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Xfinity at New Hampshire: Another win at Loudon for Christopher Bell

Loudon, NH, July 17/21 (by John Davison): Christopher Bell scored a kind of hat trick by winning his third NASCAR Xfinity race here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, taking the Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200 by almost six seconds over Justin Allgaier, to give Joe Gibbs Racing the team's sixth straight win at the New England oval, but the margin didn't tell the true story of how competitive the race was. The top four finishers were running in close proximity until lapped traffic spread the gap between Bell and Justin Allgaier. Similarly, the fact that Bell dominated the race in the No. 54 Toyota Supra in dominating the race similar to Kyle Busch's performances in the No. 54, does not mean that he had an easy job of it.

The No. 54 car that Bell was driving was the same one in which Kyle Busch had already won five Xfinity races in five starts this racing season. That was the maximum number of Xfinity races Busch could race so perhaps now we will see another string of Xfinity Series wins by Bell before his eligibility runs out after the next seven races.

Allgaier managed to hold off a challenge for second from Daniel Hemric over the final laps, with the top four battling for position until the lapped cars broke up the struggle.

Jeb Burton led the field to the green from the outside line. Points leader and newly-named driver of the No. 2 Cup car for 2022 Austin Cindric rolled off in fourth on a track that had not received the expected fresh treatment of PJ1 traction compound. After a competition caution period, AJ Allmendinger headed the field, flanked by Cindric in the first 'choose' restart but an accordion effect on the restart sent Riley Herbst into the front straight inside wall after he got hit by Brandon Jones, who had heavy damage to his hood and radiator. Nothing vital got damaged on Herbst's car and he rebounded to finish tenth.

"I feel like we should have run in the top five for sure”, Herbst said after the race. "We had really, really good speed before the comp caution and then obviously we got wrecked on that restart. I guess I'm happy with the way we battled back, but it's just frustrating. I feel like we did OK from my point of view, but we got hit in the back. Once we got hit in the back and they just turned us in the fence, so that was pretty frustrating."

Bell said, "What I've got figured out is that I've got really, really fast race cars to drive. I just love being here with Joe Gibbs Racing. All these Supras that I've had the last three times I've been here have been amazing. Hopefully my Camry is just as good tomorrow, but it feels good to win, finally got DEWALT in victory lane. I know it's been a long time coming."

After receiving the checkered flag from NASCAR officials at the Start/Finish post-race ceremony, Bell spotted a young fan in a Christopher Bell shirt and motioned him to the fence to present the flag to the youngster."I was looking and I don't see a lot of Christopher Bell shirts up there, but there is another one up there. It's really cool to see a kid wearing my t-shirt. That's really special. Hopefully he has a lifelong memory."

Bell described the final restart as "really tough. I was just taking off really loose so Justin (Allgaier) was able to stay right on my left rear and made it tough to where I couldn't get off the corners very good. Man, once this thing got some laps underneath of it, we were really, really fast."

The next Xfinity Series race will be held at Watkins Glen in three weeks time (after the Olympics break) on Saturday, August 7th.

• Click HERE for the Race Results

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