustained right-front damage after contact with John Hunter Nemechek. He tried to hold on, but he dropped through the field with brake issues in the final 20 laps. He finds himself eliminated from title contention after winning five races in the best season of his career.
With his second-place finish, Daniel Hemric raced himself into the Championship 4, joining Bell, Cole Custer, who was locked in after last weekend’s win at Texas, and Xfinity Series rookie Tyler Reddick.
Also eliminated were Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric and Elliott Sadler, who will retire at the end of the season without winning a championship.
Tifft, Cindric and Ryan Preece completed the top five.
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