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Christopher Bell Finishes Third in Bristol, Advances in Playoffs

Christopher Bell gets ready to battle at “The Last Great Coliseum” (Photo: Kevin Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Christopher Bell walked away from the Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a third place finish.

Bell started off the second NASCAR Bristol weekend in good fashion, getting his third pole position in three weeks, and did not seem to lose any of his speed once the green flag dropped for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.

The 28-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma led much of Stage 1. However, Bell restarted ninth on Lap 77 after several drivers did not pit following a caution for AJ Allmendinger (No. 16) getting into the wall and collecting Austin Cindric (No. 2).

Bell was able to regain the track position and drive to a stage win after another caution for rain.

The second stage went similarly for Bell, with him spending all but 29 laps leading the field. At times, he trailed Kyle Larson (No. 5). After sweeping Stages 1 and 2, Bell faded back to the third position after losing the race off pit road during Lap 254 of the 500 lap race.

Following that, Bell was not able to pass two of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Denny Hamlin or Ty Gibbs (No. 54) spent the majority of the rest of the race in third place. Notably, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was able to lead 187 laps, the most of any driver throughout Saturday night’s race.

Christopher Bell leading laps early in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. (Photo: Kyle Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

Once the race was official, Bell spoke about how it felt to lead that many laps and walk away with a third place finish, and what he felt changed the direction of the race for him and his team.

“I just kind of lost the handle on it, the same time we lost the track position,” Bell said. “The 11 (Denny Hamlin) was fast. Whenever he got up front, he just drove away. Disappointing to be good at the wrong time, but at. least we got out here with a lot of points for the Rheem Camry.”

“It definitely is a run to be proud of, but I’ll be honest, this was probably our best race we’ve had in a while and probably the most disappointed I’ve ben in a while,” Bell added. “Just got a little bit away from us there in the last half of the race. That is how it goes sometimes, but I’m really proud of the effort on this Reser’s Camry. It was a lot of fun leading laps, and this track is just the best.”

In addition to a solid third place finish, Bell also advanced into the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The Joe Gibbs driver entered Bristol 13 points above the cutline to advance out of the Round of 16.

Now, Bell sits five points above the cutline to make it into the Round of 8 following the next three races at Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte ROVAL.

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