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via Imago

via Imago

Christopher Bell carved out a place among the top racers last weekend in New Hampshire. But contrary to his Magic Mile glory, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s fortune was not so magical at Nashville. Bad luck reigned supreme even after his dominating run through the first two stages. 

Trouble hence descended post the second stage. The entire race field experienced a dramatic shuffle, beginning with Bell’s collapse. Post-race, the No. 20 driver hung his head while reflecting on the incident. He took the blame for disappointing Joe Gibbs and his team.

Christopher Bell carries the weight of regret

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A week ago, Christopher Bell made a clean sweep at Loudon. He picked up both Xfinity and Cup wins at the 1.058-mile oval, flaunting a broomstick and a gigantic lobster as prizes. However, he could not claim the coveted guitar of the Ally 400 race at Nashville Superspeedway. Ill luck was written large on the No. 20 car after winning both stages of the race.

Christopher Bell led a race-high 131 laps until lap 218 when a Hendrick Motorsports driver’s fall re-scripted the narrative. A caution was called when Chase Elliott spun on turn 4, and Bell pitted for four tires. This dropped him outside the top ten, This fallout might have axed Bell’s stellar run.

Talking to the press post-race, Christopher Bell somberly reflected, “Yeah, I mean, it sucks. The yellows didn’t help there in the third stage…But you’ll have that, you know. I got a very bad restart once I was buried and it just got frustrated. I put myself in a bad spot, so I got no one to blame but myself.”

 

Then with 73 laps to go, Bell entered turn 1 in a crowdy portion when his car snapped sideways. The No. 20 Toyota spun into the SAFER barrier and incurred too much damage to continue. Christopher Bell described the situation while apologizing to his team. “I just put too much speed in there and put myself in a really bad aero spot. And it spun it out. So great car, great effort by this 20 group. And I let them down today.”

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Despite this heartbreaking setback, the JGR No. 20 team is as good as it gets. Bell stands comfortably in the playoffs and is one of the topmost winners this season.

Bell looked at the brighter side as well

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Christopher Bell currently occupies an elite seat – owning three victories, he shares the winningest status this season with three rivals. His wins include the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 victory. Entering Nashville, the JGR No. 20 team boasted a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes, including two wins. 

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Bell also scored 20 stage points due to his spectacular stage win sweep. Hence the 36th place finish does not look so bad, as Bell himself admitted. “I mean it’s disappointing, but there’s a lot to be positive about,” Bell added. “We won two stages, so we got more playoff points, which is really good. The performance of our team is doing really well, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and I think we can win a lot more races.” 

Christopher Bell currently stands sixth in the regular season championship standings. Let us see if he can crack the top five again in the following races.