The driver of the No. 20 Toyota used a move from his dirt-track background to pass Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones with 18 laps to go and power on to the win. It was Bell’s first-ever win at Bristol, his second win of the season and the 10th of his Xfinity Series career.
The victory was made more valuable as Bell won a $100,000 bonus for NASCAR’s Dash 4 Cash program.
Bell, who had come in for a pit stop and had fresher tires than Jones, talked about the winning pass.
“This place, for whatever reason, suits his driving style, and he should have won here last year,” Bell said. “He was really good on the restart, but he couldn’t quite hang on. I was able to run him down. I went high and he couldn’t hold me off. I was able to do a slide job to the top lane and get by him.”
Defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick, driving a specially-wrapped Dollywood-sponsored No. 2 Chevrolet, finished second. He was able to get close to Bell at the end, but not close enough to get to his bumper. Reddick had fallen to seventh on a restart before making a charge back to the front.
Earlier, he made several runs to get ahead of Bell, but was unable to complete the pass.
“It’s hard to pass at Bristol and everyone does such a good job with the race cars where we’re really close,” Reddick said. “The top way is the fast way to run the race track. The bottom was OK on restarts, but that left-side tire didn’t get ahold of the track grip when it got really hot, and I was working it pretty hard.”
Reddick was also contending with Cole Custer’s third-place car. It was a memorable day for Custer, who won his seventh career pole after turning a lap at 126.503 mph. Custer talked about the intense battle for second.
“We didn’t have the fire-off speed or perfect scenarios to pass people when we got up in the top five,” Custer said. “I’m pretty mad because I think we had the best car at the end, we just didn’t have the best fire-off. We had the best car at the end. It’s just a matter of having track position.”
Jones, who bounced off the wall and had to make a late-race pit stop for a flat tire, finished 14th.
BEST OF THE REST
Chase Briscoe in a Ford and John Hunter Nemechek in a Chevrolet rounded out the top five.
Austin Cindric in a Ford, Justin Haley, Michael Annett and Noah Gragson in Chevrolets and Harrison Burton, son of former Cup Series star Jeff Burton, were the rest of the top-10 finishers.
GOOD RUN FOR FINCHUM
Chad Finchum, driving the No. 42 Toyota sponsored by Kingsport Speedway, finished 20th. He was running higher in the closing laps, but had to make a late pit stop for a flat right-rear tire.
“For the obstacles thrown at us during the race, it was a pretty good day,” Finchum said. “We showed speed in qualifying and it gave hopes of a top-15 or even a top-10 finish. We fired off to start the race and the car wasn’t as fast. I tried dropping down to the inside, but the car wasn’t any better. We were still battling there late in the race and had a tire go down and lost some spots. Still, 20th was a pretty good day.”