Christopher Bell is headed to the round of eight in the NASCAR playoffs.
Bell secured his spot with a dramatic victory in Sunday's Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race went to overtime following a lengthy red flag near the end, and he outmaneuvered the field and earned the win he needed to advance.
CHECKERED FLAG: HE NEEDED A WIN! HE GOT IT!<a href="https://twitter.com/CBellRacing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBellRacing</a> wins on the ROVAL to advance to the Round of 8! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/Gvai3ac7Zn">pic.twitter.com/Gvai3ac7Zn</a>
His win wasn't the only drama, as Kyle Larson was among those eliminated as the field of eight was set:
The biggest storyline heading into Sunday's race at the twisty course was whether Chase Elliott would maintain his momentum after clinching his spot in the round of eight with last week's win at Talladega Superspeedway.
He also won two of the previous four races at the Charlotte road course and was the driver to beat heading into the final event of the round of 12.
Yet it was Joey Logano and Ross Chastain who made headlines in the first two stages.
Logano led all 25 laps in dominant fashion in the opening stage, clinching the playoff point that comes with it. And Chastain was forced to go to the rear before the race began because of unapproved adjustments for repairs but rallied back to win the second stage and the corresponding playoff point.
STAGE WINNER: <a href="https://twitter.com/joeylogano?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@joeylogano</a> dominates the opening stage at <a href="https://twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CLTMotorSpdwy</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BofAROVAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BofAROVAL</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/dWSyVat4UJ">pic.twitter.com/dWSyVat4UJ</a>
The drama came in Stage 3.
First, Corey LaJoie made contact with Chase Briscoe, and then Daniel Suárez tumbled down the standings as he battled on the fringe of the cut line as he experienced power steering problems.
It was a difficult break for Suárez at a key moment, bringing the pressure of the elimination race into focus, and he pitted in an effort to fix the issue before the final push. He also ended up making contact with LaJoie, underscoring the steering issues.
Chastain also went to the garage for repair work at a critical time as he attempted to remain ahead of the cut line, while Larson pitted in need of repairs.
As if that wasn't enough chaos, Elliott spun out in the final stretch after a restart and opened the door for Harvick to seize the lead in dramatic fashion.
Kelly Crandall @KellyCrandall
AJ Allmendinger muscled Chase Elliott out of the lead. Kevin Harvick moved Allmendinger out of the lead. Tyler Reddick hit Elliott and sent 9 spinning. Chase Briscoe got spun in the chicane. Erik Jones, William Byron, Joey Logano also had issues back there. <br><br>That was one lap
It was the shake-up Bell needed to make a move, and he took full advantage in the overtime.