Due to darkness and an earlier 1 hour, 42-minute rain delay, NASCAR finally called Sunday’s race eight laps short of its scheduled 301 laps.
Unfortunately for Bell, that was eight fewer laps in which he had the opportunity to run down and pass eventual winner Aric Almirola and he had to settle for second place.
“Whenever I saw the board and saw that we were eight laps short, it stings, man. I felt like I probably had a little better pace than him and I was able to get to him,” Bell said. “I know lapped cars were giving him a bad time, but I was able to get to him.
“It was going to be a heck of a race. We didn’t start out the greatest and then we were really good, probably the best we were all day right there at the end of the race.
“That’s all you can ask for is to have a shot at it and just wish we had eight more laps.”
After Almirola had cleared Brad Keselowski for the lead on Lap 274, he appeared to have clear sailing while waiting to see if NASCAR would call the race early.
Bell – who won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race – came strong at the end of the race in his No. 20 Toyota, moving into the runner-up position and gaining on Almirola but always with the possibility NASCAR could give the ‘10 to go’ call at any time.
“I’m happy for Aric, that’s cool for him to win,” Bell said. “He’s been close a couple times. Building on our program, too, so hopefully we can knock off a couple more wins here soon.”
Asked if he thought it was too dark to race, Bell said, “I don’t know, I had a dark shield on (my helmet) so I had to flip that thing up 50 laps ago.
“It was pretty dark for the last however many laps of the race. What’s eight more?”