Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Digital Media

Early crash sidelines Christopher Bell, damages Kyle Larson on Bristol dirt

Two heavy favorites — dirt-track experts Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson — were snared by an early crash, hampering their efforts in Monday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Official results

Bell looped his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the 51st of 253 laps in Turn 2, collecting the No. 5 Chevrolet of Larson and the No. 42 Chevy of Ross Chastain in its wake. Bell and Chastain were sidelined for the afternoon by the collision, and Larson lost two laps for repairs with substantial damage.

“Way to go, Bell. Way to go,” Larson told his team after the incident. He continued and finished 29th, five laps in arrears.

After a check at the infield care center, Bell explained he lost control shortly after the water truck rounded the half-mile oval as part of the in-race track prep during the first competition caution period. Both drivers have already scratched the win column this year, but their early tangle kept them from a return trip to Victory Lane.

“I was just trying to run the water in under yellow,” said Bell, who was credited with 34th finishing position. “I knew it was a little bit slick, but I felt like I could go up there and make some time and I kind of entered shallow underneath of it and tried to pick it up on exit and it was just really greasy up there. I hate it for all of our partners – Irwin Tools, PristineAuction.com, Toyota, TRD. That was a lot of fun, being able to be out there for that first run was really cool and hate it that I can’t be out there longer.”