Christopher Bell needed to win today’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in order to advance to the final four and battle for the championship. For the second time this season, Bell and his DeWalt Camry TRD team was able to deliver in a clutch scenario and claim the victory. Bell led 150 laps (of 500) in today’s race and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin led 203 laps, but on the final lap was passed by Ross Chastain and ultimately fell out of the top four in points. Hamlin would finish sixth in the race and was joined in the top-10 by Bubba Wallace in the ninth position.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 35 of 36 – 263 miles, 500 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, CHRISTOPHER BELL
2nd, Kyle Larson*
3rd, Ryan Blaney*
4th, Brad Keselowski*
5th, Ross Chastain*
6th, DENNY HAMLIN
9th, BUBBA WALLACE
20th, TY GIBBS
21st, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
30th, KYLE BUSCH
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What were you thinking on the final restart trying to catch Chase Briscoe?
“Mom and dad, we did it, wow. I can't believe it, man. To come here in Martinsville, this place has always been so tough on me. Just pre-race looking up, seeing all the fans, this place is packed.
I don't even know what to say. Just thank you so much to DeWalt, Rheem, Toyota, everyone on this Joe Gibbs Racing 20 team. They believed in me since day one. We went to Xfinity and did pretty well, struggled on the Cup side for the first little bit. They stayed with me. Very appreciative to be here. I don't even know what to say.”
What is it about this race team that you can come through like this in back-to-back rounds?
“I say it all the time, but the driver is just a small piece of the puzzle for these races. The reason why this car won today is because it was the best car on the racetrack. Adam Stevens, Tyler William, this entire 20 group, they just never give up. When our back is against the wall, looks like it's over, they show up and give me the fastest car out here. I don't know, man. Words can't describe this feeling.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Direct Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
It was an unbelievable move that cost Denny a chance for his fifth chance to go to the Championship 4. Can you believe it came down that way?
“You got to execute all day. We just didn't control the race when we had control of it. Each caution we just kept losing some spots. That's the way it is. But thank Chris Gabehart (crew chief), the whole FedEx Camry team for giving me a fast car today. It was unbelievable when it was out front. Yeah, just couldn't quite hang on to it there on pit road. But congrats to Chris (Christopher Bell), those guys just did an amazing job, really capitalizing and doing well, winning races when they needed to. Hopefully they can carry the banner for us.”
What can you say about the move that Ross Chastain made on the final lap?
“Certainly. We're trying to battle. Obviously, I was trying to get in there. But it's racing. It's what racing is here as Martinsville. Actually pretty happy with somewhat how clean it was there towards the end, as crazy was it was with guys on different tires. Can't say enough for my team to give us a shot. We were in 20s for most of the season in our points because of our up-and-down execution. We're going to end up fifth in points. That is what it is. Great move. Brilliant. Certainly a great move. When you have no other choice, it certainly is easy to do that. But well executed.”