NASCAR at Martinsville 2022 Results: Christopher Bell Wins; Championship 4 Field Set

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 30, 2022

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 30: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Christopher Bell qualified for the Championship 4 of the NASCAR Cup Series with a victory Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in the Xfinity 500.

Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain will join him in battling for the points title.

Chastain narrowly qualified after edging out Denny Hamlin to the last championship berth, and he left fans at a loss for words because of the tactic he deployed to secure a fifth-place finish.

The 29-year-old put his foot on the gas and used the outer wall to guide him around the track.


UNBELIEVABLE!<a href="https://twitter.com/RossChastain?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RossChastain</a> floors it along the wall to go from 10th to 5th and advance to the CHAMPIONSHIP! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/9qX3eq7T6h">pic.twitter.com/9qX3eq7T6h</a>

No matter how the season ends for Chastain, this will become the stuff of NASCAR legend.

Marty Smith @MartySmithESPN

That was one of the craftiest, savviest moves auto racing has ever seen by Ross Chastain. <br>I mean. Just holy smokes.

Steve Luvender @steveluvender

ROSS CHASTAIN JUST DID THE IRACING WALL RIDE TO ADVANCE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Xfinity500?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Xfinity500</a> <a href="https://t.co/iyCAeVALhD">pic.twitter.com/iyCAeVALhD</a>

nascarcasm @nascarcasm

Ross Chastain getting the kind of applause you get when you leap 60 school buses on a Vespa

Mike Davis @MikeDavis88

My God that was the sickest move I have ever seen. That is not an overstatement. Ross Chastain just did that.

Entering Sunday, three of the four championship round spots remained up for grabs. Joey Logano guaranteed himself a place in the next round with a win in the South Point 400 on Oct. 16. Kyle Larson's victory the following week meant nothing else was settled.

Hamlin and Elliott banked valuable points by placing first and second, respectively, in the first two stages of the race. Heading into the final stage, they were both on pace to qualify for the Championship 4.

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

after stage 2, unofficial points, not including projected points based on where they are currently running: Logano-in, Elliott +24, Chastain +18, Hamlin +15, Byron -15, Blaney -25, Bell-must win, Briscoe-must win

Neither could afford to rest on his laurels, though, especially with Bell making his way to the top of the field. Ryan Blaney was looking to play the role of spoiler as well. In need of a win to advance, he was running behind Bell deep into the final stage.

Whether Bell or Blaney led the field, Chastain found himself as the odd man out in both scenarios.

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

Ross Chastain has his work cut out for him. Right now the lowest-running playoff driver after such a great season. Looked like he was sailing toward a final four berth. Needs to make something happen with 40 to go and the top two cars both with the ability to knock him out.

Many of the top contenders used a caution in the late stages as an opportunity to head to pit road. When the race resumed with 23 laps remaining, Chase Briscoe had climbed into first place, and Chastain overtook Hamlin.

It didn't take long for Hamlin to not only pass Chastain but also open a wide enough gap for him to reclaim fourth place in the playoff standings.

As that was unfolding, Briscoe was in a tense battle with Bell and Brad Keselowski to hold on to first. The pit stops proved pivotal as Bell had the better car and fresher tires down the stretch. With four laps remaining, he passed Briscoe and surged ahead to remove any drama in the final outcome.

Hamlin might have thought he was coasting to the result he required, too, only to see his title hopes evaporate in a matter of moments.

In the end, it was a straightforward win for Bell, and Chastain delivered the moment that's likely to be remembered the most.

The NASCAR Cup Series will end its 2022 season at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, on Nov. 6.