NAS: Christopher Bell wins in New Hampshire on wet-weather tires


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Christopher Bell completed the weekend sweep at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on a strange, long Sunday.

Bell turned in the best performance in a historic wet-weather tire shootout, winning the NASCAR Cup Series’ rain-plagued USA Today 301 in overtime in Loudon, N.H.

Tyler Reddick’s No. 45 Toyota led at Lap 220 before a two-hour, 14-minute red flag condition for rain ensued.

NASCAR dried some of the 1.058-mile track and then put wet-weather tires on the cars. After the second caution, teams were allowed to change to another set of wet-weather rubber in a non-competitive pit stop.

That kept Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota out front for good. Bell beat Chase Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford in a two-lap dash by 1.104 seconds in the series’ first-ever race with wet-condition tires.

“You never know how this thing will shake out with so many (changes) like that,” said Bell, who led a season-best 149 laps. “I personally love adverse conditions because you’re always trying to think outside the box. … I tried to run down and run up. This is really cool.”

With checkered flag in hand, he turned to the crowd and yelled, “Hey, guys, this one didn’t get shortened!”

Bell won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race with a thrilling last-lap pass — making him 4-for-4 in the series at the flat New Hampshire track — and stayed out front through multiple cautions to win for the ninth career time.

He scored a series-tying third victory in 2024, matching the totals of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and William Byron.

Josh Berry, Larson and Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.

The 305-lap race featured 14 cautions and took just more than six hours to complete.

With rain forecast for Sunday, NASCAR moved the green flag up 30 minutes, and polesitter Chase Elliott proceeded to race away to a lead of more than two seconds for 42 laps.

However, Bell passed him in the caution-free segment for a Stage 1 win over Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford. Elliott settled for third in the stage.

The first half of the second stage belonged to Bell, though defending race-winner Martin Truex Jr. cut into his teammate’s lead to sixth-tenths of a second before Bell doubled the advantage.

The scheduled 301-lap race’s first two cautions for incidents — one for Daniel Hemric, the other a wreck between Busch and Noah Gragson in Turn 1 on Lap 154 — helped put Hamlin at the point.

With 25 laps left in the stage, it was once again a battle between two JGR Camrys, and Hamlin created nearly a second lead over Truex.

Hamlin made it a stage sweep for the Toyota organization with his fourth stage victory over Truex by more than seven seconds.

Despite having a strong run and earning 17 bonus points, Logano’s day hit a snag when he and Elliott wrecked on the Lap 194 restart on the way to a 32nd-place finish.

–Field Level Media


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