Got This: Christopher Bell Wins NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 At New Hampshire Motor Speedway  

Christopher Bell salutes the crowd at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after winning the the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 Sunday (Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. – It was a moment captured over the team radio that illustrated the confidence Christopher Bell had Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

After Bell had passed Chase Elliott for the lead, Stevens was passing on information to his driver on where Elliott was behind him,

At one point the low key Bell offered a terse response after his crew chief told him how close Elliott still was. 

“Adam, I got this,” Bell said. 

And yes he did. 

Bell passed Elliott for the lead on lap 260 and never trailed again on the way to winning the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

It was the first victory of the season for Bell, making him the 14th different Cup Series winner in 20 events in 2022. 

It was the second Cup Series victory overall for Bell, who got his first win in the Daytona road course event in February 2021.

“Man, that one was much-needed right there,” Bell said. “I’ll tell you what, that was a hell of a race from my viewpoint. That was so much fun racing with the [Kurt Busch, Joey Logano] and [Chase Elliott]. We were all running different lines. That was a blast.”

Bell was quick to make sure that nobody read too much into his cold response to his crew chief as any sort of disagreement between the two. 

“One thing I’ve always hated is when people give me laps counts,” Bell said. “… I don’t exactly remember what he said. Something along the lines of, we have 50 laps left to go, don’t burn yourself up. I’m like ‘Man, there’s still so much race left. I don’t need a reminder of how much longer there is to go.’ At that point in time I had a good idea where we were at in the race and how much longer we had to go on tires. I just wanted to let him know that I felt confident about what we had and it worked out.” 

Christopher Bell celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: ames Gilbert/Getty Images)

Said Stevens: “I think he understood that he was driving away and he just wanted his radio a little bit quieter.” 

It was a big sigh of relief for Bell’s team, one of four in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. The team had been the focus of attention for crew issues in recent weeks, which included an over the wall crew swap two weeks ago with Bubba Wallace’s 23XI crew. The victory virtually locks up a spot in the Cup Series playoffs for Bell. 

“Christopher, you know, we really in a lot of ways held him back during the year,” team owner Joe Gibbs said, making reference to crew issues that had plagued the team. “There’s things that happened where he could have won races. You love to see guy like that … fight through everything and win the race. … It says a lot about him and his team. … That car was not very good when we started the race. It says a lot about [Stevens] and the team. They kept fighting and in the end they got it going in the right direction.” 

Chase Elliott on pit road following the Ambetter 301 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Elliott ended up second. 

“I feel like just a poor run of execution on my end in the last run,’ Elliott said, “It took me a while to get past [Logano] and the [Busch] and I had to run harder than I wanted to. …  Just make a couple mistakes and couldn’t get much breathing room. … When you’re in position like we’ve been in, you need to finish it off.’’

Bubba Wallace was third, which marked his second podium finish of the season. He was second in the Daytona 500. 

Bubba Wallace talks with crew chief Bootie Barker following the Ambetter 301 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

“Just proud of the team, proud of myself and proud of everybody at the shop,’’ Wallace said. “It’s been hell for me the last month so good to come out with a top-five. This sport humbles you so there’s really no surprises. Have to keep the task at hand and be mindful of your surroundings and do your job.’’

Pole-winner Martin Truex, who dominated much of the event, was fourth. Kevin Harvick was fifth. 

Truex led 160 of the first 185 laps, winning the first and second stages. 

Martin Truex Jr. meets with the media on pit road following the Ambetter 301 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)
Christopher Bell celebrates with a burnout after winning the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images)

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 30th Annual Ambetter 301

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Loudon, New Hampshire

Sunday, July 17, 2022

                   1. (5)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 301.

                   2. (2)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 301.

                   3. (4)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 301.

                   4. (1)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 301.

                   5. (10)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 301.

                   6. (14)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 301.

                   7. (9)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 301.

                   8. (18)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 301.

                   9. (19)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 301.

                   10. (3)  Kurt Busch, Toyota, 301.

                   11. (6)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 301.

                   12. (17)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 301.

                   13. (28)  Austin Cindric #, Ford, 301.

                   14. (8)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 300.

                   15. (29)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 300.

                   16. (20)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 300.

                   17. (16)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 300.

                   18. (11)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 300.

                   19. (22)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 300.

                   20. (25)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 300.

                   21. (13)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 300.

                   22. (24)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 300.

                   23. (30)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 300.

                   24. (12)  Joey Logano, Ford, 300.

                   25. (26)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 300.

                   26. (31)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 300.

                   27. (23)  Cole Custer, Ford, 300.

                   28. (15)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 299.

                   29. (33)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 299.

                   30. (36)  Cody Ware, Ford, 297.

                   31. (7)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 282.

                   32. (21)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 88.

                   33. (35)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 5.

                   34. (34)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 5.

                   35. (27)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 4.

                   36. (32)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, Accident, 4.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  98.113 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 14 Mins, 45 Secs. Margin of Victory:  5.439 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 52 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Truex Jr. 1-95;J. Logano 96-120;M. Truex Jr. 121-188;H. Burton # 189-191;C. Briscoe 192-197;M. Truex Jr. 198-206;K. Busch 207-246;C. Elliott 247-259;C. Bell 260-301.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Martin Truex Jr. 3 times for 172 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 42 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 40 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 25 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 13 laps; Chase Briscoe 1 time for 6 laps; Harrison Burton # 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 19,23,5,9,4,20,45,10,24,11

Stage #2 Top Ten: 19,4,9,22,5,45,1,24,20,23

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