Christopher Bell falls short on winning Championship after stellar season

Photo By: SaJorden Miller/Kickin' The Tires

By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell entered Sunday’s season-finale Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as a member of the Championship 4 with a shot at winning his first series title. His quest would fall short after finishing fifth in South Florida.

Bell started the 200-lap event with a seventh-place qualifying effort and went on to finish the stages in 12th and second, respectively. But Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Rheem / Watts Toyota Supra struggled on the long runs.

“The long run. Just couldn’t get the long run going,” Bell said. “We just had great pit stops. Our pit stops would allow us to get up front and then we would maintain until we started falling off and then they would drive by me.”

Bell has stated multiple times that Homestead is not one of his better tracks and he admitted he has trouble figuring the 1.5-mile speedway out.

“Even really since the drop of the green flag, I knew that we were in trouble. We can’t get around this place for some reason.”

Adding to that, the 24-year old missed pit road during the final pit stop during the final stage of the event which added more injury on an already struggling day.

“We got beat by 17 seconds there. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. For some reason, just can’t hit on what I need to, to be able to get around this place for a 30 or 40-lap run.”

Bell’s fifth-place finish to cap off the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season was his 20th of the season. In addition, Bell amassed eight wins, 21 top-10 finishes and earned six pole awards.

On how he’ll remember this year in the Xfinity Series, Bell said, “Just a lot of fun. A lot of fun racing with these people. This whole group on this No 20 Supra, driving for Coach Gibbs. A lot of fun to drive for him. Very thankful that I got to spend some time in the Xfinity Series. These cars are a ton of fun to drive. I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Looking ahead to the 2020 season, Bell will make the move to the NASCAR Cup Series to drive the No. 95 Toyota for Leavine Family Racing where he will compete against fellow Xfinity Series competitors from this season Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer for Rookie of the Year honors.

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