Bell wins Xfinity race at Richmond

By HANK KURZ Jr.

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Christopher Bell took the lead away from Matt Tifft with 13 laps to go and won the opening race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs on Friday night.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth in what he said would be his only start of the season. Earnhardt retired from NASCAR’s Cup Series last year and works as an analyst for NBC Sports.

Earnhardt led a race-high 96 laps, most coming in the second half of the race, but lost the lead to Tifft on pit road with 30 laps remaining.

Earnhardt said afterward he will probably run another race next year, but doesn’t want to do too much to take away from his burgeoning broadcasting career.

“I want to be in the booth for a long, long time,” he said.

Bell won for the fifth time this season, including twice at Richmond Raceway.

“To be able to come out here and win on a late race restart like that is really special,” said Bell, who won last year’s championship in the truck series.

On a night when series points leader Justin Allgaier crashed with about 25 laps to go, winding up 32nd, Bell also took the points lead with six playoff races to go.

Ross Chastain rallied to finish second, followed by Daniel Hemric.

The race was the 31st in the series for Elliott Sadler, a Virginia native who grew up about 70 miles away and regularly attended races at the track. Sadler, who is retiring at the end of the season, was hoping to capture his first career victory on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval. He ran in the top 10 most of the race and finished sixth.

NASCAR XFINITY

Go Bowling 250 Results

Friday

At Richmond Raceway

Richmond, Va.

Lap length: 0.75 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (1) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 250 laps, 0 rating, 58 points.

2. (3) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 43.

3. (6) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 52.

4. (2) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 51.

5. (10) Matt Tifft, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 44.

6. (13) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 40.

7. (14) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 36.

8. (9) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 250, 0, 29.

9. (8) Shane Lee, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 28.

10. (21) Ryan Reed, Ford, 250, 0, 27.

11. (7) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 30.

12. (16) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 25.

13. (11) Austin Cindric, Ford, 250, 0, 27.

14. (17) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 23.

15. (4) Cole Custer, Ford, 250, 0, 24.

16. (20) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 21.

17. (18) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 20.

18. (12) Ryan Preece, Toyota, 250, 0, 19.

19. (22) Mason Diaz, Chevrolet, 250, 0, 18.

20. (27) David Starr, Chevrolet, 249, 0, 17.

21. (19) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 16.

22. (23) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 15.

23. (26) Ray Black Jr, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 14.

24. (29) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 248, 0, 13.

25. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 246, 0, 12.

26. (34) Chad Finchum, Chevrolet, 245, 0, 11.

27. (25) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 244, 0, 10.

28. (32) Katherine Legge, Chevrolet, 242, 0, 9.

29. (31) Bayley Currey, Toyota, 242, 0, 0.

30. (39) Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 242, 0, 7.

31. (24) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 231, 0, 6.

32. (5) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, accident, 226, 0, 17.

33. (30) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, accident, 160, 0, 4.

34. (15) Ty Majeski, Ford, accident, 145, 0, 3.

35. (38) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, overheating, 122, 0, 2.

36. (40) Carl Long, Chevrolet, overheating, 98, 0, 1.

37. (37) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, engine, 91, 0, 1.

38. (36) Timmy Hill, Dodge, electrical, 85, 0, 1.

39. (35) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, vibration, 28, 0, 1.

40. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, handling, 22, 0, 1.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 91.348 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 8 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.566 seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 40 laps.

Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C.Bell 1-7; J.Allgaier 8-34; C.Bell 35; J.Allgaier 36-45; D.Hemric 46-79; C.Bell 80-123; D.Earnhardt 124-152; C.Bell 153; D.Earnhardt 154-220; D.Hemric 221; M.Tifft 222-236; C.Bell 237-250

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): D.Earnhardt, 2 times for 94 laps; C.Bell, 5 times for 62 laps; J.Allgaier, 2 times for 35 laps; D.Hemric, 2 times for 33 laps; M.Tifft, 1 time for 14 laps.

Wins: J.Allgaier, 5; C.Bell, 5; R.Chastain, 1; S.Gallagher, 1; R.Preece, 1; T.Reddick, 1.

Top 10 in Points: 1. C.Bell, 2095; 2. D.Hemric, 2063; 3. J.Allgaier, 2056; 4. R.Chastain, 2053; 5. E.Sadler, 2051; 6. M.Tifft, 2047; 7. T.Reddick, 2046; 8. C.Custer, 2035; 9. B.Jones, 2035; 10. R.Truex, 2033.

By Paul Wager

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