Race Weekend Central

Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek Lead Atlanta XFINITY Practices

Christopher Bell was fastest in the first practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday (Feb. 23) ahead of Saturday’s (Feb. 24) Rinnai 250, but it was John Hunter Nemechek, making his series debut, who turned heads by leading practice two later in the day.

Bell’s No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry was fast right out of the gate, posting the fastest lap early in the session and successfully defending the time during the entire session.

Bell, who won the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta, posted a fast lap of 178.447 mph (31.068 sec). He was the lone Toyota in the top five.

Joey Logano ended up second quickest, followed by Cole Custer. Ryan Reed and Kevin Harvick. who rounded out the top five that was largely dominated by Ford.

Daytona winner Tyler Reddick wound up sixth, followed by Ryan Truex and Nemechek, who’s running a part-time schedule this season. Kyle Benjamin and Jeremy Clements rounded out the top 10.

30 of the entered 42 drivers entered for the race turned at least one lap during the session.


Meanwhile, Nemechek turned a 31.056-second lap (178.516 mph) around the Atlanta Motor Speedway to pace the second practice, leading Bell, who concluded the practice second.

Custer ended the session in third, followed by Ty Dillon and Brandon Jones.

All 42 drivers took at least one lap during the session, and Nemechek turned the most laps of the session at 49.


Qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will begin at 9:10 a.m. ET Saturday and will be shown live on FOX Sports 1, followed by the race at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

About the author

His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.

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