Looking to head into the upcoming off weeks on a high note, Christopher Bell and his Rheem-Comcast Salute to Service team rolled into Dover International Speedway for the OneMain Financial 200 and the first of two stops during the 2018 season at the one-mile speedway. After starting 34th for the 200-lap event, Bell would overcome a pit road penalty and cross the finish line fourth in his Rheem-Comcast Salute to Service Camry, his sixth top-five finish of the season.
Following the drop of the green flag, Bell wasted no time working his way through the field, being scored in 20th by lap 15 and 12th when the second caution of the afternoon waved on lap 31. Staying out under the caution, Bell maintained his position and restarted 12th on lap 35. Continuing his march towards the front, Bell continued to pick off his competitors one at a time and was scored in ninth when the caution flag waved once again lap 45, the end of stage one. Under the caution, crew chief Jason Ratcliff called Bell down pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments on the Rheem-Comcast Salute to Service Camry. Following the stop, Bell picked up two spots on pit road and restarted stage two in seventh on lap 52.
Battling a tight Camry to start the run, Bell maintained his position in seventh until the caution flag waved once again on lap 78. Staying out under the caution, Bell restarted in sixth on lap 84 as a few teams were on varying pit strategies. Following the restart, Bell picked up two spots on lap 84 and maintained his position until the caution flag waved once again on lap 90, signaling the end of stage two. Under the caution, Ratcliff once again called Bell down pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Following the stop, Bell restarted at the tail end of the field following an uncontrolled tire penalty on lap 98.
Despite the setback, Bell charged towards the front once again following the restart, cracking the top 10 by lap 123 and being scored in eighth when the caution flag waved once again on lap 129. Under the caution, Ratcliff called Bell down pit road for their final stop of the race, changing four tires and adding fuel to the Rheem-Comcast Salute to Service Camry. Following the stop, Bell restarted in eighth on lap 135. With his Camry coming to him towards the end of the race, Bell picked up multiple spots during the closing laps of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line in fourth and earning his sixth top-five finish of the season.
Bell and his Rheem team will have a two-week break before returning to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 26th . Coverage of the race begins at 1:00pm ET live on Fox Sports 1, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio
How hard did you have to work for a fourth-place finish today?
“Yeah, that was work right there, man. But, you know, you’ve got to have days like this to test your mental toughness and that’s something that I’ve been preached and preached about and it’s something that I try and make a priority in my racing career is being strong – being mentally strong – and today definitely was a test for that and all of our team. They worked their butts off and we had a super, super fast Rheem Camry, so that’s something I’m really proud of. To come home fourth on a day like today is something I’m really proud of as well.”
How tough was it to get a top-five finish with no power steering at Dover?
“Yeah, it’s really tough, man. You just – you’re kind of along for the ride there and thankfully our Rheem Camry was really, really strong and we had a lot of speed, so I was able to hang on, but it’s not much fun whenever you’re out there. You just can’t attack.”
Is their solace in walking away fourth with the issues today?
“Well, like I said, our car was extremely fast, so that’s something that I’m really proud of and glad that we finished the race without any problems there and to come home with a top-five on a day like today, it was a win for us.”