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Never Give Up: Christopher Bell Locks Into Championship 4 With Win at Homestead

Christopher Bell admitted that he wanted to throw in the towel early in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but his team kept after it and Bell scored a Championship 4 berth-clinching win.


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The reputation of Christopher Bell being a clutch race car driver gained an additional chapter as he worked his way around William Byron with 16 laps remaining to take the lead of the event.

Bell wouldn't look back as he scored the win in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway by 1.651 sec. over Ryan Blaney to cement his place in the 2023 Championship 4 battle at Phoenix Raceway.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 Race Results

After climbing from his car after his second win of the 2023 season, Bell gave all of the credit for the late-race charge to his race team. The 28-year-old explained that he was ready to throw in the towel in the early portion of the race, but his team kept his head in the game.

"I've got the best team behind me," Bell stated emotionally. "I just -- honestly, I don't know, man. That race was a whirlwind. I was ready to throw the towel in there in the second Stage, and I got really frustrated on the radio. And [Crew Chief] Adam [Stevens] kept after it. Adam, Tyler, William, the guys back at the shop are working over the adjustments. And they gave me what I needed. When we got some clean air, this thing was really good."

Bell, who worked his way into the Championship 4 last season with a clutch win in the cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway, is proud to reach the championship race as a contender once again.

"I cannot say how proud I am to be here with our partners. With Rheem, and DeWalt driving these Toyota Camrys. I've been with Toyota since day one, so, thank you to everyone who has supported me. This is better than a dream come true," Bell said.

Ryan Blaney may have come home in the runner-up spot, but the driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang certainly had a car capable of winning the race.

However, after a run-in with Kyle Larson on Lap 213 as he was heading into pit road, and an additional scuffle with Denny Hamlin prior to Hamlin's crash on Lap 236, potentially scrubbed some of the dominance from his car.

But in the end, Blaney kept digging on the high side in the closing laps, and wound up putting himself 10 points above the cutline heading into the final race of the Round of 8 next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Tyler Reddick, like Blaney, was ripping the fence in the closing laps, but the driver of the McDonald's Hamburglar paint scheme couldn't steal one away in the closing laps, and had to settle for a third-place finish.

With the finish, the 23XI Racing driver will head into Martinsville as the driver chasing Blaney in the championship standings.

Byron, who Bell made the race-winning pass on with 16 laps to go, faded to a fourth-place finish in the closing laps, but finds himself in a great position points-wise heading into next weekend.

The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver is 32 points above the Playoff cutline.

AJ Allmendinger, who won the race at the Charlotte ROVAL a few weeks ago, scored a solid fifth-place finish for the No. 16 Kaulig Racing team.

Bubba Wallace, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.

While the top-four finishers in Sunday's race were Playoff contenders, it wasn't a great day for the other four Playoff contenders.

Chris Buescher struggled mightily all race long in the No. 17 RFK Racing Ford Mustang, but he was able to salvage a lead-lap 21st-place finish on the day.

Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson weren't as fortunate.

Larson, while his day came to an end early, is locked into the Championship 4 by virtue of his win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And it's probably a good thing he locked in early.

On Lap 213, Larson made a miscue coming onto pit road. As he attempted to get slowed down in time, Larson collided with the rear of Blaney's No. 12 car, and then Larson slammed into the barrels on pit road.

Larson would be credited with a 34th-place finish.

Denny Hamlin, likewise, wouldn't see the finish of the race as he suffered a mechanical failure within the steering system in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry.

The driver had been locked into a spirited battle with Ryan Blaney when the issue occurred on Lap 237.

A lap after Hamlin's misfortunes, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Truex experienced his own set of issues as the motor in his No. 19 Toyota Camry went sour.

Truex would be done for the day with the issues under the hood and he would finish 29th, one spot ahead of Hamlin, who finished 30th.

With one race remaining in the Round of 8, here is how the Playoff Grid currently shakes out:

  1. Christopher Bell (LOCKED IN)
  2. Kyle Larson (LOCKED IN)
  3. William Byron, +32 points
  4. Ryan Blaney, +10 points
  5. Tyler Reddick, -10 points
  6. Denny Hamlin, -17 points
  7. Martin Truex Jr., -17 points
  8. Chris Buescher, -43 points

The final race of the Round of 8, the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway, will take place Sunday, October 29th. That event will be televised by NBC beginning at 2:00 PM ET. The radio broadcast of that event will be provided by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Photo Credit: Craig White, Racing America

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