DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – It was pretty unanimous this preseason, Christopher Bell was the favorite to win the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. Despite being a rookie, he is racing in very good equipment. Plus, Bell made select starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 and even won a race at Kansas.
Unfortunately, his first race of the 2018 season ended early for the Oklahoma native.
Bell, was an innocent bystander on a Lap 10 incident in Saturday’s PowersharesQQQ 300 at the Daytona International Speedway. Fellow rookie Austin Cindric had a very loose race car at the beginning of the race and after nearly crashing twice, he finally lost control of his No. 60 Ford entering the tri-oval and got into Daniel Suarez on his outside, then shot back down into Tyler Reddick on his inside. After playing pinball with both, Bell was right behind and had nowhere to go and got into his Ford, taking both out.
Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Josh Williams and Brandon Brown were also caught up in the incident, that left Cindric and Bell out of the race.
Cindric, is also going for the 2018 championship, as he will split time with Roush/Fenway Racing and Team Penske this season. He would finish 40th in his first start of the season.
Bell came home 39th.
Last year, Bell was involved in a flipping crash on the other side of the tri-oval where he barrel rolled several times. He would go on to win the championship last season. While he is lucky he didn’t flip this year, he’s hoping the end of the season ends up like 2017’s did.