Christopher Bell Earns Walk-Off Victory At Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVALby Hunter Thomas October 9, 2022 1 comment
CONCORD, N.C. – In a thrilling overtime finish, Christopher Bell won the Bank of America ROVAL 400 and advanced to the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Playoffs.
Bell entered the race weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL absolutely having to win in order to advance in the NASCAR Playoffs. Throughout the race, Bell didn’t even earn stage points, but thanks to a few late-race caution, Bell was able to carve through the field and lead the final two laps en route to his second victory of the season.
“Man, you just got to be there at the end of these things,” Bell said. “I keep watching all these races where the fastest car doesn’t always win. No secret that road courses have not been our strength year. We were just there at the right time. We obviously weren’t in position to win, we rolled the dice, gambled, it paid off for us.”
What really helped Bell move through the field was when his crew chief, Adam Stevens put sticker tires on his car in the closing laps, and of course, Bell also stayed out of trouble when chaos broke loose all around him.
“Whenever I came off pit road and I was the first car with tires, I was just trying to wait and see where I stacked up,” Bell said. “I saw there were 11 cars that stayed out on old tires, I was the first one on new tires. I said, I guess we’re going to roll the dice here and see what happens. When I got into turn one, my spotter did an amazing job. They all started wrecking. He told me to stay tight to the middle, and that kept me out of all the junk in turn one.”
Kevin Harvick powered his way to a runner up finish, marking his best effort in five races at the Charlotte ROVAL. The second-place effort marked Harvick’s eighth top-five finish of season. Harvick also didn’t earn any stage points, but he was up front battling for the lead when it mattered.
Harvick said, “I knew we were in a bit of a pickle there with Christopher on new tires and I just didn’t want to blow the first corner, I wanted to give us a chance he was just able to roll more speed than we were and from there it was just kind of like damage control and make sure you bring the thing home and that’s what we did. They did a good job. They got us in position and that caution coming out killed us there. We were half a lap from coming to the white and caution, so they did a good job.”
Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Haley rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Chris Buescher, Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Austin Dillon.
Joey Logano won Stage 1 and Ross Chastain won Stage 2.
There were 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Chase Elliott led a race high of 30 laps.
Kyle Larson missed out on the Round of 8 by a mere two points. Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric and Tyler Reddick were also eliminated.
Chase Elliott sits atop of the Round of 8 standings. Joey Logano (-20) is second, followed by Ross Chastain (-25), Christopher Bell (-28), Ryan Blaney (-31), William Byron (-31), Denny Hamlin (-33) and Chase Briscoe (-37) who raced his way into the Playoffs.
The Round of 8 will get underway on Sunday, October 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The South Point 400 will broadcast live on NBC and PRN at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com