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Kickin The Tires

Bell relegated to fourth at ISM Raceway

Matthew T. Thacker/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Throughout the DC Solar 200 at ISM Raceway, Christopher Bell was in contention for the race win. However, conditions in the final stint of the race relegated the rookie driver to a fourth-place finish.

Throughout the race, Bell struggled with his short run speed, but knew he had the long run speed to contend with the leaders. Because of that knowledge, Bell was content that the final stage went green all the way to the checkered flag.

“I was happy it did. At the beginning of the race, my car felt really good. I just never had the speed to get up front in my car. I was struggling a little bit. I knew if I could get a 60-70 lap run my balance would match that really well and it did,” Bell stated.

The race was plagued with two length red flags for weather in the area. For Bell, the beginning of the race reminded him of heat races used in local short tracks across the country. Despite that feeling, Bell could not tell the difference in track conditions.

“It felt like we were in a heat race and then a feature. Honestly, I couldn’t tell or feel the track change that much. I don’t know if Justin (Allgaier) felt similar or what. As far as track conditions changing from rubber-ed up to not rubber-ed up, I couldn’t really tell much of a difference,” Bell continued.

As the field entered into what would be the final green flag pit stop of the event, Bell was able to exit the pit lane ahead of race winner, Brad Keselowski. However, with the final pit stop happening with less than 40 to go, a loose race car and lack of short run speed plagued the rookie driver.

I am really bummed we didn’t get a better finish after that long run and taking the lead. I really felt like we had something for him. Our Rheem Camry was really strong on the long run and we lacked on the short run. We were just a little bit too loose,” Bell said.

In hindsight, Bell acknowledged that he should have communicated with his crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, better than he did on that last pit stop.

With a fourth place finish at ISM Raceway, Bell sits fourth in the points standings, just eight points behind point leader, Elliott Sadler.

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