Christopher Bell sees the silver lining in fifth-place finish at Pocono

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JUNE 01: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway on June 01, 2019 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

No, Saturday’s Pocono Green 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race didn’t go the way Christopher Bell would have liked.

On Lap 17, Bell spun near the exit from Turn 1 and brushed the outside wall with the rear of his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

But Bell recovered. On Lap 66, he passed Justin Allgaier for third place, and after an exchange of green-flag pit stops, he was running second to eventual race winner Cole Custer, albeit more than 13 seconds in arrears.

But two cautions—the second of which sent the race into overtime—likely cost Bell a runner-up finish. He lined up third for the overtime restart and could make progress on the bottom lane, eventually finishing fifth.

But that was far better than last week’s 31st-place result at Charlotte, where Bell crashed out after 90 of 200 laps.

“We were just kind of slow all day,” Bell lamented after the Pocono race. “We didn’t get the finish we wanted. I thought we were going to run second there if the yellow didn’t come out, and, unfortunately, the yellow came out.

“I started on the bottom and just could never–just wasn’t fast enough to get up there. Bummer, but it was a much-needed momentum for after how Charlotte went.”

Greg Engle