Christopher Bell took the checkered flag in Saturday‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series CTECH Manufacturing 180 at Road America for his sixth win of the season and first at a road course.
Bell, who finished second to Austin Cindric in the previous two road course races this month, took the victory over Cindric by 1.9-seconds. Bell pitted three times, all under green: Laps 7, 18 and 31 with the final one coming right before a yellow came out.
“We got pretty good there when we put our fresh tires on it,” Bell said. “The strategy worked pretty good for us with us pitting and then the yellow coming out. This Ruud Supra was really, really fast. We‘ve had a great road course season. I‘m really honored to be a part of Joe Gibbs Racing. To get my first road course win is really special.”
The win was the first for Joe Gibbs Racing at the 4-mile, 14 turn Wisconsin road course.
The race to the finish was setup with a shootout following the fourth and final caution with five laps to go when Gray Gaulding got off track in the gravel and backed into the tire barrier in Turn 1.
Cindric battled through the field on fresh tires on the final restart to the runner-up finish. At the time of caution he was running third behind Bell and AJ Allmendinger, but was the first to pit and restarted 20th.
“It was chaos there at the end of the race,” Cindric said. “I ended up passing a lot of cars coming up through there that were just over driving or missing corners. It was insane.”
Matt DiBenedetto, who led a race-high 18 laps, appeared to be on his way to a second-place finish but he got off course in the gravel trap in Turn 14 on the final lap.
“I was looking in my mirror and got too high and just got barely in the marbles and made the most rookie mistake of my life,” DiBenedetto said. “We had the fastest car on track and nothing to show for it.”
Tyler Reddick finished third for his seventh consecutive top-five finish of the season.
“I wish we had that last restart back in our No. 2 Roland Chevrolet Camaro,” Reddick said. “We had a great balance on our car and ran inside the top five pretty much all day, which is a huge improvement for me on road courses. We were just chasing a little more front turn to roll through the corners better.”
Noah Gragson rebounded from a speeding penalty to finish fourth. He made contact with Allmendinger after the final restart, which sent Allmendinger off track and to a 24th-place finish.
Kaz Grala rounded out the top five in his fifth start of the season in the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing.
Chase Briscoe, 2017 event winner Jeremy Clements, defending race winner Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer completed the top 10.
Both Allgaier and Custer rebounded from separate incidents in the race. Custer was involved in the first one when he got off track on Lap 13. He hit one of the sponsor signs and traveled through the gravel before getting back on track in 33rd. He was forced to pit to fix the damage on the front of his Ford.
Allgaier had a tire go down and got in the gravel trap in Turn 1 on the final lap of Stage 1. The team had to fix a broken sway bar arm and he received the free pass after the conclusion of Stage 2.