It was undoubtedly an emotional moment for Christopher Bell when he crossed the line to win the 2021 Daytona Road Course race. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was understandably ecstatic, having worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of stock car racing.
Among the people to congratulate him was also seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Rest assured, it would have meant a lot to Bell, considering that he is a driver who certainly knows a thing or two about winning races!
Johnson’s tweet read, “Nothing like that first win, congrats @CBellRacing.” Safe to say, even though the former Hendrick Motorsports No.48 has left NASCAR, he will continue witnessing action that the sport has to offer.
Contrary to his finishing position, the Joe Gibbs Racing No.20 started off in 15th. This left having to navigate across tough competition in the form of Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and Bubba Wallace among others.
Bell could not overtake them in Stage 1 and finished 12th itself, the position in which he started. But it was after steadily building pacy timed laps, that he secured an improved finish of fourth place in Stage 2.
With 32 laps to go, Bell was still behind pack leader Kurt Busch, pushing on the outside. But after a mistake from the latter, the No.20 eased into the lead and took it from there to eventually win the race.
Bell said after the race, “This is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. Last year was a huge learning curve for me, and I’m very grateful I got the opportunity to run in Cup and it definitely prepared me to move to Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Having spent a couple of years in the Cup Series, Bell has made significant progress in his development as a driver. But until Sunday, the 26-year-old had not won a race despite his best efforts.
With a win now secured, Bell will ensure that he keeps the good run going for himself and his team. Rest assured, after yesterday’s performance, there are better and brighter things to come from him in the 2021 season.