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Race report

NASCAR Cup Phoenix: Bell cruises to win for Toyota, ending Chevrolet streak

In a turnaround from his performance in last year's NASCAR Cup championship-decider, Christopher Bell cruised to victory at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday to end Toyota’s frustration at the one-mile oval.

Bell, who advanced to the Championship 4 last season with a chance to win the series title at Phoenix, blew a brake rotor early in the race and never was in the fight.

But this time around Joe Gibbs Racing driver Bell rallied to win Stage 2, then drove from 20th to first after the final pit stop and easily held off Chris Buescher (RFK Ford) by 5.465 seconds to earn his first win of 2024.

The win snaps Chevrolet’s three-race winning streak to start the season and gives Toyota a victory at a track where it had led a total of 15 laps in the previous four races. Bell led twice on Sunday for a total of 50 laps.

Bell was among a group of cars that elected to pit on lap 218 of 312, during what turned out to be the final caution of the race.

The top nine all gambled on staying out but Bell, on four new tyres and with plenty of fuel, reclaimed the lead when Martin Truex Jr. was forced to pit for fuel and led the final 41 laps.

Bell’s JGR team-mate Ty Gibbs ended up third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Ryan Blaney fifth. Completing the top 10 were Ross Chastain, Truex, Michael McDowell, Chase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick.

Bell said: "You don't get cars like that very often. Just super, super proud. Proud to be on this #20 car. 
"This car was amazing today. I feel like we have the capability of running races like this a lot. Hopefully, this is the first of many this year."
Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry

Race winner Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry

Photo by: Mike Meajhws / NKP / Motorsport Images

Reddick had made the early running in Stage 1, passing Gibbs with three of 60 laps to go. But Bell turned the tables in Stage 2, passing Reddick with four of 125 laps remaining to secure his first stage victory of the 2024 season. Denny Hamlin ended up third, William Byron was fourth and Truex rounded out the top five.

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all the lead lap cars elected to pit with Hamlin first off pit road. But Bell had a slow stop and lined up 10th for the restart, as Hamlin led Reddick and Byron with 118 laps remaining.

Just after Reddick passed Hamlin for the lead on lap 203, Joey Logano got turned by John Hunter Nemechek entering Turn 1, which triggered a five-car accident that placed the race under caution.

A handful of cars pitted, but Reddick remained on the track and in the lead on the restart with 100 laps to go. Two laps after the restart, Hamlin got loose on the inside racing for the lead with Reddick off Turn 2 and spun around to bring out another caution.

Several drivers pitted, but Truex remained on the track and led the way when the race went back to green with 92 laps remaining. With 60 laps to go, Truex maintained a sizeable advantage out front but Gibbs – who came in under the previous caution for two new tires – had moved to second after restarting in 10th.

Nine laps later, Bell, who stopped for four new tires on his previous stop, got around Gibbs to take second. Truex was forced to pit for fuel with 40 laps to go, which handed the race lead over Bell, who had enough fuel to make it to end of the race.

Buescher passed Gibbs to move into second with 10 laps remaining.

NASCAR Cup Phoenix Race Results

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL PITS POINTS
1 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 312

3:00'45.508

  6 50
2 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 312

+5.465

3:00'50.973

5.465 8 36
3
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 312

+6.032

3:00'51.540

0.567 7 43
4 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 312

+9.243

3:00'54.751

3.211 7 35
5 R. BlaneyTEAM PENSKE 12 Ford 312

+9.448

3:00'54.956

0.205 7 41
6 R. ChastainTRACKHOUSE RACING 1 Chevrolet 312

+9.499

3:00'55.007

0.051 7 31
7 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 312

+13.150

3:00'58.658

3.651 7 37
8 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 312

+14.619

3:01'00.127

1.469 7 32
9 C. BriscoeSTEWART-HAAS RACING 14 Ford 312

+14.876

3:01'00.384

0.257 7 30
10 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 312

+15.348

3:01'00.856

0.472 7 46
11 D. HamlinJOE GIBBS RACING 11 Toyota 312

+15.812

3:01'01.320

0.464 7 42
12 N. GragsonSTEWART-HAAS RACING 10 Ford 312

+15.844

3:01'01.352

0.032 7 28
13 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 312

+16.817

3:01'02.325

0.973 8 24
14 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 312

+17.342

3:01'02.850

0.525 9 23
15
C. HocevarSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
77 Chevrolet 312

+19.060

3:01'04.568

1.718 9 22
16 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 312

+19.398

3:01'04.906

0.338 7 21
17 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 312

+20.569

3:01'06.077

1.171 7 20
18 W. ByronHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 24 Chevrolet 312

+21.295

3:01'06.803

0.726 7 31
19 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 312

+22.966

3:01'08.474

1.671 7 28
20 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 312

+23.290

3:01'08.798

0.324 7 17
21 R. Stenhouse JrJTG DAUGHERTY RACING 47 Chevrolet 312

+28.854

3:01'14.362

5.564 7 16
22 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 311

+1 Lap

3:00'49.125

1 Lap 9 15
23 R. PreeceSTEWART-HAAS RACING 41 Ford 311

+1 Lap

3:00'52.153

3.028 9 14
24 J. HaleyRICK WARE RACING 51 Ford 311

+1 Lap

3:01'12.752

20.599 8 13
25 J. NemechekLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 42 Toyota 311

+1 Lap

3:01'14.829

2.077 7 12
26 J. BerrySTEWART-HAAS RACING 4 Ford 310

+2 Laps

3:00'45.895

1 Lap 8 11
27 H. BurtonWOOD BROTHERS RACING 21 Ford 310

+2 Laps

3:00'46.135

0.240 10 10
28 D. HemricKAULIG RACING 31 Chevrolet 310

+2 Laps

3:01'11.747

25.612 8 9
29
Z. SmithSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
71 Chevrolet 309

+3 Laps

3:00'46.389

1 Lap 8 8
30 K. GralaRICK WARE RACING 15 Ford 309

+3 Laps

3:00'54.238

7.849 9 7
31 E. JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 43 Toyota 305

+7 Laps

3:01'16.173

4 Laps 9 13
32 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 304

+8 Laps

3:01'01.268

1 Lap 12 5
33 C. LajoieSPIRE MOTORSPORTS 7 Chevrolet 204

+108 Laps

1:59'26.059

100 Laps 8 4
34 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 203

+109 Laps

1:59'25.769

1 Lap 6 3
35 D. KrausKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 203

+109 Laps

1:59'25.921

0.152 7 2
36 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 6

+306 Laps

3'06.606

197 Laps 3 1

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