Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain Claim Cup Sereis Championship 4 Spots In Unbelievable Martinsville Finish

Christopher Bell celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

What Did You Think Of Ross Chastain’s Last Lap Move? Click Here To Vote In Our Poll

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Christopher Bell had another miracle in his pocket, but Ross Chastain stole the show with a scarcely believable video-game move in the final corners of the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. 

For the second time in as many rounds in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, Bell won a race he had to win. After beating pole winner Kyle Larson to the finish line by .869 seconds, Bell will race for the series title next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. 

“Mom and dad, we did it—wow,” an emotional Bell said after the race. “I can’t believe it, man. To come here in Martinsville, this place has always been so tough on me. Just pre-race looking up, seeing all the fans, this place is packed… I don’t even know what to say.

“Man, I say it all the time, but the driver is just a small piece of the puzzle for these races. The reason why this car won today is because it was the best car on the race track. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens… this entire 20 group, they just never give up. When our back is against the wall, looks like it’s over, they show up and give me the fastest car out here.”

The victory was Bell’s third of the season and his second in a must-win situation. On Oct. 9, he won the Bank of America ROVAL 500 at Charlotte to stave off elimination from the Playoffs. 

But it was Chastain who added most significantly to the lore of the historic .526-mile short track with a shocking trip around Turns 3 and 4 that knocked veteran Denny Hamlin out of the Playoffs. 

Running 10th and facing elimination on the last lap, Chastain pinned his No. 1 Chevrolet to the outside wall entering Turn 3, kept his throttle open and rocketed around the fence as if he had just ignited an afterburner. 

The amazing move carried Chastain past Hamlin into fifth place and into the Championship 4. Chastain completed the final lap in 18.845 seconds, .864 seconds faster than Larson’s pole-winning time. 

“I made the choice, grabbed fifth gear down the back,” Chastain said. “Fully committed. Basically let go of the wheel, hoping I didn’t catch the Turn 4 access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it. 

“I just cannot believe that we have a chance to go fight for a championship. All we ask for is a chance. We kept our world small this year so far. We’ll do the same thing going to Phoenix.” 

Chase Elliott came home 11th and secured a Championship 4 berth by four points over Hamlin, the same margin Chastain enjoyed. Elliott, Chastain, Bell and Las Vegas winner Joey Logano will race for the series championship at Phoenix. 

Tenth-place finisher Chase Briscoe was eliminated from the Playoffs, but not for lack of effort. Briscoe stayed out on old tires during the final caution and restarted in the lead with 24 laps left. But Briscoe gave up the top spot to Bell, who had pitted for four fresh tires, on Lap 496 of 500.

“Yeah, we were obviously on a lot older tires there,” Briscoe said. “Thought there for a little bit I was going to be OK. I just fell off a cliff pretty hard. I should have used the wall. Pretty good deal to use there.” 

Also ousted from the Playoffs were William Byron, who couldn’t overcome a 25th-place starting position, and Ryan Blaney, who finished third but couldn’t overcome a deep points deficit entering the race. 

The Hendrick Motorsports duo of Larson and Elliott dominated the early going. Larson led the first 68 laps before Elliott passed him for the top spot in traffic and stayed out front for the next 52 laps. 

But Hamlin, who had started 11th, drove through the top 10 and took the lead on Lap 121, with nine laps left in the first stage. Hamlin stayed at the point for 203 laps, winning the first two stages. He didn’t relinquish the lead until Bell won the race off pit road on Lap 276, under caution for Austin Dillon’s hard crash into the Turn 4 wall three laps earlier.

Hamlin lost positions on three consecutive pit stops in the final stage of the race. He restarted 13th, one spot behind Chastain, after a 14.5-second stop under caution on Lap 470.  

Hamlin advanced to fifth and had the final Championship 4 spot in hand until Chastain rocketed around the wall through the final corners.

“You got to execute all day,” Hamlin said. “We just didn’t control the race when we had control of it. Each caution we just kept losing some spots. That’s the way it is.”

Brad Keselowski, who, like Larson, took right-side tires only on his final pit stop, came home fourth, getting a bump from Chastain at the finish line. Hamlin was sixth, followed by Logano, Byron and Bubba Wallace.  

What Did You Think Of Ross Chastain’s Last Lap Move? Click Here To Vote In Our Poll

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 74th Annual Xfinity 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, October 30, 2022

                1. (20)  Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 500.

