Christopher Bell will contest the NASCAR Cup Series title for the second consecutive year after a thrilling comeback victory on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bell secured a spot in the coveted championship race next month after overtaking William Byron in the final lap of the NASCAR 4EVER 400 playoff race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.
Bell overtook William Byron on lap 252 of 267 to claim the victory. He won by 1.6 seconds over Ryan Blaney after maintaining his lead over the final 16 laps. It took some effort to get there. Bell was in risk of starting the second stage a lap down after qualifying 13th.
Bell’s first green flag lap within the top five came on lap 221 and later moved to the front after a caution with 46 laps remaining. On the restart, he was in position four (second in the outside lane), and in turns three and four, he overtook Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney to take the lead.
The pack of cars came back to pit road after a few laps of racing under caution, and the No. 20 maintained its lead. He made the choice to restart fourth after coming off pit road in third place with 25 laps remaining.
Bell’s second victory of the year came as a result of the late charge that marked his first win at Homestead-Miami.
Blaney led 53 laps before coming in second after the Team Penske driver dodged an imminent catastrophe when Kyle Larson collided with him on pit road while there was a green flag on lap 213.
Blaney was in the lead and Larson was attempting to close the gap between them when Larson impacted the Penske Ford in the bumper and eventually crashed in to the sand barrels to bring out the red flag.
Third place went to Tyler Reddick as William Byron and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top five. Bubba Wallace finished sixth, Ty Gibbs seventh, Joey Logano eighth, Aric Almirola came in ninth and Austin Dillon tenth.
Chris Buescher came in 21st place and going into the elimination race next weekend, he is in a must-win situation. Martin Truex Jr., who may have had an engine problem, came in 29th. Denny Hamlin came in 30th after colliding with the wall in Turn 1 on Lap 236 while inside the top five.
Larson came in 34th place after he won the first stage and led the most laps at 96. The next stage was won by Blaney.
Bell’s victory sent him to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway in two weeks, where he will compete alongside Larson and two other drivers who will be determined at the Round of 8 final at Martinsville Speedway’s short track next week.