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What went down in the NASCAR Cup Series USA Today 301 at New Hampshire

After a two-hour-plus rain delay due to rain, Christopher Bell swept the NASCAR race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday in the USA Today 301. Driving the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 20 Rheem Toyota, the 29-year-old Oklahoman led a race-high of 149 of the 305 laps and beat Chase Briscoe to the finish line by 1.104 seconds in overtime.

“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’ve won every time they have been on the car. Just a really cool weekend.”

This was Bell’s third win of the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season and the ninth of his NCS career.

Race Notes

  • After the extended rain delay, NASCAR elected to go with the wet weather tires to finish the race.
  • The average speed was 84.832 mph.
  • The margin of Victory was 1.104 seconds.
  • There were 14 caution flags for 85 laps, with six lead changes among five drivers. (Bell, Elliott, Gilliland, Hamlin, and Reddick)

What went down behind Bell

Briscoe and the No. 14 Zep Ford Mustang Dark Horse team finished second after running outside of the top 20 before the rain. This was Briscoe’s second top-five and sixth top-10 of the season.

“The rain definitely helped us,” said Briscoe. “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.”

Josh Berry and the No. 4 Miner Docks Doors & More Ford Mustang Dark Horse team finished third and also benefitted from the rain. This was Berry’s second top-five and fourth top-10 of the 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. That was a lot of fun honestly,” said Berry.

Kyle Larson, driving the No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM Camaro ZL1, finished fourth and captured his eighth top-five finish of the 2024 season.

Chris Buescher and the No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang Dark Horse team finished fifth. “Loudon has not been our best track,” Buscher said, “definitely not mine specifically. There was no quit in this Fastnal group today. It was awesome to come home with a top five. We were really good in the rain when it was wet.”

23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick was leading the race when the initial rain fell and ended up finishing in sixth place.

“It was a real shame we couldn’t find victory lane today in our SiriusXM Toyota Camry, but for us to take a risk and have a potential to win the race if it continued to rain and to turn that into a top-10 finish is good for our team. We will take the sixth place finish, and move on from it and get ready for the next one, but it was certainly an interesting day and a wild experience,” said Reddick

John Hunter Nemechek battled back from two laps down to finish in eighth place. “I’ll take eighth after the day we had,” Nemechek said. “I think we were stuck in 31st or 32nd pretty much all day, so solid finish for us and something that we needed. Hopefully, we can build some momentum off of this.”

Martin Truex Jr., who might have competed in his last race at New Hamshire, overcame a pit stop issue and an on-track incident to finish in ninth place.

“Definitely a tough day,” Truex explained. “We had a speed in our Reser’s Camry. It is a shame the way things worked out, but definitely happy to get a top-10. It has been a rough four weeks, so we needed a good finish. We had good stage points, and we needed a good finish; so glad that we got it, but it hurts to have a tough day here, probably being my last one.” said Truex.

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team started on the pole but finished 18th after an accident with Logano just before the red flag on lap 201. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates are now tied for the series standings.

Joey Logano had top-five finishes in the first two segments but finished 32nd after being involved in a multi-car incident with Elliott at the start of the final stage.

“Unfortunate end to our day after the speed we showed in the first two stages,” a disappointed Logano said. “I thought we had something to contend for the win but just didn’t pan out that way.”

Alex Bowman had engine woes on his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet early and finished 36th.

What’s Next

The NASCAR Cup Series will head to Nashville Superspeedway for the Ally 400 on Sunday, June 30, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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