Bell nets third place finish in Sunday’s 65th annual Daytona 500, details

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Christopher Bell hasn’t typically been known for his superspeedway prowess. Rightfully so too, he would describe these as his worst tracks. It’s why he was so happy to leave Thursday night’s Duels with a runner-up finish.

Most drivers would be agonizing over being so close to a Daytona win. Joey Logano was on Sunday when he was runner-up in the Daytona 500.

“Second is the worst, man. You’re so close,” Logano said. “Congratulations to Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it stings so much finishing second.”

However, Bell was singing a different tune after both Speedweeks races.

“Ultimately thrilled with second, to get nine points,” Bell said after his runner-up finish in Duel 1. “Speedway racing has been a really big struggle for us and it’s been a focus to try and execute a little bit better.

“Proud of all of our partners at Rheem and DeWalt to get them a good showing early on in the season at one of my weaker racetracks, so hopefully we can build on this and maybe finish my first Daytona 500.”

He certainly did so too. Bell, brought that same No. 20 Toyota home in third on Sunday evening.

“Yeah, if you would have told me pre-race I was going to run third, I would have jumped up and down and been smiling ear to ear, which I am very happy and very, very thankful that I could get this Rheem and DeWalt Camry a good solid finish,” said Bell.

“But man, just so close to a crown jewel. I feel like if it would have stayed green I would have been on offense, and obviously who knows. But very proud and thankful to be here and Joe Gibbs Racing, and happy for Ricky. That’s really cool. Very, very happy for Ricky.”

Bell rebounded nicely to score his first Daytona top 10 finish. The Oklahoma native started the day off strong as he entered his first pit stop on the day in the lead. He was only 26th at the end of the first stage however. He was 10th at Stage 2 but ran over pit equipment on his way out and had to serve a penalty.

There he was again in the end shoving buddy Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to the win.

Bell was previously 21st, 16th and 34th in his previous three Daytona 500 tries.

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