June 24, 2024 | By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Christopher Bell sweeps NASCAR weekend at New Hampshire

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

LOUDON, N.H. — Christopher Bell continued his dominance at New Hampshire Motor Speedway claiming a sweep of the NASCAR race weekend, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver really had to earn that “broom” in Sunday’s weather-challenged USA Today 301.

The 29-year-old Oklahoman beat Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe to the finish line by 1.104-second in overtime in a race that lasted six hours including a two-hour-plus rain delay and ultimately ended with the field on damp surface tires; only the second time in NASCAR history a points-paying race used the newly-developed tires.

Bell’s No. 20 JGR Toyota led a race best 149 of the 305 laps Sunday, a day after he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.058-mile New England oval. He is now one of four drivers to have three NASCAR Cup Series wins on the season. It was his ninth career series win.

Bell was so excited with the victory he even promised he would “pick that sucker up” referring with a smile to the traditional lobster given to race winners in Victory Lane, something he previously was reticent to do.

“It was literally the tale of two different events,”’ Bell smiled when asked about the race.

“You never know how this thing is going to shake out whenever you change so many things like that and have adverse conditions,” said a beaming Bell, who now has seven wins in 11 national series starts at the New Hampshire track – collecting his fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series win on Saturday.

“I personally love adverse conditions because you’re always trying to think outside the box,” he continued. “When we went back out [on wet weather tires after the red flag delay] I was feeling around and it felt like the normal Loudon groove was really really slippery so I tried to just run down or up, but [crew chief] Adam [Lambert] really put the tune on this thing and it was running good.

“This is really cool.”

It was certainly new territory for the series and the sport. In years past, perhaps the race would just have been called with the rain showers came through with enough laps in the book that had already made it a legal points event.

But with the recent development of wet weather tires, NASCAR instead opted to wait out the showers and give the rain tires a try on a damp track. NASCAR officials said they would have absolutely had to just call the race early had it not been for the new tires.

“We’d have been done with 82 laps to go and instead it gave us a chance to go back to green,” NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer told reporters after the race. “Kudos to our drivers, our owners and especially [NASCAR CEO] Jim France for his vision.”

Certainly, those final 86 laps of competition – which included the overtime stretch – with cars on the wet weather tires changed up the competition in multiple ways. Drivers who had been out of the mix previously – like Briscoe and his SHR teammate, third place finisher Josh Berry – worked their way forward quickly and kept Bell honest.

Others, such as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, who had been third when the race was red-flagged struggled a bit more on the wet weather tires. Hamlin finished 24th.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who was runner-up when the red flag flew, instead finished 25th after a collision with Michael McDowell racing for second place in the closing laps of regulation. McDowell was able to continue and finished 15th.

Briscoe smiled and said, “Two hours ago we couldn’t even run 25th and the rain saved us. Awesome recovery. This is one of my worst race tracks so to run second is kind of surprising, to be honest.

“The rain kind of saved us because if it wasn’t rain, we would have probably run maybe 24th but had a couple good restarts.”

Hendrick Motorsports’ Larson finished fourth followed by Roush Fenway Keselowski’s Chris Buescher – another driver who dramatically moved up in the field following the red flag.

23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, who was leading the race when the red flag came out, finished sixth, followed by JGR Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Legacy Motor Club’s John Hunter Nemechek, JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain – notable comebacks for Truex and Chastain who were both involved in earlier caution periods.

The finish for Larson now brings him into a tie with Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott on top of the standings with Hamlin in third place, 40 points back. Elliott, was involved in an accident just before the red flag and finished 18th.

With eight races remaining to set the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series Playoff field, there was substantial movement in the bottom half of the standings with drivers currently in Playoff position based on points not having scored a win yet.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano, who finished 32nd Sunday, moved into the final Playoff points position and 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace dropped out of points eligibility after an accident with 35 laps left in regulation eliminated him from the race. He finished 34th out of the 36 cars and is now 17th in the Playoff standings, one position below the cutoff.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday in the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway (3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Chastain is the defending race winner.



NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 18
Race Results for the USA TODAY 301 - Sunday, June 23, 2024
New Hampshire Motor Speedway - Loudon, NH - 1.058 - Mile Paved


Total Race Length - 305 Laps - 322.69 Miles

Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sunday, 6/23/2024 @ 08:46 PM Eastern

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 4 20 Christopher Bell Rheem Toyota 305 1 4 57 Running 3 149 6
2 23 14 Chase Briscoe Zep Ford 305   35 Running  
3 10 4 Josh Berry # Miner DOCKS DOORS AND MORE Ford 305 5 8 43 Running  
4 19 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 305  7 37 Running  
5 15 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 305   32 Running  
6 12 45 Tyler Reddick SiriusXM Toyota 305 9  33 Running 1 53
7 13 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/Kleenex 100 Years Chevrolet 305   30 Running  
8 28 42 John Hunter Nemechek Family Dollar Toyota 305   29 Running  
9 7 19 Martin Truex Jr. Reser's Fine Foods Toyota 305 6 2 42 Running  
10 8 1 Ross Chastain Kubota Chevrolet 305 8 10 31 Running  
11 31 41 Ryan Preece Mohawk Northeast Ford 305   26 Running  
12 16 38 Todd Gilliland Grillo's Pickles Ford 305  6 30 Running 1 19
13 32 43 Erik Jones Dollar Tree Toyota 305   24 Running  
14 27 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 305   23 Running  
15 25 34 Michael McDowell Long John Silver's Ford 305   22 Running  
16 18 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota 305   21 Running  
17 20 77 Carson Hocevar # Delaware Life Chevrolet 305   20 Running  
18 1 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 305 3 9 29 Running 1 41
19 29 2 Austin Cindric Autotrader Ford 305   18 Running  
20 36 16 Ty Dillon(i) Car Bravo Chevrolet 305   0 Running  
21 11 99 Daniel Suarez Choice Privileges Chevrolet 305   16 Running  
22 35 15 Kaz Grala # MEAT N' BONE Ford 305   15 Running  
23 26 7 Corey LaJoie Schluter Systems Chevrolet 305   14 Running  
24 14 11 Denny Hamlin Yahoo! Toyota 305 7 1 27 Running 1 43 1
25 2 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Dutch Boy Ford 305 4 5 25 Running  
26 3 24 William Byron Valvoline Chevrolet 305   11 Running  
27 21 10 Noah Gragson Overstock.com Ford 305   10 Running  
28 9 6 Brad Keselowski BuildSubmarines.com Ford 305   9 Running  
29 24 51 Justin Haley Fraternal Order of Eagles Ford 305   8 Running  
30 34 71 Zane Smith # Focused Health Chevrolet 304   7 Running  
31 33 31 Daniel Hemric Poppy Bank Chevrolet 303   6 Running  
32 6 22 Joey Logano Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 302 2 3 22 Running  
33 22 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 268   4 Accident  
34 17 23 Bubba Wallace DraftKings Toyota 265   3 Accident  
35 30 8 Kyle Busch FICO Chevrolet 222   2 Accident  
36 5 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 142 10  2 Engine  

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 48 Mins, 14 Secs. Average Speed: 84.832 MPH Margin of Victory: 1.104 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 20, 22, 9, 12, 4, 19, 11, 1, 45, 48
Stage 2 Top 10: 11, 19, 22, 20, 12, 38, 5, 4, 9, 1

Caution Flags: 14 for 85 laps; Laps: 72-77 (Stage 1 Conclusion [2]); 143-148 (#31 Spin Turn 2 [43]); 155-159 (#8, 10 Incident Turn 2 [3]); 187-193 (Stage 2 Conclusion [8]); 195-199 (#9, 22, Incident Turn 2 [15]); 202-205 (#7 Spin Backstretch [16]); 211-214 (#19 Incident Turn 4 [7]); 217-228 (#8 Incident Backstretch [Red Flag for Weather: 02:14:49] [42]); 236-241 (#1 Spin Turn 4 [42]); 257-262 (#7 Spin Turn 2 [99]); 266-274 (#3, 10, 2, 23, 43 Incident Turn 1 [7]); 285-292 (#77 Spin Turn 3 [99]); 294-297 (#34, 12 Incident Turn 2 [10]); 301-303 (#6 Spins Turn 2 [71]).

Lead Changes: 6 among 5 drivers; C. Elliott 1-41; C. Bell 42-125; T. Gilliland 126-144; D. Hamlin 145-187; C. Bell 188; T. Reddick 189-241; C. Bell 242-305.

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Next Race: June 30, 2024 - Nashville Superspeedway

NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875

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