Christopher Bell’s experience on dirt tracks paid off as he claimed victory at the Bristol Dirt Race on Sunday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bell’s team chose not to pit during the race’s second stage, giving him the chance to take control of the final stage and although he faced some pressure, he managed to keep his lead to the end.
Bell led the final 100 laps and was followed closely by Tyler Reddick on the last lap, but Ross Chastain hit the wall, forcing NASCAR to throw a caution flag, freezing the field and securing Bell’s win. Reddick finished second, followed by Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Chase Briscoe. Bell attributes his success to his team’s decision to skip pitting before the final stage. He said they clearly didn’t have the best car, but his crew chief, Adam Stevens, believed in him and they were able to make it work.
The Bristol Dirt Race proved to be a challenge for many of the drivers as spins, slides, and multi-car crashes throughout the evening resulted in a string of caution flags. The surface constantly changed during the race, making it difficult for drivers to find the fastest groove for their cars. Late-race leaders were forced to run near or into the outside wall to maintain their speed. Pole winner Kyle Larson led the first 75 laps, but he hit the outside wall, which forced him out of the race. He finished 35th. Stage 2 winner Tyler Reddick led most of the stage. Bell finally scored his first win of the season after a series of tough-luck races.
Joey Logano had a rough race, being involved in multiple incidents before parking with suspension issues on Lap 104, finishing last. Brad Keselowski spun out twice, and dirt-track ace Jonathan Davenport retired during the final stage after being involved in a couple of crashes. Overall, the Bristol Dirt Race proved to be an exciting and challenging race for the drivers. And in the end, fans can agree Christopher Bell’s victory came as a result of smart strategy and impressive driving skill.