FORT WORTH, TX. - Christopher Bell shrugged off a short-lived brake problem in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and cruised to a 5.635-second victory in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
With his eighth win of the year Bell locked himself into the Championship 4 Round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, with the title to be decided two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Austin Cindric led the Ford effort coming home third, while Cole Custer joined him in the top-10 with an eighth place effort. Cindric goes to Phoenix seventh in the standings, 31 points behind Justin Allgaier. Custer is second in the Playoff standings, 52 points ahead of Chase Briscoe.
Briscoe had a rough night, Saturday. Briscoe and the 98 team opted to stay on the track after contact with the wall late in the race and eventually paid the price. He lost three laps after his tire shredded and finished 22nd, falling 18 points behind sixth-place finisher Justin Allgaier for the final berth in the Championship 4.
The series will resume next Saturday from ISM Raceway in Phoenix where the Championship 4 field will be set after the race.
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang - FINISHED 3rd
“We had a fast enough Discount Tire Ford Mustang to win the race, no doubt. GIven the right track position we could have done it. We had great execution all day. Wish we hadn’t gotten unlucky on some of those restarts and maybe been on the front row for a couple of those final restarts. I knew my job was to be the best pusher and clear the 20 and I did that but I wasn’t able to clear the 10. We will move on and go try to win Phoenix. I haven’t seen the points yet but if you win, you are in.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Thompson Pipe Group Ford Mustang - FINISHED 8th
“We started out alright. We were pretty solid when we had clean air. Once we got in dirty air it really went away from us. It was hard to find the handling on it from being too loose. We will figure it out. We will look back on it and look at practice and how things have changed. It was tough. When we had the clean air we were pretty decent but still too loose. I thought we would be alright but once we got in dirty air it was just a handful. I think it was tough to guess what we had from practice and know what we would have for the race. It was a good day. I guess it was a good points day, so that is good.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEKEND, HOW TO YOU APPROACH PHOENIX NOW? “I am happy we aren’t on the cut off line or anything like that. That makes it a lot less stressful. At the same time we aren’t locked in so we have to make sure we do our jobs and not have any big mistakes. I think we can go there and be good, we just have to make it happen.”
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Mustang - FINISHED 22nd
“That was just unfortunate. I don't think we were the car to win by any means but I think we would have run fifth to eighth area. We just had to stay in that same ballpark where the 7 was. We were in really good contention to do that and then I made a mistake running the top and tried to get too much. We thought all our tires looked good but we had a rub and the tire went flat and put us three laps down. Obviously we have our backs against the wall going into next week but we have really good fast race cars. We will go there and try to win the race.”