Christopher Bell hopes Kentucky can translate to another victory

NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300

Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 13, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

By Eric Young

SPARTA, Ky. — Christopher Bell has a victory in each of his last two starts at Kentucky Speedway, but those each came in a different series. Bell won last year’s Alsco 300 in the Xfinity Series and won the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race the year prior. He hopes his success at the 1.5-mile track will allow him to earn his fifth victory of the 2019 season in the Alsco 300 Friday night. 

“For whatever reason, Kentucky Speedway has been really good to me,” Bell told media Thursday. “I’ve been able to win my last two starts here in the truck series and the Xfinity series. We’re off to a good start this weekend. We were fastest in first practice. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Bell was second fastest in final practice Thursday, trailing Cole Custer. He said the team’s mile-and-a-half program hasn’t been the greatest this season. 

“I think we’re close,” he said. “We definitely need to work on our mile-and-a-half program. I say that, but Kentucky was really strong for us last year. This will be a good test to see how we stack up against our competitors right now. We know our short track programs’ really good. So mile-and-a-half stuff is where we need to work on.”

Bell said he was surprised at how much Kentucky Speedway has weathered since last season. 

“Man, I have been shocked,” he said. “Obviously last year I think they did the tire dragon, so it added a lot of color to the racetrack. But man, this thing is white. Like outside of the PJ1 where they sprayed the racetrack is really white. So that’s good.”

Bell said he was studying last year’s race, and he feels the traction compound will make it tougher to widen out like the Cup Series did last year. 

“Last year in the Cup race, it spread out pretty good and guys got to where they could run mid-track,” he said. “And now, I think the preferred groove is going to be right on the edge of the PJ1, and i mean out there right now, the bottom is close, but the PJ1 is still a little faster. I think the PJ1 is going to be the dominant groove.”

Qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Friday, with the Alsco 300 scheduled to roll off at 7:30 p.m.

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