Christopher Bell takes the checkered flag on rain tires in the NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire (2024)

LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Christopher Bell raised a broom over his head and clutched a 24-pound lobster in victory lane all because he earned his third Cup win of the season in an outcome that would have been impossible before this NASCAR season.

Heck, it still looked pretty grim for most of Sunday at a rainy track.

Once the skies cleared, NASCAR busted out its latest creation it had saved for a rainy day — wet weather Goodyear tires that allowed the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to continue all the way to a thrilling end.

Bell mastered the Cup Series’ first race that ended with cars running on rain tires and pulled away after a 2-hour, 15-minute weather delay to beat darkness and the field and win Sunday at New Hampshire.

He also swept the weekend at New Hampshire following Saturday’s win in the Xfinity Series.

“Hopefully that was entertaining because it was something different, something new, and nobody knew what to expect and what to do,” Bell said. “The guys that figured it out the quickest were the most successful.”

On Friday, Bell spoiled the reveal that Chase Briscoe is joining him at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2025. Then he ruined Briscoe’s best shot at his first win of the season, holding him off over the final two laps of the overtime finish.

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With darkness falling, Bell cruised past Josh Berry and Briscoe and remained the driver to beat at New Hampshire. He has four wins in the Xfinity Series at Loudon and won a Cup race at the track for a second time.

This time, he won with 86 laps raced on the new tires.

“It was dark. It was very, very dark. That was creeping up in a hurry to being too dark to race,” Bell said. “Certainly there were dry parts on the track, but there were still a lot of wet parts on the track, too. I can’t tell you how far away it was, but in my opinion I didn’t think it was ready for the dry tires yet.”

Bell was used to the rain — he won last month’s rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 with 151 laps left in the race.

New Hampshire actually needed four extra laps. Briscoe was second and Berry third. Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher completed the top five.

“I think we could have probably started with the track a little bit wetter,” Briscoe said. “The beginning was pretty fun. We were all over the place. Five wide at times and slipping and sliding around.”

Even with the start of the race bumped up a half-hour, New Hampshire was a mess about from the moment the green flag was dropped. The race was marred by wrecks that wiped some of NASCAR’s biggest stars out of contention — all while the rest of the field tried to remain in contention and beat the looming rain that hovered over the entire weekend.

Tyler Reddick, who won at Talladega this season, held the lead when the race was red-flagged because of rain with 82 laps left in the scheduled 301-lap race.

Fans fled the grandstands and drivers went back to their motorhomes with seemingly no chance of a return as the gloomy weather worsened. New Hampshire and NASCAR waited out a tornado watch, nearby lightning strikes and a severe thunderstorm warning before it could resume the race after a delay of more than 2 hours — and after crew members swept standing water off pit road — and cars all hit the 1.058-mile track on new tires.

NASCAR let teams use wet-weather tires for the only second time in a points race this season. Teams had a maximum of four sets of wet-weather tires to race on the damp oval track. Teams had to take rain tires during pit stops and their position could not be affected.

They also had no choice of tire.

They were also no match for Bell in his No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Oh, as for that spoiler that Briscoe was headed to JGR, Gibbs said all was forgiven.

“Somebody asked me about that in the winner’s circle, and I said, ‘Christopher Bell can do anything he wants,’” Gibbs said with a laugh.

Busch’s woes

Kyle Busch’s dismal day ended with his Chevy getting towed off the track.

Busch hit the wall running the caution laps to end his race and continue what is shaping up as the worst season of his Cup career. Busch had already tagged the wall just past the halfway point and was running 24th late in the race when he was collected in another wreck. He finished 35th in yet another rough outing this season driving for Richard Childress Racing.

A two-time Cup champion with 231 NASCAR wins, Busch has yet to win a race this season driving for RCR. Busch raised some eyebrows last week when he suggested he would be open to returning to two of his former Cup teams, though he said he remained committed to RCR next season.

The 39-year-old Busch is on a 39-race winless drought. It’s the worst losing streak of his career,

Spoiled races

Alex Bowman, winless this season for Hendrick Motorsports, ran into trouble when his No. 48 Chevrolet starting smoking. The hood went up on pit road and the car was soon pushed to the garage for repairs. He finished 36th.

Joey Logano locked up the left front tire on the No. 22 Ford off a restart on lap 194 and slammed into Chase Elliott. Martin Truex Jr., last season’s New Hampshire winner, spun and hit the wall after contact with Brad Keselowski with 91 laps left.

Bubba Wallace was knocked out of the race by Noah Gragson after the rain delay.

Proud to be an Americ

an

Daniel Suarez placed an American flag sticker on his Chevrolet days after he became a U.S. citizen. Suarez, a Monterrey, Mexico native, was one of 48 representing 28 countries sworn in this week at a ceremony in North Carolina.

