Jack Bolt Through Radiator Ends Bell’s Day Early in California
Mar 2, 2020

Date: March 1, 2020
Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway (2.0-mile D-shaped oval)
Format: 200 laps (Stages 60 laps / 60 laps / 80 laps)
Start / Finish: 22nd/38th  
Point Standings: 32nd

Race Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 2 Winner:  Ryan Blaney


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60)

  • Christopher Bell qualified 22nd for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in the No. 95 Rheem Toyota Camry.
  • Right from the start the No. 95 had a tight handling condition which hindered Bell from being able to gain positions on the track.
  • On lap 27 Bell made a scheduled green flag pit stop for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. 
  • Shortly after the green flag stop, Bell reported back to his team that he felt a vibration and thought something was wrong with the right front tire.
  • The handling dramatically shifted to plowing tight and not wanting to take a risk hurting the car so early in the race crew chief Jason Racliff called Bell down pit road for tires.
  • Bell lost a lap to the field with the unscheduled pit stop for what turned out to be a loose right front tire. 
  • The balance on the No. 95 was better to close out stage one, but due to the extra green flag stop Bell took the green white 30th.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120)

  • Bell took the green for stage two 28th, one lap down to the field, but in the lucky dog position on the track.
  • Bell held his ground and kept his No. 95 Rheem Camry in the lucky dog position until he started having engine woes on lap 79.
  • On lap 80 the engine ultimately expired and sent Bell to the garage.
  • In the garage the engine was thoroughly inspected and the reason for the failure was a jack bolt had broken loose from another competitor and gone through the radiator of the No. 95.  The damage to the radiator caused the engine to overheat and expire, resulting in a 38th-place finish for Bell at California

Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series finishes up the west coast swing at Phoenix Raceway for the FanShield 500 on Sunday, March 8, 2020.