Bell Holds Off Gragson to Win at Richmond

Christopher Bell won the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. It’s his second career series win and first of 2018. Bell led 120 laps en route to his victory. Daniel Hemric won stage one, while Elliott Sadler won stage two. The race featured five cautions and nine lead changes. Noah Gragson, in his XFINITY Series debut, finished second.

When the race went green for the first time, Cole Custer quickly cleared outside polesitter John Hunter Nemechek. On lap 18, David Starr brought out the caution as he limped around the track with smoke coming from the rear of the car. On the restart, Christopher Bell flew around the outside to grab second spot, right behind Custer. After a couple of attempts, Bell would get by Custer. Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric got together fighting inside the top ten, and Allgaier ended up in the fence. The caution didn’t wave, but Allgaier fell back, clearly without the speed he had early on.

With 13 laps left in stage one, Josh Bilicki got into the wall in turn two, bringing out the caution. Four drivers, including Spencer Gallagher and Noah Gragson, were penalized for uncontrolled tires on pit road.

The race restarted with only a handful of laps left in stage one, and Daniel Hemric was able to pass Christopher Bell on the restart, but Bell didn’t let Hemric get away. Unfortunately for Bell, he wasn’t able to catch Hemric, who captured victory in stage one.

When stage two began, Nemechek was up front, having pitted on the previous caution. Daniel Hemric quickly ascended to second, but Noah Gragson, Christopher Bell, Spencer Gallagher, and others were able to get by Hemric as he lost the handle on his car. About halfway through stage two, Christopher Bell was finally able to get by Nemechek and take the lead away. Elliott Sadler was able to climb past a few drivers up to second, and, with 19 laps left in the stage, Sadler grabbed the lead from Bell. The stage ended with Sadler up front.

When the final stage began, Noah Gragson took away the lead as Sadler ended up hung on the outside lane. Not long after, Justin Allgaier spun in an accordian effect incident. Algaier only sustained minor damage, but Chase Briscoe recieved significant front-end damage. Jeb Burton was also involved.

Once the race got back going, Gragson initially cleared Christopher Bell, but Bell got back by him after a lap. Despite a number of hard charges from Gragson, who was running in his series debut, Bell was able to finish it off and win.

The XFINITY Series goes back racing at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 28, at 3 p.m. eastern time.

Here are the full results from the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway:

  1. Christopher Bell
  2. Noah Gragson
  3. Elliott Sadler
  4. Matt Tifft
  5. Austin Cindric
  6. Cole Custer
  7. Ryan Truex
  8. Jeremy Clements
  9. Ryan Reed
  10. Brandon Jones
  11. Tyler Reddick
  12. Jeb Burton
  13. John Hunter Nemechek
  14. Justin Allgaier
  15. JJ Yeley
  16. Alex Labbe
  17. Spencer Gallagher
  18. Ross Chastain
  19. Brandon Brown
  20. Michael Annett
  21. Ryan Sieg
  22. Joey Gase
  23. Tommy Joe Martins
  24. Tony Mrakovich
  25. Joe Nemechek
  26. Chase Briscoe
  27. Garrett Smithley
  28. Spencer Boyd
  29. Daniel Hemric
  30. Kaz Grala
  31. Vinnie Miller
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Josh Bilicki
  34. Chad Finchum
  35. David Starr
  36. Mike Harmon (Clutch)
  37. Stephen Leicht (Brakes)
  38. Timmy Hill (Fuel Pump)
  39. Morgan Shepherd (Brakes)
  40. Jeff Green (Electrical)

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