Christopher Bell rallies for Phoenix victory, Championship 4 berth

Christopher Bell claimed his seventh victory of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Saturday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix to punch his ticket for the championship battle next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Bell led 94 of the 200 laps to convert in a must-win situation in Saturday’s Whelen Trusted to Perform 200. His eighth victory of his Xfinity Series career was his first at the 1-mile track.

RELATED: Race results | Phoenix schedule

Only Cole Custer (last week’s winner at Texas) entered the race with an automatic berth in the Championship 4 field. He’ll be joined in the title fight by Bell, Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick for the Nov. 17 finale at Homestead. Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric were eliminated after the three-race Round of 8.

Hemric finished second in the Richard Childress Racing No. 21 Chevrolet, sitting 1.887 seconds behind Bell at the checkered flag. Tifft, Cindric and Ryan Preece completed the top five in the next-to-last race of the Xfinity Series season.

Bell’s path to avoiding elimination ended an adventure-filled Round of 8 for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 team. After being sidelined by crashes the last two weeks, Bell started 38th Saturday after his car did not pass inspection in time to qualify. The 23-year-old Oklahoman rallied to the lead by Lap 108.

Teammates Allgaier and Sadler each suffered damage to the right-front of their JR Motorsports entries during the race. Allgaier, the series’ regular-season champ, won both stages but faded to finish 24th with brake issues. Sadler was 11th.

Pit notes: Chevrolet claimed its 19th manufacturer championship in the Xfinity Series after the drop of the green flag. The title is the fourth in the last five years for the automaker. … Akinori Ogata, a 45-year-old native of Japan, crashed in the first lap of his Xfinity Series debut. He spun again on Lap 100 and limped to an 33rd-place finish, 21 laps down.

This story will be updated.

The post Christopher Bell rallies for Phoenix victory, Championship 4 berth appeared first on Official Site Of NASCAR.

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March 4, 2019

First top-10 of 2019 for @chaseelliott9: ✅ #NASCAR #NASCARGoesWest #Vegas #LasVegas