Christopher Bell won Sunday’s Bank of America Rival 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and punched his ticket into the next round of the playoffs.
Sunday’s race was rather calm until the final few laps when there were some cautions for wrecks which would send the race into an overtime finish.
Bell, who would get fresh tires during a late race pit stop under caution needed a win in order to advance into the Round of 8. When the race went back to green, Bell would charge past race leader Kevin Harvick and win over a margin of. 1.7 seconds.
Adam Stevens, who is the crew chief for Bell, made the decision to go with four tires in the late race pit stop to try and pull off a miracle. “We hit a three-pointer at the buzzer,” Stevens said post-race.
“I was the first one on new tires,” Bell told NBC Sports post-race. “I guess we’ll roll the dice and see what happens. When I got into Turn 1 my spotter did an amazing job. They all started wrecking, that kept me out of the junk in Turn 1.”
For Bell, Sunday’s win marks his second win of the year and gives him a spot into the next round of the playoffs. Bell also became the sixth driver to win below the cutoff line in an elimination race.
Chase Briscoe, who needed a good finish in order to advance into the Round of 8 would do just that with his ninth place finish.
Briscoe’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer, who was racing drivers that Briscoe needed to pass to finish high enough to not get eliminated from the playoffs. Custer would slow down off the back stretch in order to slow other drivers so that Briscoe could get past them.
NASCAR announced after the race that they’re reviewing data, video and radio transmissions from Cole Custer and his team related to Custer’s actions. NASCAR also added that any penalties that might come from their investigation into the matter won’t affect the Round of 8 field. Custer, who started the final lap in eighth would finish 24th.
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in second, Kyle Busch in third, AJ Allmendinger in fourth and Justin Haley in fifth.
Chase Elliott, who was in control of the race up until a restart with two laps to go. Harvick would drive past race-leader Elliott for the lead and Elliott and Reddick would make contact as they both race for second place, sending Elliott around.
Drivers advancing into the Round of 8 next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe.
Drivers who did not advance into the Round of 8 are Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric and Alex Bowman. Bowman has been out with a concussion.
Rounding out the top ten were Chris Buescher in sixth, Bubba Wallace in seventh, Tyler Reddick in eighth, Chase Briscoe in ninth and Austin Dillion in tenth.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday October, 15th in the opening race for the Round of 8 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Ross Chastain
Race Winner: Christopher Bell