NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR playoffs: Bell wins Xfinity 500; Championship field set

October 30

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 concluded Sunday with Christopher Bell securing the win in the Xfinity 500 in Virginia.

It was the ninth race of a 10-week stretch of competition that ends in Arizona in November, when just four drivers — Bell, Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain and Joey Logano — will compete in the highly anticipated NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.

The eight drivers who were part of the playoff field in Sunday's race included Bell, Logano, Chastain, Elliott, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe, with the latter four getting eliminated.

Here are the top moments from Martinsville Speedway:

Bumper cars!

Pole-winner Larson jumped out to the early lead, while Elliott was racing side-by-side for second with Blaney.

Briscoe put the bumper to Blaney to take third, while Larson put his bumper to the lapped car of Ty Dillon.

Follow the leader

Meanwhile, Elliott was able to get a nose on Larson and take his first lead of the race.

Battling early

Elliott and Hamlin were side-by-side for the lead with 10 to go in Stage 1. Hamlin was able to complete the pass and take the first stage win, but Byron got back on the lead lap for the ensuing run.

Misfortune strikes

Briscoe earned six points in Stage 1, but he was penalized for removing equipment from his pit stall, and the pit road penalty cost him his track position, dropping him from what would have been the fourth spot.

Hamlin takes charge

The green flag was back out on Lap 140, and Hamlin jumped out to a car-length lead on Elliott.

Then, as the second stage continued, Hamlin ran down Briscoe and Byron, putting both drivers one lap down.

Messy

Chastain got loose on Turn 3 of Lap 274, bumping into Brad Keselowski. The latter spun out of control to trigger a caution. Austin Dillon then ran into the wall on Turn 3 of Lap 320 after a brake failure.

New leader!

Bell took the lead on Lap 324 after Hamlin led for 202 consecutive laps.

Blaney making a push

The No. 12 car had an efficient pit stop after a caution on Lap 394, putting him in second place.

Caution alters the leaderboard

Landon Cassill went into the wall on Lap 467, leading to a pit stop that shook up the leaderboard. 

In the aftermath of it all, Briscoe, who stayed out, took the lead.

Unreal finish!

Despite the late chaos, Bell got the lead back and held on for the win.

Chastain deliberately ran into and rubbed his car up against the wall on Turn 3 of the final lap, floored it and passed five cars to finish fifth and advance to the Round of Championship 4. 

Yes, you read that correctly.


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