Bell wins, gets Xfin­ity ti­tle bid

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - NFL BLITZ -

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Christo­pher Bell saved his sea­son by win­ning Satur­day’s NASCAR race at ISM Race­way to snag a cham­pi­onship-el­i­gi­ble berth in next week­end’s Xfin­ity Se­ries fi­nale.

The vic­tory was the se­rieshigh sev­enth of 2018 for Bell, last year’s Camp­ing World Truck Se­ries cham­pion.

De­spite his dom­i­nance through­out this year, Bell crashed in the pre­vi­ous two events and started Satur­day’s race in the Phoenix area sev­enth in the points stand­ings. His only shot to race for the sea­son ti­tle at Home­stead-Mi­ami Speed­way was via a vic­tory.

“The pres­sure was on, and I am just one of those guys who does re­ally well in those sit­u­a­tions,” Bell said. “Ev­ery­thing is on the line, and I am just thank­ful I pulled through for my team. These guys are the ones who build the race cars that are go­ing to win, whether I am driv­ing them or not.”

He will race for the crown against Cole Custer, Daniel Hem­ric and Tyler Red­dick next Satur­day in Florida.

Justin All­gaier, the reg­u­lar-sea­son points cham­pion and a win­ner of five races this year, was elim­i­nated af­ter fin­ish­ing 24th. El­liott Sadler, who is re­tir­ing af­ter next week’s race, was elim­i­nated as well.

Trucks: Mofitt pre­vails

Brett Mof­fitt won the trucks race late Fri­day night at ISM to earn a spot in the four-man ti­tle chase next Fri­day at Home­stead.

Mof­fitt charged from third to first with a strong in­side move af­ter a restart with three laps left.

Mof­fitt raced to his fifth vic­tory of the sea­son in the Hat­tori Rac­ing En­ter­prises No. 16 Toy­ota, beat­ing Noah Grag­son to the fin­ish line by less than half a sec­ond. Grag­son earned the fourth and fi­nal cham­pi­onship spot on points. GMS Rac­ing team­mates Johnny Sauter and Justin Hale al­ready had earned spots in the fi­nal four.

Har­ri­son Bur­ton was third in Fri­day’s race, fol­lowed by Grant En­fin­ger, Ste­wart Friesen, Tyler Ankrum, Sauter, Derek Kraus, Chris­tian Eckes and Shel­don Creed.

AP PHOTO/RICK SCUTERI

The pit crew for NASCAR driver Christo­pher Bell ser­vices his car dur­ing Satur­day’s Xfin­ity Se­ries at ISM Race­way in Avondale, Ariz. Bell de­liv­ered in a must-win sit­u­a­tion and will race for the ti­tle next week­end.

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