HOMESTEAD, Fla — Christopher Bell is back in a familiar position for next Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway. It’s a must-win situation in the Round of 8 elimination race.
It’s a similar spot that he was in just three weeks ago as he rode into the Charlotte ROVAL 33 points below the cutline. He’d end up with a walkoff win and stamped his name into the third round of the postseason as a result.
Now, he’s back in that spot trailing the final spot to the Championship 4 by 33 points again. Can he pull off another miracle?
It could have all been avoided if his No. 20 Toyota was better handling during Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bell came into the day with high hopes coming off of a front row qualifying effort a day prior. However, he quickly faded and despite starting second, he had no stage points to show for it.
That caused him to call a Hail Mary in the final stage by pitting twice instead of once. However, bad luck struck with Ryan Blaney’s spin relegating Bell a lap down. He’d rebound to finish 11th but with being 34th last week, he’s going to have to win again to advance.
“I’m fine. I’m disappointed with our performance today, but at least that is in our hands,” Bell said. “Last week, I was emotional about it because it was out of our hands, and we were performing well. Today, it was in our hands, and we just didn’t step up to the bat and do what we needed to do. That was disappointing, but we will move to Martinsville. We ran well in the spring. I definitely feel better about winning there than I did at the Charlotte road course.”
Bell has three Top 8’s, two of which are Top 5’s, in four Truck Series starts at Martinsville and was seventh and 20th the last two April races in the Cup Series.