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USA Today 301: Christopher Bell Sweeps New Hampshire Weekend


Christopher Bell celebrates in Victory Lane at New Hampshire.
Christopher Bell surely enjoyed plenty of lobster in Loudon. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman | Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. - Christopher Bell swept the weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after winning both NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series races in the Granite State while driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in each event.


In Sunday's USA Today 301, Bell earned his third Cup Series victory of the 2024 season. On Saturday, he was victorious in the SciAps 200, holding off Sheldon Creed in the Xfinity Series race.


After NASCAR initially moved the Cup race up to beat the rain, the rain still reached the track with 82 laps to go in the 301-lap race. However, due to having wet weather tires on hand and almost two hours of daylight remaining, officials decided to continue the race.


This worked out in favor of Stage 1 winner Bell, who got the lead and held the field off for the rest of the race. Bell led 149 of 305 laps at the 1.058-mile flat track.


"I love this place, it is absolutely amazing," Bell said. "This place – I don’t know – it has been special to me since we came here for that late model race back in, I think, 2015. This one was different though. Rain tires, the track was really slippery – it was just so much fun out there in those adverse conditions, the track was changing around so much.


"That was one, a lot of fun, and I’m really happy for our partners – Rheem, Toyota, DEWALT. We have Watts on the car again. I think we, we’ve won every time they have been on the car. Just a really cool weekend."


Chase Briscoe, who was running in the mid-20s and fighting to stay on the lead lap earlier in the race, managed to use the wet weather tires to his advantage to finish second. Just one spot behind his heavily rumored future JGR teammate Bell.


During a media session on Friday afternoon, Bell accidentally said that Briscoe was taking over the No. 19 Toyota in 2025.

"What a whirlwind," Briscoe said. "Two hours ago, we couldn’t even run 25th. The rain saved us. Just an awesome recovery for our Zep Ford. I always joke that this is one of my worst race tracks so to run second is kind of surprising, to be honest with you. The rain definitely helped us. If it wasn’t for the rain we were going to literally run 24th probably.


"We had a couple of good restarts and the guys did a good job of understanding the rain balance. I think we learned a lot when we did it at Richmond. We needed a good turnaround day and it definitely didn’t start that way but I am glad that it ended up that way for sure."


Briscoe's current teammate Josh Berry fought hard all day and came home in third. Berry is essentially "auditioning" for a ride in 2025, due to Stewart-Haas Racing ceasing operations at the end of the 2024 season.


"We were 20th when it was raining and then we threw some rain tires on it and did what I knew we could do and moved all the way up there," Berry said. "That was a lot of fun honestly. I am going to think back to a million things I could have done differently there but the bottom was just so hard to get going through one and two. I feel like if I could have just cleared the 14, I was kind of inching in on Bell before the final caution.


"I just got a little loose off of two and that let Chase get back to my left rear and we got stuck racing each other. I don't know. I wanted to take the front row there so bad at the end there, but I just felt like we were making the right decision based on the track conditions, it just didn’t work out."


Results from the 2024 USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are listed below:

2024 USA Today 301 Results.

Other Race Facts

Toyota seemed to be the dominant manufacturer during the NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with four drivers finishing inside the top 10 (Christopher Bell: first, Tyler Reddick: sixth, John Hunter Nemechek: eighth, Martin Truex Jr.: ninth).


This marked the first time in Bell's Cup Series career that he won at a track he already won at previously. Bell now has nine Cup wins at eight different tracks.


Todd Gilliland had one of the most impressive days in his Cup career as he ended up 12th in his No. 38 Grillo's Pickles Ford. Gilliland was fourth when the rain delay began but managed to stay up near the front, leading 19 laps before ending up just outside the top 10.


According to statistician Trey Ryan, this was also Gilliland's seventh consecutive top-20, which is the longest run of top-20 finishes ever by a Front Row Motorsports driver.


GRID Ranking

The 2024 GRID Ranking is the eighth year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 7.


The official ranking includes drivers that participate in seven racing series (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP), and each driver earns GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding in the GRID Ranking.

DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

Kyle Larson

12.24

18th

4th

12.54

17th

William Byron

13.05

15th

26th

12.28

T-19th

Christopher Bell

10.80

24th

1st

12.28

T-19th

Denny Hamlin

11.61

21st

24th

10.93

23rd

Brad Keselowski

11.34

22nd

28th

10.67

24th

Week 12 of the GRID Ranking:

Christopher Bell's fifth straight top-10 finish helps him move up in the NASCAR GRID Rating from fifth to third.


The next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 30. Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.


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