Bell wins at Dover, sets Xfinity record
Norman native Christopher Bell won his sixth NASCAR Xfinity Series race this season in the playoff race Saturday at Dover International Speedway in Delaware, setting the rookie record for victories in a season.
DOVER, DEL. — Norman native Christopher Bell has a second straight NASCAR championship in sight.
Bell won his sixth Xfinity Series race this season in the playoff race Saturday at Dover International Speedway, setting the rookie record for victories in a season.
He passed three drivers for most rookie wins: Greg Biffle won five races in 2001, as did Kyle Busch in 2004 and Carl Edwards in 2005.
Bell built his record with wins at Kentucky, New Hampshire, Iowa and twice at Richmond and expected to add a few more as he chases a championship.
The 2017 Truck Series champion, Bell won the first stage Saturday and was never in any serious trouble driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, leading 110 of 200 laps.
"It's been a career year for me," Bell said. "All credit to Joe Gibbs Racing. We have really fast race cars every time I go to the racetrack."
He was the only driver headed into the race who secured a spot in the semifinal round.
Ross Chastain, Ryan Truex, Ryan Reed and Brandon Jones all failed to advance.
Bell, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric and Matt Tifft are still in the running for the championship when the series picks up in two weeks at Kansas.
"I'll be just as sharp whenever we get to Kansas as I was today," Bell said.
The playoff drivers in the round of eight know there is only one sure way to knock off Bell.
"It would be nice to win a race," Custer said. "I think we'll have a shot to do it."
Custer was second at Dover, followed by Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Spencer Gallagher.
The 23-year-old Bell this season became the first series regular with a threerace winning streak since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999. Kyle Busch did it four times between 2008 and 2016, but he was also running fulltime in the Cup Series.
"I don't think it's any of our championships to lose," Bell said. "It boils down to the last race."
Hamilton claims pole for Japanese Grand Prix
SUZUKA, JAPAN — Championship leader Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday, leading a 1-2 finish for Mercedes and taking a step closer to securing his fifth Formula One championship.
With rain threatening, Hamilton clocked a lap of 1 minute, 27.760 seconds to edge teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.299 seconds. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was third.