Up next

NASCAR heads to Nashville Superspeedway next weekend. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain held off Truex to win last season’s race.

___

AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Christopher Bell takes the checkered flag on rain tires in the NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire (2024)

FAQs

What is the checkered flag in NASCAR? ›

In NASCAR and F1 events, a single chequered flag is waved to signal the completion of a race. In IndyCar, two chequered flags are waved together, a tradition dating to the 1980 Indianapolis 500, but only if the race is under green conditions.

What does Christopher Bell drive in NASCAR? ›

Christopher Bell drives the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. He owns nine career wins at the Cup level, most recently winning in June 2024 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He scored his first career win in 2021 at the Daytona International Speedway road course.

What is the green flag in NASCAR? ›

By 2028, NASCAR says it will introduce sustainable racing fuel, recycle at all events and use 100% renewable electricity at facilities and tracks it owns. By 2035, it aims to cut operating emissions to “net zero.”

Has NASCAR ever raced in the rain? ›

CHICAGO — Mother Nature decided to return for an encore performance for Sunday's Chicago Street Race. The NASCAR Cup Series returned to downtown Chicago for its second annual contest on the city streets and was met with rain literally moments after engines were fired to begin the Grant Park 165.

What does the checkered flag mean? ›

a flag having a pattern of black and white squares, used to signal that a car has crossed the finish line and completed its race. this signal indicating the first car to cross the finish line or the winner.

What does the green-white-checkered flag mean? ›

When it is determined that the track is clear for racing, the green flag is shown, indicating the restart. As the leader completes the first lap, the white flag is shown, signaling the final lap. As the leader completes the second lap, the checkered flag is shown, signaling the conclusion of the race.

Who is Christopher Bell sponsored by? ›

Christopher Bell's 2024 Rheem scheme. Image from Joe Gibbs Racing. DeWalt will sponsor Christopher Bell in 13 races during the 2024 season.

Who drove the go daddy car in NASCAR? ›

Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 15 in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Patrick Smith/NASC …

How much does a NASCAR driver make? ›

The reality of how much NASCAR drivers make
DriverYearly salary and earnings (millions)
Kyle Busch$16.9
Denny Hamlin$14.6
Kevin Harvick$13.6
Brad Keselowski$11.2
6 more rows

What is a black flag in NASCAR? ›

Black flag: Sometimes referred to as a "consultation flag," and is usually directed at a driver who NASCAR officials believes committed an on-track offense or cannot maintain a "consistent and competitive speed." Blue flag (solid): "Hard-to-see" problems ahead, but race continues under green flag conditions.

What does a black flag mean? ›

Black flags are often associated with funerals in the West, particularly state funerals and public mourning. In the former Yugoslavia, a plain black flag is the flag of mourning. It is displayed for 40 days after death on the deceased person's house.

What is the white flag in NASCAR? ›

WHITE FLAG (SOLID WHITE)

The solid white flag generally signals to drivers the start of the races final lap. It is used for this purpose in NASCAR and INDYCAR races, however, in other racing, the flag can also serve different meanings.

Do NASCAR drivers get hot? ›

NASCAR drivers have no air conditioning and spend hours on a hot racetrack behind a burning engine. Keeping race car drivers cool isn't an option, but making sure they don't overheat and consume enough calories is as close as they'll get if they want to win the championship.

Why doesn t NASCAR use rain tires? ›

But they aren't ideal; the rain tires use softer rubber, which will blister more quickly than the slicks.

Why is the finish line checkered? ›

Another theory involves the dawn of automobile racing. The dirt tracks generated a lot of dust from the vehicles, and a checkerboard-patterned flag was easier for the participants to see at the finish line compared to a one-color option.

What is the green-white-checkered rule in NASCAR? ›

NASCAR has branded green-white-checkered finishes as NASCAR Overtime. They are NASCAR's way to extend a race to ensure a chance at a green-flag finish. In theory, NASCAR OT is to allow for a natural finish to the race under green, or at least get to the final lap of the race under green.

What does NASCAR black flag mean? ›

Black flag: Sometimes referred to as a "consultation flag," and is usually directed at a driver who NASCAR officials believes committed an on-track offense or cannot maintain a "consistent and competitive speed." Blue flag (solid): "Hard-to-see" problems ahead, but race continues under green flag conditions.

When did NASCAR start green-white-checkered flag? ›

Camping World Truck Series (1995–2004) The NASCAR Camping World truck Series adopted a green-white-checkered flag rule initially during nationally televised 200-lap exhibition races at Tucson Raceway Park in Arizona. When the green flag is waved on the restart, there are two laps remaining in the race.

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