Christopher Bell secures a Championship 4 bid with a Homestead Miami victory in the NASCAR Cup Series 4Ever 400 on Sunday afternoon.
The NASCAR Cup Series returned to the state of Florida one final time in the 2023 season. The race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This track has its own unique characteristics despite its simple layout. Drivers will find speed all over the track with many of them daring to run inches off the wall. Different grooves are available with all having benefits and downsides. Teams can pick their poison to see which offers the fastest line.
Pole Sitter, Martin Truex Jr Leads the Field to the Green Flag
Martin Truex Jr started the race from the pole position, and he had to fend off Bubba Wallace. After eleven laps, Truex Jr moved into the sole possession of the lead.
William Byron stormed through the top ten and made the pass for the lead on lap twenty. The field began coming down pit road under the green flag. Kyle Larson cycled into the lead and led the final 26 laps of the first stage that ended under caution after Ricky Stenhouse Jr spun around on the backstretch.
Continuing in the Front for the Second Stage is Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson continued to lead into the second stage. Around 30 laps into the stage, Larson began the pitting cycle coming down pit road first. Larson returned to the lead, but Ryan Blaney was tracking him down.
For 36 laps Ryan Blaney closed the gap on Kyle Larson. With four laps remaining in the stage, Blaney completed the pass on Larson for the lead which gave Ryan Blaney the win in the second stage.
Blaney and Larson on the Front Row to Start the Third Stage
Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson continued to run first and second into the final stage of the race. Forty laps into the final stage, Ryan Blaney came down the track to enter pit road.
Kyle Larson came down at the same time right behind Blaney. Larson did not judge Blaney’s speed very well and was late to slow down. Larson had to avoid Blaney by veering off to the right, causing Larson to run into the barriers protecting the wall on pit road to bring out the caution as well as ending Kyle Larson’s day.
Two more quick cautions came out with JJ Yeley spinning around, and Denny Hamin hitting the wall. Christopher Bell was on a mission coming out of these cautions. Bell quickly passed Ryan Blaney for second and set his eyes on William Byron for the lead.
Bell cleared Byron for the lead with 15 laps remaining in the race. Ryan Blaney was the fastest car on the track, and he tried to catch up to Christopher Bell. Blaney ran out of time and ran out of laps. Christopher Bell’s efforts late in the race earned him the win and sealed his place to race for in the championship 4 at Phoenix.
Next Race Will Eliminate Four Championship Contenders
One race remains before deciding the NASCAR Cup Series champion. A short track battle at Martinsville Speedway. William Byron is all but officially safe with a 30-point cushion above the cut line. With a solid finish, he should be safe.
Ryan Blaney sits ten points above the cutline, with Tyler Reddick ten points behind the cutline. These two could create some drama as the race comes to a finish next Sunday afternoon.
Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin are 17 points outside the cutline. These two drivers will need to have excellent finishes for any chance to advance.
Then Chris Buescher who sits 43 points off the line. He is in a must-win position to continue his season. Look for this team to pull out all the tricks to try and advance into the Championship 4.
Sunday’s race will be a fun one with six drivers looking to fill two spots to race for the NASCAR Cup Series championship title in Phoenix.