Christopher Bell opened the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs win a win after he took the checkered flag in Friday night’s Go Bowling 250 at Richmond Raceway.
Bell got around Matt Tifft on a late restart and was able to maintain the top spot the rest of the way to sweep the season’s races at Richmond. The victory moves the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into the second round of the playoffs.
"It’s not very often that you get to win with a car that’s not a winning car. Just thank you to my pit crew for the awesome pit stops tonight…I’m just pumped, to be able to sweep Richmond and get five wins on top of that and reach round two, I couldn’t be happier"
Bell led five times for 67 laps.
Ross Chastain, Daniel Hemric, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Tifft rounded out the top five.
"I can’t believe I’m disappointed with second but a dream come true to drive for you guys" said Chastain to crew chief Mike Shiplett. "I can never thank you enough. It’s something I’ll never forget."
The race was the last for Chastain in the Chip Ganassi Racing entry, which he won in last week at Las Vegas. He remains in the Playoffs but will return to his regular ride with JD Motorsports next week.
Earnhardt, who made his first NASCAR start since retiring from full-time Cup competition 10 months ago, led 96 laps and won Stage 2.
"That was the first stage win of my career," Earnhardt Jr. said.
"I had enough fun to do this again. Maybe once a year. I like these wore out race tracks. I love tire strategy, man. Maybe, here, next year. I want to do Atlanta."
Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Shane Lee and Ryan Reed completed the first 10 finishers.
The race was a tough one for several championship contenders including regular season champion Justin Allgaier. He was involved in an accident after contact between Austin Cindric and Cole Custer. Allgaier spun and hit the wall exiting the race with a 32nd place finish.
Custer, Ryan Truex, Cindric and Ryan Reed are the bottom four of the Playoff standings after Friday night’s race.
"We just didn’t have any long run speed tonight," said Custer who finished 15th. "We had good short run speed to be able to pick off five or six cars on every restart. That one restart we just got together with the 22. I don’t know what he was doing. It put us way back there and that is just how it is. We will just have to go to the Roval and try to win in."
The NASCAR Xfinity Series now heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL next Saturday afternoon.