By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Joe Gibbs Racing standout Christopher Bell recovered from an early spin to finish in the top-five at Pocono Raceway.
On the final two restarts for the Pocono Green 250, Bell found himself in the middle of the hornet’s nest. The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver was ahead of the spinning Justin Allgaier on the first attempt to finish the 250-mile race. Bell slipped backward however as Allgaier spun in the middle of the field.
Bell’s No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra was stuck in the middle of the action because of a spin near the end of the first stage. He broke loose as he exited turn one, looping his Toyota around. Somehow, the only damage he suffered was a minor dent on the right-rear quarter panel.
In overtime, Bell was in the middle of the action. When the field fanned out to be four and five-wide entering turn one, the Norman, OK native held his position. As the field funneled off of the corner, Bell founded himself comfortably in fifth.
“We were just kind of slow all day,” Bell admitted. “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 wasn’t fast enough to get up there. Bummer, but it was a much needed momentum for after how Charlotte went.”
In a bid to regain track position, Bell’s crew chief Jason Ratcliff elected to have his driver remain on track between the first two stages. The 24-year-old inherited the lead and held on to finish the stage in third. Bell held on to his track position and was second when the caution waved on lap 95.
The fifth-place finish is the seventh top-five finish for Bell this season, and the 28th of his career. He was the only Toyota Racing driver to finish inside the top-15.
After Bell failed to earn Playoff Points at the ‘Tricky Triangle,’ he is now tied with race-winner Cole Custer at 20. Both drivers, along with points leader Tyler Reddick, and Daytona winner Michael Annett are the only drivers locked into the 2019 playoffs.