Christopher Bell fended off teammate Noah Gragson to break through and win his first Xfinity race of the year Friday night at Richmond Raceway.
Bell led the final 79 laps around the .75-mile track to score his second career win. He had finished in the top five in four of the first seven races this season.
“That was pretty special there, buddy,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “Had to work for it. My teammate was really good and I knew throughout both practices that both of our cars were going to be really strong. Joe Gibbs Racing has been producing really, really fast Camrys for last couple of weeks and it’s really shown.”
Gragson placed second in his first career Xfinity start. He bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty early in the race.
He hounded Bell for much of the last 15 laps, but could never pull even with him.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Gragson told FS1 of his first series start at the short track. “I found a little something in the track, a little speed there at the end of the second stage on old tires. I kept it in my memory bank until the end and I told me team, ‘I got something, when it’s time to go tell me when.’ About 18 to go, I told them, ‘Can’t wait any longer, I don’t have any more patience.”
Gragson, who drives full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, led 10 laps.
The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.
With his third-place finish, Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.
Bell, Sadler, Tifft and Cindric will be eligible for the third Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Talladega.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric
STAGE 2 WINNER: Elliott Sadler, first stage win of season
MORE: Race results, points
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric earned his first career top five after starting from the rear for an unapproved adjustment … Matt Tifft earned his fourth career top five … Ryan Truex placed seventh to give Kaulig Racing its fourth top 10 of the year. It earned five last year … Jeremy Clements placed eighth, earning his first top 10 since he won at Road America in August.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After winning Stage 1, Daniel Hemric lost his right front tire with three laps to go in Stage 2, but made it to the end. He finished 29th, four laps down … Justin Allgaier spun after ramming into the back of Spencer Gallagher with 86 laps to go. Chase Briscoe was also received damage in the incident. Allgaier finished 14th. Briscoe placed 26th.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My wife’s already spent it.” – Elliott Sadler to FS1 after winning the Dash 4 Cash bonus.
WHAT’S NEXT: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. ET on April 28 on Fox.