Bell scores series-leading sixth victory of the season
PLANO, Texas (August 26, 2019) – After two second-place finishes on road-course events this season, Christopher Bell’s first road-course win highlighted Toyota’s on-track success.
With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series off for the weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) took center stage on Saturday afternoon at the four-mile Road America race track in Wisconsin. Making his first NXS start since 2016, Matt DiBenedetto was strong early on and led 18 laps (of 45). However, when an untimely caution fell with 13 laps to go, DiBenedetto still had to make his final pit stop, while teammate Christopher Bell did not. Bell took the lead shortly after the restart and never looked back. After second-place finishes in the first two road-course events of the season, Bell crossed the line first. It was his series-leading sixth win of the season and first ever at a road course.
“I’m honestly in shock,” said Bell, following the race. “I really butchered qualifying. I felt like once we got in the race, we would be able to drive by those guys. This Ruud Supra was really, really fast. We’ve had a great road-course season. I’m really honored to be a part of Joe Gibbs Racing. To get my first road-course win is really special.”
On Sunday, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) made its lone road-course stop across the border at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In his first Toyota start, former open-wheel star, Alex Tagliani, scored a career-best second-place finish driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
“It was amazing to run for KBM,” said Tagliani. “Thanks to everybody there, especially Kyle (Busch), for accepting for me to be in this truck. We were just missing loading the front during the race in the fast corner, so I had to overslow the truck down too much in the corner and that’s what made the difference. But nevertheless, it was a pleasure to race for them and good point day for the 51 team.”
Both of the Toyota Playoff drivers had a strong day. Austin Hill earned a fifth-place finish, while Tyler Ankrum scored a top-10 finish in his first career-series road-course start.
In the final NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West combination race of the season, Derek Kraus continued his strong season. Kraus drove from the 12th starting position to finish second to extend his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points lead to 29 points over his teammate, Hailie Deegan. David Gilliland, subbing for an ill Ty Gibbs, finished third, while fellow Toyota driver, Chase Cabre, led the first 67 laps (of 98) before experiencing mechanical woes.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series have their annual throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway. The Xfinity Series kicks off the weekend on Saturday, August 31 at 4:00 p.m. EDT on NBC and the Cup Series races on Sunday, September 1 at 6:00 p.m. EDT on NBCSN. The NHRA is back on track for their biggest race of the year, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Finals coverage is live on FOX on Monday, September 2 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The ARCA Menards Series has its second straight event in Illinois at the DuQuion State Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 31. TV coverage is on MAVTV at 9:00 p.m. EDT. The POWRi National Midget League has two races at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Missouri on Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1. The Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League has its final two races of the season this weekend at Crandon International Raceway in Wisconsin.
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Golin for Toyota Racing