- Josh Scott
Christopher Bell wins Daytona Road Course, Logano robbed of victory for second straight race
Christopher Bell snatched the lead away from Joey Logano with two laps to go and drove away by 2.1 seconds, to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course on Sunday. Bell picks up his first NASCAR Cup Series win in just his second race for Joe Gibbs Racing, after taking the wheel of the number 20 car. Bell entered the series last season driving the 95 car for Levine Family Racing, which has since shut down operations.
"This is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far," said the 26-year-old, during his post-race interview. "I've prepared for this moment my whole life to race in the Cup Series."
Denny Hamlin finished third, Kurt Busch fourth, and Brad Keselowski fifth. Kevin Harvick, AJ Allmendinger, Daytona 500 winner
Michael McDowell, Ryan Preece, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10.
For Logano, Sunday's race is the second in a row that he has ended up losing while leading with less than two laps to go. Logano crashed, along with Keselowski, while leading on the final lap of the Daytona 500 last Sunday.
"We've made gains (on road courses)...we're not good enough yet, but we maximized the day," he said during his post-race interview. "I'm happy for (Bell), but not so happy with myself at the moment."
Defending series champion Chase Elliott, who started first, dominated for most of the race. The Dawsonville, GA native led a race-high 45 laps (out of 70). On lap 59, Elliott made an incredible save after making contact with Corey Lajoie's number 7 car.
Elliott rallied back through the field, but after spinning out while racing with Hamlin for fourth place, with five laps to go, ended up finishing 21st.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the number 99 car, went to Twitter a couple of hours later and revealed that with 15 laps to go, he threw up inside his helmet. Suárez was running just outside the top 20 at the time. The Monterrey, MX native finished 16th.
For the first time since 1950, the Cup Series has opened the season with two first-time winners in the first two races.