Christopher Bell grabs Xfinity win; Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishes fourth

RICHMOND, Va. -- Christopher Bell took the lead away from Matt Tifft with 13 laps to go and won the opening race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs on Friday night.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth in what he said would be his only start of the season. Earnhardt retired from NASCAR's Cup Series last year and works as an analyst for NBC Sports.

Earnhardt led for much of the second half of the race, but he lost the lead to Tifft on pit road with about 30 laps remaining.

Friday marked Bell's fifth victory this season as he completed a season sweep at Richmond.

"To be able to come out here and win on a late race restart like that is really special," said Bell, who won last year's championship in the Truck series. Justin Allgaier's 32nd-place run also gave Bell the series points lead.

Ross Chastain rallied to finish second, followed by Daniel Hemric.

For Chastain, succeeding in a race in which one of the sport's biggest stars also contended had an extra cool factor.

"There is, man. I live close to him. I help pay the bills over there at JR Motorsports with my rent check every month -- I make a small contribution -- and we pass each other on the road now and then," Chastain said. "I don't think he knows what I drive, but I wave to him just like I wave at everybody else down that bumpy, bumpy road."

It wasn't Chastain's first on-track encounter with Earnhardt.

"I raced with him at Dover in my first Cup race," he said. "One run, we had our car really good, his car was really bad and I was able to clear him and I waved to him. About 10 laps later, I burned my front tires off, he went back by me and he waved back to me and I was like, 'Wow. That's Dale Jr. waving.'"

It was the 31st Xfinity race at Richmond for Elliott Sadler, a Virginia native who grew up about 70 miles away and regularly attended races at the track. Sadler, who is retiring at the end of the season, was hoping to capture his first career victory on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval. He ran in the top 10 most of the race and finished sixth.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.