By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell brought home his No. 20 Rheem – Watts Toyota second on Sunday in a shortened NASCAR Cup Series race due to darkness.
Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 went 293 laps, eighth laps less than normal. In a race impacted by rain showers that resulted in a red flag, NASCAR opted to shorten the length. After all, The Magic Mile is one of a few racetracks on the circuit that doesn’t have lights.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell had eventual race winner and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola in his view, but he essentially ran out of time.
“How many laps did we run? 293 – so eight laps, that sucks. Really proud of everyone on this No. 20 Rheem Pristine Auction Camry. We did good. We kind of struggled early and made the car the best it was right there at the end. That’s all you can ask for and felt like we gave him (Almirola) a run for his money, that’s for sure.”
Bell ran a consistent race all day long at The Magic Mile, finishing Stage 1 in sixth, and Stage 2 in 11th before bringing home his fourth top-five finish on the season.
But did he have enough to catch Aric Almirola and pass him if it went the full distance?
“I didn’t know [how many] laps they cut it short, but definitely whenever I saw the board and saw that we were eight laps short, it stings man,” expressed Bell.
I felt like I probably had a little better pace than him and I was able to get to him; lapped cars were giving him a bad time, but I was able to get to him. It was going to be a heck of a race, but [really] proud of everyone on this Rheem Pristine Auction Camry. They did really good. Everyone on this 20 crew – we didn’t start out the greatest. Then we were really good, probably the best we were all day right there at the end of the race. That’s all you can ask for is to have a shot at it and just wish we had eight more laps.”
Bell came mighty close to sweeping the weekend at Loudon with his second place finish in the Cup Series. The day before, he dominated the NASCAR Xfinity Series event in route to his third straight win at the track.
What is it about Loudon for the young Joe Gibbs Racing driver? And is it a favorite track for him, Bell spoke about that post-race.
“I have really fast Supra’s and Camry’s to drive,” Bell told Kickin’ the Tires. “I wish I could sit here and tell you I have [this place] figured out but I think it all comes down to having really fast race cars.
It’s probably my [best] track on the circuit. Favorite? I don’t know, it’s just [kind of] a flat one-mile track and I wouldn’t call it my favorite but it’s been really good to me.”
The NASCAR Cup Series will be back in action on Sunday August 8 at Watkins Glen International. The race can be seen on NBCSN at 3:00 PM Eastern.
Feature Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo