NASCAR at New Hampshire 2022 Results: Christopher Bell Clinches Playoffs with Win

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2022

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JULY 17: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem/WATTS Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17, 2022 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Christopher Bell is heading to the playoffs.

Bell claimed the Ambetter 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, leaving behind the playoff bubble in the process.


"Welcome to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a>" <a href="https://t.co/xXdKnBNeN2">pic.twitter.com/xXdKnBNeN2</a>

Chase Elliott finished second, while Bubba Wallace, Martin Truex Jr.—who won the first two stages—and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five, in that order.

Bell was the 14th different winner after 20 races in the 2022 season.

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

What an incredible season NASCAR is having with all these different winners. Just insane. Can't remember anything like this. Points racing is on life support this year.

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

Seriously, think about this. Blaney is P3 in points and Truex is P4 and they have to be legit concerned about missing the playoffs! And only eight drivers in the series have more points than Harvick but it's looking like he'll miss without a win. Willllllllllllllllllllllllld. <a href="https://t.co/PeGL5plg2R">https://t.co/PeGL5plg2R</a>

And he was quick to credit his new pit crew for the victory.

"All the guys on the pit crew, it's only our second race working together," he said after the race. "It's all about the race team. The driver is just the name on TV and the radio. It's all about the team. Without them, I'm nobody."

That may be true, but to the winner goes the lobster:


Get <a href="https://twitter.com/CBellRacing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBellRacing</a> some BUTTER! 🧈 <br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/JoeGibbsRacing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JoeGibbsRacing</a> driver gets the lobster for winning at <a href="https://twitter.com/NHMS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHMS</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> <a href="https://t.co/AmfHAe1ejW">pic.twitter.com/AmfHAe1ejW</a>

"That one was much needed right there," Bell added on NBC's broadcast. "It was a hell of a race from my viewpoint. We were all running different lines. That was a blast."

While it was good vibes for Bell, that wasn't the case for many of the other drivers.

There was Truex, who dominated the first two stages before falling off after a two-tire pit. He couldn't quite catch up after that.

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Truex: I about spun out going into (Turn) 3 ... I don't know what is going on.

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Truex: "Won't go at all."

Then there was the bizarre confrontation between Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski during a caution. Dillon bumped Keselowski, and he responded by driving Dillon off the track:


This was a weird one. Frustrations boil over under caution for Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski in New Hampshire. <a href="https://t.co/KglUA3E1jv">pic.twitter.com/KglUA3E1jv</a>

And both Alex Bowman (Lap 6) and Corey LaJoie (Lap 90) saw their days end early after wrecks.


Early wreckers at <a href="https://twitter.com/NHMS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHMS</a>. <a href="https://t.co/fZaIidG1bk">pic.twitter.com/fZaIidG1bk</a>


"The rears just locked up when I down shifted."- Corey LaJoie <a href="https://t.co/4JmMiRY7Na">https://t.co/4JmMiRY7Na</a> <a href="https://t.co/EsB6kC2RAG">pic.twitter.com/EsB6kC2RAG</a>

It all served as the backdrop for Bell's huge win. Don't expect him to be complacent after securing his automatic playoff berth, though.

"I feel like we could've won a couple of them this year. We finally got one," he said. "Hopefully we've a couple more left."