Christopher Bell Wins First NASCAR Cup Series Race at Daytona Road Course

by Joe Rutland

Christopher Bell got his first NASCAR Cup Series win at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway Road Course on Sunday.

In taking first place, Bell also secured a NASCAR playoff spot, too. Bell was driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for just the second time in his career.

Bell won on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile track by 2.119 seconds. He led five go-arounds in the 70-lap event, including the final two after stealing the lead. The win comes in Bell’s 38th Cup start, and he becomes the 15th NASCAR driver to win his first race on a road course.

Bell Pushes Past Busch, Logano For His First NASCAR Win

Bell found himself behind Kurt Busch and leader Joey Logano with 10 laps remaining. Yet Bell persisted, pushing his way to the front of the pack and reaching Daytona’s famous Victory Lane.

NASCAR’s official Twitter account let everyone know that Bell secured the victory.

Logano finished second while Denny Hamlin came in third place on Sunday. Rounding out the Top 10 finishers in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 are Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, AJ Allmendinger, Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell, Ryan Preece, and Alex Bowman.

For just the third time, a NASCAR season opens with back-to-back first-time winners. It’s the first time to happen in NASCAR’s modern era with the other two times in 1949 and 1950.

Chase Elliott captured Stage 1 on Lap 16, leading all but one lap from the pole position. Bell is credited with a lap led in the NASCAR race’s first portion.

Hamlin took Stage 2 on Lap 34. He led the last four circuits of the stage, taking the lead from Allmendinger.

Next Sunday, NASCAR stays in Florida for the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin is the defending champion of that race.