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Christopher Bell Thrives in Damp Conditions; Continues New Hampshire Magic with USA Today 301 Win

Christopher Bell swept the weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, collecting his seventh NASCAR win at the 1.058-mile facility in 11 NASCAR National Series starts.


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After winning Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event, it was theorized that nothing could stop Christopher Bell from finding success at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In a race that featured several strategies, a two-hour rain delay, and continuously changing track conditions on wet weather tires, that hypothesis was proven to be true, in a major way.

The 28-year-old driver was able to hold off Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Chase Briscoe and Josh Berry in NASCAR Overtime to score his seventh NASCAR National Series victory at New Hampshire, in his 11th start.

“You never know. You never know how this thing is going to shake out whenever you change so many things like that and the adverse conditions,” Bell said about the rain tires. “I personally love adverse conditions because you’re always trying to think outside the box.”

“You know, whenever we went back out, I was feeling around, and it felt like the normal Loudon groove was slippery. So I tried to just run down or run up, and Adam put the tune on this thing, and it was turning really good,” Bell added.

Needless to say, Sunday’s event — the longest in New Hampshire Motor Speedway history — was certainly a gauntlet, with the final 82 laps of the event run using the wet weather tires, which dramatically altered the outcome of the race.

When the race resumed at Lap 219 after a two-hour delay, Bell restarted in ninth place, but quickly maneuvered his way through the pack once drivers accumulated some laps on the wet weather tires — much like he did in Saturday’s Xfinity race.

With 60 laps remaining (in the race’s scheduled distance), Bell got around fellow Toyota teammate Tyler Reddick for the lead, and held onto it for the final laps, adding to his tally to lead a race-high 149 laps.

There was no looking back for Bell, who survived several restarts during the race’s final stage to capture the victory, extending his margin to 1.104 seconds in the final two-lap stint.

Chase Briscoe, who Bell revealed on Friday would be a future teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished in the runner-up spot, over his current teammate Josh Berry, who scored his second top-five result of the season, finishing in third.

Kyle Larson brought his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet home in the fourth position, while Chris Buescher and RFK Racing managed to make up spots during the wet weather tires portion of the event, finishing fifth.

After being scored as the race leader during the two-hour weather delay, Tyler Reddick lost the lead of the race with 64 laps remaining, fading back to sixth place in his No. 45 SiriusXM Toyota Camry XSE.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. rebounded from being involved in a multi-car accident at Lap 266 to score his second consecutive top-10 result, in seventh, while John Hunter Nemechek rebounded from using two free passes to finish eighth.

Martin Truex, Jr. and Ross Chastain, both of which were involved in incidents throughout the afternoon, rebounded for top-10 results, in ninth and 10th.

Leaving New Hampshire, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are tied atop the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 18 races, with Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., and Tyler Reddick rounding out the top five.

Next, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Nashville Superspeedway for a tripleheader weekend on the 1.33-mile oval. Ross Chastain is the defending winner at the racetrack and will look to again record his first win of the year in the Ally 400.

Photo: Damin Sawyer, TobyChristie.com

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