Bell tops Logano on Daytona Road Course for first Cup win

Logano had led 10 of the final 13 laps but on the next-to-last lap, Bell made up considerable ground on him and entering the frontstretch chicane of the Daytona Road Course, Bell powered to his inside and came away the leader to start the final lap.

He deftly navigated the last of the 70 laps and ended up winning by 2.119 seconds – his first career win in 38 starts.

Bell, 26, is the second consecutive first-time winner in the Cup Series to start the 2021 season. Michael McDowell won last weekend’s Daytona 500.

“I don’t know, this is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. I’m just so incredibly thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing with all of our partner. Thank you to Jack Irving and Tyler Gibbs. You guys believed in me since day one,” Bell said.

“It feels like I’ve 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 that I got the opportunity to run in Cup. It definitely prepared me to move for Joe Gibbs Racing.”

Asked if he thought he had a chance to run down Logano for the win after passing Kurt Busch for second, Bell said: “No, I really didn’t. Whenever we pitted and then we came out, I liked where we lined up, but then the yellows kept coming and I thought the yellows were hurting me because I felt like I needed laps to get back up through there.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to get there, but Adam (Stevens, crew chief) up on the pit box kept telling me I was going to get there. I didn’t believe it, but he really struggled coming out of (Turn) 6 one time and allowed me to close the gap.

“I just wish my wife was here to celebrate with me.”

Bell said capturing his first Cup win a day after Ty Gibbs won in his Xfinity Series debut was “Unbelievable.”

“Seeing Ty (Gibbs) win was such a special moment. I was so proud of Ty. Obviously, Joe Gibbs Racing does a great job giving everybody great equipment,” he said.

“I knew that going into this year that I was going to have to perform. Just really, really proud to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

Denny Hamlin finished third, Kurt Busch was fourth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, McDowell, Buescher and Alex Bowman.

Chase Elliott, who led the most laps in the race (44), wrecked after contact with Hamlin late in the race and finished 21st.

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