Christopher Bell captures first career Cup win on Daytona Road Course
For the second consecutive week, Daytona International Speedway crowned a first-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell earned the honour Sunday on the track’s road course, taking the lead from Joey Logano with two laps to go and pulling away to a comfortable 2.119-second victory over the former series champion.
Bell, 26, is the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and this is his second season at the premier level — his first driving for the championship Gibbs organization. His work Sunday, however, was more reminiscent of a veteran. There were eight caution flags, eight race leaders and a whole lot of action in the waning laps.
“This is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far,” a smiling Bell said after climbing off the roof of his No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, where he flashed the No.1 sign to the grandstands. “Just so incredibly thankful to be here with Joe Gibbs Racing and all our partners. This feels like I prepared my whole life for this moment to race in the Cup Series. Last year was a huge learning curve for me, and I’m very grateful I got the opportunity to run in Cup and it definitely prepared me to move to Joe Gibbs Racing.“
The Daytona Road Course took braking to a whole new level in the NASCAR Cup Series. Our Alcon brakes lasted all day and were strong enough at the end to get us the win.
The road course at Daytona provided a new set of challenges for teams on the weekend. High downforce configurations on the cars, coupled with even more horsepower than last year, meant massive energy inputs into the braking system and a race distance of some 70 laps meant wear rates and brake performance were always going to be an issue. A lack of testing prior to the race, as is the norm during the pandemic, dictated that the cream was always going to rise to the top - and we did just that. Years of continuous development working with our teams paid dividends as JGR driver Christopher Bell passed a struggling Joey Logano right at the end of the race. We couldn't be more pleased for the 26 year old star and the team at Joe Gibbs Racing, a massive congratulations from us all at Alcon and Pro-System.
Ty Gibbs wins in Xfinity Series debut at Daytona Road Course
Ty Gibbs turned in a historic NASCAR Xfinity Series debut Saturday night as the 18-year-old won in his first series start, holding off reigning champion Austin Cindric on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.
Gibbs took the lead on a restart in double overtime and held off the field by a comfortable 1.726 seconds at the finish line, dropping to his knees to reflect after climbing out of his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – a car owned by his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs.
With his win in the Super Start Batteries 188 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly, Gibbs becomes only the sixth driver to win in his first series start – matching a feat achieved by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt in 1982 and most recently, Kurt Busch, 15 years ago. Gibbs becomes the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series road course event. At 18 years, 4 months, 16 days, he breaks the record most recently held by Cindric (20 years old).
By most measures, it was an emotional victory after an intense, exciting race on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course. Cindric led the most laps (29 of the 56) but could not catch Gibbs in the end.
“I just cannot thank everybody right now, really this is like a dream come true for me, it’s just awesome,” said an emotional Gibbs, who turned his first-ever laps in the car and made his first career live pit stop Saturday evening. “I really didn’t think I had it there,” he said of the intense racing at the end. “I fought back and we won.”
Kyle Busch wins Busch Clash at Daytona Road Course
Kyle Busch scored a dramatic preseason victory Tuesday night in the Busch Clash, avoiding a crash between front-runners Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott, to kick off the NASCAR Cup Series season with the annual exhibition held for the first time on the Daytona International Speedway road course.
Busch led only the last of 35 laps in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, winning the Clash for the second time. The exhibition race marked the first victory with new crew chief Ben Beshore.
“I kinda felt like there was an interesting opportunity that was developing there,” Busch said of the Blaney-Elliott situation. “When that started happening I was hoping they would wreck long enough I could get up there and get by them and win the thing. It’s never over until it’s over in these kind of things.”