Road America was what the doctor ordered for Christopher Bell and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team.
Bell finished second Sunday afternoon in the Jockey Made in America 250. It wasn’t without some drama, though, as he had to overcome an early penalty for driving through too many pit stalls after the first stage. He rallied and was seventh when the race restarted for the last time with 17 laps to go and drove to the runner-up spot by overtaking the likes of Kyle Larson and teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
“(We) kind of buried ourselves there when we had that pit road penalty,” Bell said. “It was a lot of fun. Our Sirius XM Camry was really good.
“It’s been a trying last two months, but we feel like we’re getting back on track. There’s no reason why we can’t be running up front every week.”
Although Bell was quicker than eventual winner Chase Elliott, he was over 5s behind at the checkered flag. However, the result was Bell’s first top-five since mid-April.
Bell came out of the gate strong with a win on the Daytona road course and five top-five finishes in the first 10 races. But after sitting as high as fourth in points earlier this year, Bell’s team has struggled to put together momentum and consistency. Six finishes outside the top 20 dropped Bell to 16th.
Unofficial Results @roadamerica
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Road America – pit road penalty aside – was a smooth and clean day.
“It’s been good,” Bell said. “Last week at Pocono, we had a car capable of finishing in the top five. It didn’t happen. Besides that, Nashville, we were OK. Aside from that, I don’t know; we just haven’t been very fast.
“Here, the last couple weeks, I’ve been really proud of the progress we’ve made. I’m just proud to drive for everybody on this 20 group at Joe Gibbs Racing. Excited for the future. I know there’s more to come. Like I said, there’s no reason why we can’t run up front every week.”