Christopher Bell Gets Xfinity Stage Sweep In Atlanta

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell got a sweep of all three stages on Saturday, winning the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The win becomes the ninth for the 24-year-old driver in the series. Bell lead 143 of the 163 laps, giving up some after a pit stop where the team struggled on the right side. “Running the yellow line is so hard. I don’t know, I would just struggle on the longer runs there,” said Bell after the race.

While Christopher Bell held the lead, Cole Custer was on the behind him for most time. After a restart with three laps to go there was a close battle between the two cars. “If he ran the bottom I think I would have had him,” said Custer, reflecting on how Bell went to the high side of the track on the final lap.

The conditions during the whole race were foggy, with mist coming down throughout the race. The grid for the race was decided off of points because the qualifying was rained out. Early in the race many cars nearly went sideways but recovered. Despite the less desired weather the race only had one caution for on-track incidents. The incident came with 8 to go when John Hunter Nemechek spun out on his own. The race restarted with a three-lap shootout.

The race was the first win for the new Toyota Supra car that will run the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year. The car debuted last week at Daytona.

Later today in Atlanta the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will hold a 200 mile race, with the Monster Energy Cup Series having their Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday at 2PM Eastern Time.

Michael Annett Wins NASCAR Racing Experience 300

Michael Annett won the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 on Saturday, leading the most laps out of anyone in the race. Justin Haley snagged stage 1, and Ross Chastain took stage 2.

The front row at the start of the race was Tyler Reddick and Jeffery Earnhardt, but due to a penalty, Reddick started at the back of the grid, giving Michael Annett the second spot in the front row. Annett stayed up ahead but didn’t find himself in the lead until on a restart with 37 laps left. A large portion of the race happened in a single file on the outside line, similar to the duel races earlier in the week.

In the final lap, Justin Allgaier pushed for second place but was blocked by Micahel Annett. He said afterwards that it was the plan to push on the last lap because of the pace that they were going at.

The race had a low number of cautions, with two besides the cautions after stage one and two. This was a polar opposite to the year before that had five overtimes and a three hour race time in total. Second place finisher Justin Allgaier said “I wish I had a good answer,” about why this year what so different from the previous.

One of the cautions was due to debris from Brad Keselowski’s car, which had its escape roof fly off during the race. He battled with the safety precaution, pitting many times and then eventually retiring from the race.

The race was the in-race debut for the Toyota Supra model. “I couldn’t tell that I was driving a different style of car,” said Brandon Jones, who also complimented the car’s look on the track.

Today is the eve of the Daytona 500, with drivers from the Xfinity race, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott making up part of the grid tomorrow. NASCAR will head to Atlanta next week, with the Xfinity series running the Rinnai 250 on Saturday in a doubleheader with the Gander Outdoors Truck Series holding the Atlanta 200 afterwards.