Kyle Larson looked to be the dominant car again at Homestead-Miami Speedway until he crashed. Christopher Bell got things right at the end of the 4EVER 400 to lock in the NASCAR Championship Four.
One year ago, Kyle Larson dominated this race in the Round of 8 and won, although he was not a playoff driver at that point in the 2022 season. When the green flag waived to start the second race in the Round of 8 this year, Kyle was a playoff driver and looked to be dominant again in the race. He took the lead for the first time on lap 54 and held it to win stage one of the race. He would be the leader for a total of 96 laps during the race, the most laps led by a driver all race.
However, coming to pit road on lap 214, Kyle had to swerve to avoid hitting Ryan Blaney’s car. The #5 car hit the sand barrels as a result. The damage his car sustained took Kyle out of the race early. Luckily for him, his win the previous week in Las Vegas already locked him in the Championship Four for a chance to win the 2023 title.
Some other playoff drivers also found calamity without the safety net of a win in the Round of 8. Denny Hamlin hit the wall on lap 236 resulting in him not finishing the race. Martin Truex Jr. left the race a lap later with engine failure.
Christopher Bell wasn’t having a great day most of the race. He seemed to be struggling some and had a poor pit stop that really put him behind. However, as the race was nearing the end he started moving toward the front. He made a pass for the lead with 16 laps remaining in the race. He was able to race out to a somewhat comfortable lead and hold it to win the race.
This was Christopher’s first career win in the Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was his first win in the 2023 Playoffs and his second win of the 2023 Cup Series season. Last year Christopher won the third race in the Round of 8 to make the Championship Four. This year he locked himself in the Championship Race at Phoenix a race earlier.
Playoff drivers Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick and William Byron finish in second, third and fourth places respectively. See the complete race results for the 4EVER 400 presented by Mobil 1 here.
William Byron is the leader in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series point standings which you can see here.
Christopher Bell moves to the top of the 2023 Playoff Outlook with his win. Kyle Larson is at number two. Both of them are locked in the Championship 4 with their wins. The remaining six drivers in the Round of 8 will have to battle for the final two spots in the Championship race next week. See the current 2023 NASCAR Playoff Outlook here.
The final race in the Round of 8 will take place at Martinsville Speedway. NASCAR Goes short trackin’ in the Xfinity 500 Sunday, October 29th.
By: Buck Stevens