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(Photo: Barry Cantrell / NKP)

Christopher Bell Scores First Career XFINITY Win in Kansas

Christopher Bell scored his first career XFINITY Series win Saturday in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. He led just the final four laps en route to Victory Lane in his fifth series start.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to win in the XFINITY Series,” Bell said. “Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing is just something that I didn’t even think was a possibility as a kid growing up, and I’m really thankful that Toyota and Toyota Racing Development stayed with me throughout the years and I was able to get them their first USAC National Midget Championship. From there they’ve had faith in me, even last year when I wasn’t running very good, they stayed with me another year, and I’m just really thankful that they believe in me enough to give me this opportunity.”

Inside 10 laps to go, the driver of the No. 18 Toyota changed his line and chipped away at the substantial lead dominant driver, Erik Jones, had built. A slide job and subsequent contact with Bell’s back-end caused substantial damage to the No. 20 Toyota and Jones ended up with a disappointing 15th-place finish after leading 186 of 200 laps.

Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick wound up second, followed by Ryan Blaney. William Byron, who had to start at the rear of the field following unapproved adjustments to the No. 9 Chevrolet, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five.

Austin Dillon brought the No. 2 Chevrolet home sixth after a close call early in the race with Elliott Sadler, who ended up seventh. The driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet fought a sudden loose condition with his racecar and spun on his own in Turn 4 on lap 78, right in front of Dillon, who somehow managed to avoid hitting him. Matt Tifft, who started at the back of the field for unapproved adjustments, ended the race in eighth. Ty Dillon and Ryan Reed rounded out the top 10.

The race was slowed by just two cautions that weren’t for the end of a stage, and even those were for single-car spins by Sadler and Ryan Sieg.

With the first race in the Round of 8 complete, Allgaier leaves Kansas with a two-point lead over Byron. Sadler is in third, 11 points behind, followed by Brennan Poole, who finished 12th. Tifft is fifth and holds a one-point advantage over Reed and Hemric, who are tied for sixth. Cole Custer holds the eighth and final playoff position, 36 points out of the lead after a 19th-place finish.

The XFINITY Series takes next weekend off at Martinsville and returns to the track at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 4.

About Beth Lunkenheimer

Beth Lunkenheimer

Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A native of Texas, Beth is a 10-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.

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