All four NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 contenders were looking very closely matched in Stage 2 of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race, but one of the four contenders will not make it to Stage 3 with a shot at the championship.
On Lap 109, Christopher Bell suffered a brake issue, which sent him hard into the outside wall in Turn 3. Here is a video of the incident that ended the day early for Bell:
Christopher Bell is eliminated from the #Championship4!
HUGE IMPACT into the wall.
📺 : NBC and Peacock pic.twitter.com/OmoZVTd6V8
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 5, 2023
Bell says that prior to the incident, he had some signs that there was a problem with the brakes on his race car, but he never expected what happened to happen.
“Well, that was my first time I’ve ever exploded a rotor in my career, so, yeah, I was surprised,” Bell explained. “Early on in the race I had a little bit of brake fade in the first run. In the second run, it just kept getting worse and worse.”
While his championship run ended in the Turn 3 wall on Sunday, there is still plenty for Bell and his No. 20 team to be proud of following a second consecutive Championship 4 appearance.
“Obviously, a disappointing way to end, but super, super proud of this No. 20 team,” Bell said. “All of our partners at DeWalt and Rheem, to be in the Championship 4 is something we’re really proud of.”
Bell will change out of his firesuit, and prepare to head back home for an offseason knowing he missed out on another opportunity at a championship. It’s the bitter nature of the racing game.
“It stings to not have the shot at the end of it,” Bell grimaced. “Obviously, we were all four really close, and we all four showed strengths at different times. I think it’s going to be a great championship race, and whoever it is, is going to be very deserving.”
The native of Norman, Oklahoma had two victories this season, which brings his career total in the NASCAR Cup Series to six, and he recorded 10 top-fives and 19 top-10 finishes this year.
Additionally, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver showed incredible skill in qualifying as he recorded six poles this season, including four of them in the Playoffs, which aided his path to the Championship 4.