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Christopher Bell turns heads with 3rd place finish at Texas

FORT WORTH, TX : Christopher Bell on track at Texas Motor Speedway with Michael McDowell (PC: LFR)

As Leavine Family Racing prepares to close its doors after the 2020 season, NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell delivered the team’s best finish this season, finishing 3rd at Texas Motor Speedway for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500.

The finish placed Bell as the highest finish rookie of the race, completing a Toyota trio of Kyle Busch capturing his first win of the season, and teammate Martin Truex Jr. finishing just behind.

“It felt like we were coming from the back almost every yellow flag,” Bell said in a media availability. ” I was very happy to see that last stage go green.  I knew our car was really, really good.  We were able to pass guys pretty easily and really carry momentum.  I was happy with our Procore Camry pretty much all day.  I was a little bit loose to start on Sunday and I knew if we could get it tightened up that we’d be pretty fast.  Jason did a great job and we were able to execute and come away with a nice finish.

He found himself in contention for the win late in the race on Wednesday, battling Truex Jr for the second position in the closing laps. With the unknowns surrounding Busch’s fuel situation, Bell had to stay close to the 2017 Champion for his shot as his first Cup win.

“Obviously the goal is to win, and I felt like we had a Camry that was capable of winning tonight, just wasn’t able to pass the 19 car whenever I caught him, and then if I would have passed the 19 car, the 18 was going to be the same story, trying to catch him and pass him.  I felt like we had enough car speed to win today, just didn’t work out in our favor.”

The Norman, Oklahoma native capped off the weekend recording the fastest lap of the race at 187.019 MPH.

The paint scheme the team brought to the track might be a familiar one to some fans. The design is nearly identical to the 2011 debut design for LFR, that was designed by the late Sam Bass- NASCAR’s first and only official licensed artist.

Battling his soon to be teammate Truex on track, Bell said that he thinks the effort from this season will carry over into next season when he joins Joe Gibbs Racing officially in the Cup Series.

“I’ve been really proud of this 95 group the last several weeks, and really off and on all year,” said Bell.  “We’ve had really good car speed, just haven’t been able to get results.  I hope that this is something to build off of and it’s definitely nice to run well going into the off-season, and hopefully we can execute and do a good job at Martinsville and Phoenix, as well.”

In addition, this is the first time in his Cup career Bell has scored back-to-back Top-10 finishes, as well as LFR’s best finish at a 1.5 mile track.

Bell has experienced a teeter-totter season of sorts for his rookie campaign.

In 34 races, Bell has finished in the Top-5 twice, with seven Top-10 finishes, and 14 finishes inside the Top-20. He has lead only 18 laps this season, and has four DNF’s on the season.

After finishing third in Texas, Bell will look to capitalize on the momentum heading to Martinsville this weekend for the Xfinity 500.

 

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