Christopher Bell Earns Win in the Go Bowling 250 to Start the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, took the lead from Matt Tifft on the final restart and never looked back to win the Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Playoff race at Richmond Raceway (Richmond). The victory was the first-ever playoff race at Richmond and first race of the NXS Playoffs. It was Bell’s fifth checkered flag of the NXS season, which moves him to the Round of Eight in the NXS Playoffs.
“It’s really cool and to be able to win two races here,” said Bell. “It is really special to be able to pull into victory lane with all the fans there. That was really cool to be the first one to do it is really something. You don’t get to be in the history books very often. I’m the first guy to pull into Richmond victory lane now or the new one anyway.”
Bell started from the pole for the fourth time this season in tonight’s race. He led 67 laps en route to his fifth victory of the season. It was the second consecutive NXS win for Bell at Richmond as won April’s ToyotaCare 250. Tonight’s win ties Bell with Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle for the most wins by a driver in their rookie season.
The top five was Ross Chastain, Daniel Hemric, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Matt Tifft.
Earnhardt led the most laps at 96 and finished fourth in his first race since the final race of the 2017 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also won the second stage, which was his first stage win in NASCAR competition.
“I’m glad we got to lead a lot of laps and run real good for all the people who came out to watch us,” said Earnhardt. “You know these guys are running for a championship, I didn’t want to mess anybody up.”
Elliott Sadler of Emporia, Va., finished sixth in his final career race at his home track. Sadler announced he would retire from active competition following the current NXS season.
“It really hit me when my kids did the gentleman’s ‘Daddy, start your engine’ and I could hear them. Man, that hit me hard,” said Sadler. “I have a lot of family and friends here and I love them to death and they know what this race meant to me. Mom and Dad have been bringing me here a long time and next year I get to come back as a fan and sit up here and watch these guys do what they do. But to be the last time on this track. I don’t have a win, but I have a lot of great memories here.”
During a press conference in the new Virginia Business Systems Media Center, Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier presented Sadler with a replica of the iconic state of Virginia trophy. The inscription on the trophy read, “Virginian. Competitor. Friend. Richmond Raceway is proud to be the home track for the Sadler family. Thanks for your commitment to furthering motorsports in Virginia throughout your career.”
Richmond Raceway 2018 NASCAR Season
Richmond’s first-ever NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, continues on Friday, Sept. 22 with the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race. The track’s grand opening race weekend of the DC Solar FanGrounds as part of Richmond Raceway Reimagined, a $30 million infield redevelopment project, will
The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) will run the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic on Saturday, October 20 at Richmond. The race will be the penultimate race of the PASS National Championship Series. PASS Super Late Models will headline the day with feature events for Tour-Type Modifieds, Late Model Stocks, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks. To learn more, visit richmondraceway.com or proallstarsseries.com.
Tickets for the Fall Playoff Race Weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, and PASS Commonwealth Classic are available for purchase in-person at the Richmond Ticket Office, via phone at 866-455-7223, or online at richmondraceway.com.
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3-Time Cup Champion & Co-Owner of Stewart-Haas Racing