Christopher Bell was in a “must win” scenario in the NASCAR Playoff heading to the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.
The race at the track that is part road course and part oval (thus named the ROVAL) was the elimination race for the Round of Twelve in the 2022 NASCAR post-season. Alex Bowman would not be racing again due to a concussion and therefore would be one of the four drivers eliminated from championship contention following the race. What three drivers would join him was in question when the race started.
Joey Logano started the race from the pole and led every lap in Stage One of the race to claim the win in the stage. Ross Chastain was the winner in Stage Two. The only cautions in the first two stages of the race were for the conclusion of the stages. It appeared it would be a contest of race strategy to win. In fact, the race would make it through 105 laps before a caution for something other than the end of the stages would be issued.
As the race was nearing the end, it appeared that the strategy of Christopher Bell and his team was going to give him a chance to get the win he needed to advance in the NASCAR Playoffs. He pitted to get fresh tires on when the caution came on lap 105 of the race. When the race was re-started, he was able to race up to the second-place position before another caution was issued. This caution would send the race to the NASCAR overtime of a green-white-checkered finish.
When the race was again re-started many cars were spinning behind race leader Kevin Harvick and Christopher Bell in second place. However, when wrecks happen on road courses and the cars can get rolling again, no cautions are issued. This allowed Christopher Bell to keep racing and pass Kevin Harvick for the lead.
Christopher was able to hold that lead through the final lap and claim his first win on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. It was his second win in the 2022 season and third career win in NASCAR’s top division. It also advances him to the Round of Eight in the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs. No other playoff driver other than Christopher finished in the top five.
Kevin Harvick finished in the runner-up position. Kyle Busch claimed third-place. AJ Almendinger finished in fourth-place. Justin Haley rounded out the top five. See the complete race results for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 here.
The drivers eliminated from the 2022 NASCAR playoffs were Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric and defending 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Larson. See the complete 2022 NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The Round of Eight starts this week with the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, October 16th.
By: Buck Stevens