Bell's Chance at a Clock Gets Blocked Late at Martinsville
Christopher Bell started the final stage of the Alpha Energy Resources 250 at Martinsville Speedway from the front of the field and held off a tenacious challenge from eventual race winner Chase Elliott for the first 90 laps of the 110-lap segment. Bell was working his way past two trucks at the tail end of the lead lap with 17 laps remaining in the race, when one of the trucks appeared to be giving him room to the inside but then dove low to block him entering Turn 1.
The contact caused the other truck to spin and slowed the progress of the No. 4 JBL Tundra allowing Elliott and his GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter both to make their away past Bell before he gathered up his Toyota. The incident brought out the 10th and final caution of the event, but after the field went back green Bell was only able to maintain his position in the running order and ended the day with a disappointing third-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- Bell started the 250-lap event from the sixth position, and quickly worked his way into the top five. He ended the first stage scored in the fourth position.
Stage Two Recap:
- After pitting for fresh right-side tires and fuel on lap 75, Bell returned the track as the leader. Shortly after the field went back green Johnny Sauter, who had four fresh tires, quickly maneuvered his way around Bell. The 22-year-old was able to maintain the runner-up position until he was summoned to pit road by crew chief Rudy Fugle after the sixth caution of the day occurred when John Hunter Nemechek slowed on the track.
- After a four-tire and fuel stop, Bell returned to the track scored in the 15th spot with 18 laps remaining in stage two. He was able to methodically work his way all the way up to 10th position before the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap:
- With the top nine trucks hitting pit road for fresh tires, Bell remained on track and started the final stage from the top spot. The field went back green with 101 laps remaining and Bell was able to hold serve on the restart.
- Bell had Elliott beating on his bumper for the majority of the final stage as they ran one-two for 90 laps. He was trying to work his way around the 19th and 20th-place competitors when Austin Cindric appeared to leave room on the inside heading into Turn 1, but then moved back down to the inside lane, the right side of the JBL Tundra. The contact caused Cindric spin and brought out the final caution of the event.
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