                2. (1)  Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, 500.

                3. (4)  Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 500.

                4. (6)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500.

                5. (9)  Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 500.

                6. (11)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 500.

                7. (12)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 500.

                8. (25)  William Byron (P), Chevrolet, 500.

                9. (24)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 500.

                10. (3)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 500.

                11. (2)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 500.

                12. (10)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 500.

                13. (7)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 500.

                14. (19)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 500.

                15. (5)  Cole Custer, Ford, 500.

                16. (15)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.

                17. (8)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500.

                18. (13)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 500.

                19. (23)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 498.

                20. (26)  Ty Gibbs(i), Toyota, 498.

                21. (27)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 498.

                22. (14)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 498.

                23. (31)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 498.

                24. (21)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 498.

                25. (22)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 497.

                26. (17)  Noah Gragson(i), Chevrolet, 497.

                27. (30)  Austin Cindric #, Ford, 497.

                28. (29)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 497.

                29. (36)  Cody Ware, Ford, 495.

                30. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 494.

                31. (35)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 488.

                32. (32)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Brakes, 466.

                33. (33)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 460.

                34. (16)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 316.

                35. (34)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, Fire, 225.

                36. (28)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Accident, 188.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  77.239 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 24 Mins, 18 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.869 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 53 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson (P) 1-68;C. Elliott (P) 69-120;D. Hamlin (P) 121-323;C. Bell (P) 324-395;C. Elliott (P) 396;C. Bell (P) 397-469;C. Elliott (P) 470;C. Briscoe (P) 471-495;C. Bell (P) 496-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Denny Hamlin (P) 1 time for 203 laps; Christopher Bell (P) 3 times for 150 laps; Kyle Larson (P) 1 time for 68 laps; Chase Elliott (P) 3 times for 54 laps; Chase Briscoe (P) 1 time for 25 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,9,41,5,14,6,20,12,1,99

Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,9,5,41,20,12,6,22,1,99


  1. Ross Chastain put a new definition to the term “Ripping the boards” that was awesome.

  2. That was the craziest last lap desperato haul the mail move I’ve ever seen! It looked like a cartoon! Thank goodness it went right, because it could have went horribly wrong.
    So now, does this open the door to more of this?
    Does nascar do a new “rule” on last lap “somethings”? I dont think this is the end of it.
    On another note, it probably took away some shines and accolades to the 20 team.
    What they did yesterday after being win to in, in the last rounds it was improbable, and impressive at the same time. How they kept over coming in all the playoff rounds. The guy on the 20 box is one hell of a crew chief, not to take nothing away from the team. It was a fun watch.

  3. Yes, bong, it probably did steal the limelight from C Bell, but what a move. Of course Bell deserves allot of alcaldes for what he accomplished. Give him a sniff at victory and chances are he wins. I think Bell is among the top 5 drivers in the field, even though his stats don’t show it. Both men were desperate to advance and both did in radically different manners. And I agree, Ross’s move could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t and he’s now racing for a championship.

  4. Rob P
    I cant disagree that he did what it took.
    Wow, who would have ever saw that coming!
    Gave his brother Chad kudos in the post race interview for the video games they played together, that he drew inspiration from, for his last lap! Cant make that stuff up!

  5. Chastain’s move tops everything Dale Earnhardt, Petty, or anyone in the long history of cup racing has ever done. He is now officially a legend. How could that be topped? All owners of cup cars your driver just doesn’t have the same will to win that Chastain has.

  6. That was one for the ages…

    It could have gone bad, but so could nearly every other crazy motorsports move through history that worked. From a favorite movie of mine, “The Waterboy”, you can’t hold anything back now!

    In any sport, the Hail Mary will always include a possibly extremely negative result, but if it works, you’re a historic hero!

  7. David Fisher says

    The pass in the grass is no longer the go-to heroic move. Balls to the wall takes over as the number 1 Cup move ever.

  8. Rich, your right about Ross’s drive to win. He’s aggressive, but every driver is from time to time. The difference is Ross has that aggressiveness full time. He has good car control, and gets every drop of performance from his car. Sometimes his aggressiveness gets him in trouble, but the guy drives the car 100% every single lap. He’s the type of driver, that if I were a sponsor or owner, I’d want him in the seat.

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