Bell Puts On Command Performance at Louden

Christopher Bell wins at Louden
Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR

Christopher Bell got just what he needed on an uncharacteristically hot day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway—a breeze.

That's an apt description of Bell's victory in the ROXOR 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. In winning for the fifth time this season and the second time in as many starts at the Magic Mile, Bell led 186 of 200 laps and crossed the finish line 4.068 seconds ahead of runner-up Cole Custer.

The race followed a familiar pattern. After each restart, Bell would pull away steadily as the drivers behind him contested second, third and fourth place. The only time the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota fell out of the lead was a pit stop on Lap 33, when seven other cars stayed on the track.

Bell restarted eighth on Lap 38 and drove up to second place before the first stage ended on Lap 45. Aside from that, the 24-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma, was in full control. When Stage 2 ended, Bell had an advantage of more than six seconds over eventual third-place finisher Justin Allgaier.

"I just had a really good race car," said Bell, who has a propensity for understatement. "I'm very thankful to be driving these Supras for Joe Gibbs Racing. All of our partners, man, they just provide really fast race cars, and I'm the lucky guy who gets to drive them."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Custer's recent victories on the 1.5-mile speedways at Chicagoland and Kentucky had engendered talk that Custer might be the favorite for the series championship this year. But Bell was reluctant to call his win at New Hampshire a statement victory, no matter how decisive.

"We knew we'd be good here," said Bell, who earned his 13th win in 59 Xfinity starts. "Whoever the (championship) favorite is will be decided at Homestead."

Custer's car was fast enough to win the pole in qualifying but not strong enough to keep up with Bell on restarts.

"I wasn't driving the car right at the start of the race, so I kind of got behind on adjustments," said Custer, who lost the lead to Bell on a hotly contested first lap. "I wish we'd had another caution so we could catch up to him."

Series leader Tyler Reddick ran fourth, followed by Paul Menard and Chase Briscoe. Ryan Truex, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson completed the top 10.

If Bell's drive to the checkered flag was a breeze, that was hardly the case for his JGR teammate, Harrison Burton, who got the short end of an on-track spat with Menard, the only full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver in the field.

On Lap 153, Menard hit Burton's Toyota in Turn 1 and sent it spinning. With his car damaged, Burton finished 29th. After the race, Burton approached Menard to get an explanation.

"He hit me twice, and I hit him once," Menard said. "He was mad at me for hitting him that one time."

Burton, however, didn't think Menard's retaliation was justified.

"We had a restart there (on Lap 148), the first thing he said he was mad about was I hit him on the restart," said the 18-year-old Burton. "But I was on the apron, and he turned down across my nose. He got mad about that, and then I barely touched his door, and I got out of the gas because I didn't want to hit him any harder than I did.

"Then I passed him clean, and he wrecked me… He didn't really seem to care, and that's fine for him. I'm just going to go out and beat him on the race track. That's all I can do to show these guys that I'm here to play. I'm not going to get pushed around anymore."

RACE RESULTS

Finish St # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Pts Status
1 2 20 Christopher Bell Rheem-Watts Toyota 200 186 59 Running
2 1 0 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 200 0 47 Running
3 8 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT/Rev 1 Energy Chevrolet 200 0 49 Running
4 11 2 Tyler Reddick Gimme Radio/Megadeth Chevrolet 200 0 48 Running
5 4 12 Paul Menard(i) Menards/Richmond Ford 200 0 0 Running
6 5 98 Chase Briscoe # Ford Performance Ford 200 0 37 Running
7 9 8 Ryan Truex Bar Harbor Chevrolet 200 0 39 Running
8 15 93 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Chevrolet 200 1 36 Running
9 6 19 Brandon Jones First Foundation Toyota 200 13 38 Running
10 10 9 Noah Gragson # Switch Chevrolet 200 0 27 Running
11 16 1 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet 200 0 27 Running
12 3 22 Austin Cindric MoneyLion Ford 200 0 28 Running
13 13 11 Justin Haley # LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 200 0 27 Running
14 12 21 Kaz Grala HotScream Chevrolet 200 0 23 Running
15 14 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com Chevrolet 200 0 22 Running
16 21 86 Brandon Brown # Vero Chevrolet 200 0 21 Running
17 20 8 Gray Gaulding Panini Chevrolet 199 0 20 Running
18 25 7 Ray Black II ISOKERN Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet 199 0 19 Running
19 27 36 Josh Williams Starbrite Star Tron/Sleepwell Chevrolet 199 0 18 Running
20 31 5 Matt Mills J.F. Electric Chevrolet 198 0 17 Running
21 36 1 BJ McLeod Flex Glue Chevrolet 198 0 16 Running
22 19 90 Alex Labbe Bassett Gutters & More Chevrolet 197 0 15 Running
23 18 4 Stephen Leicht Flex Seal/Contec Chevrolet 197 0 14 Running
24 30 0 Garrett Smithley Flex Tape Chevrolet 197 0 13 Running
25 26 99 Tommy Joe Martins Diamond Gusset Jeans Toyota 197 0 12 Running
26 32 52 David Starr Franklin Signs & Graphics Chevrolet 196 0 11 Running
27 28 78 Vinnie Miller JW Transport Chevrolet 195 0 10 Running
28 37 39 CJ McLaughlin(i) CMR Roofing Chevrolet 192 0 0 Running
29 7 18 Harrison Burton(i) Dex Imaging Toyota 169 0 0 Suspension
30 22 42 Chad Finchum MBM Motorsports Toyota 167 0 7 Running
31 34 35 Joey Gase Donate Life/Pro Master Toyota 159 0 6 Running
32 38 15 Tyler Matthews Line Tec Services Chevrolet 154 0 5 Running
33 29 28 Shane Lee mybackstory.com Toyota 112 0 4 Engine
34 35 66 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 92 0 3 Brakes
35 33 17 Bayley Currey(i) RWR Chevrolet 51 0 0 Vibration
36 17 23 John Hunter Nemechek # Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 31 0 1 Accident
37 24 89 Landon Cassill Visone RV Chevrolet 22 0 1 Carburetor
38 23 13 Carl Long CrashClaimsR.US Toyota 16 0 1 Rear Gear

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