AVONDALE, Ariz. — The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs contender Christopher Bell failed pre-qualifying inspection three times Saturday morning at ISM Raceway.
As a result, the team will lose its car chief (Chris Sherwood) and start at the rear of the field for Saturday’s Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Bell currently sits seventh in the playoff standings, 34 points below the cutline heading into the final elimination race to set the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17. Cole Custer is the only playoff driver locked in, leaving three spots up for grabs.
“Well the good thing is Homestead isn’t decided on where we start, it’s decided on where we finish,” Bell told NBCSN after the penalty was handed down. “We have 200 laps, which is an eternity, especially with what I grew up doing in sprint-car racing. We have a bunch of pit stops in there and a really fast race car to make it up. So, I think we’ll be fine.”
The No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Ty Majeski also failed pre-qualifying inspection three times. Majeski will start at the rear and his car chief (Zach Marquardt) has been ejected.