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Christopher Bell Rips The Cushion to Win Food City Dirt Race at Bristol

Christopher Bell ripped the cushion in the final stage of Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race, capturing his first victory of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. PC: Christopher Fisher |

It took three years, but the Food City Dirt Race has finally been won by a driver with a background in dirt racing, that being three-time Chili Bowl Nationals winner Christopher Bell.

Leading the final 100 laps of Sunday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bell and Joe Gibbs Racing utilized a strategy decision to inherit the lead from Tyler Reddick, who fought his fellow Toyota driver down to the final laps of the event.

In fact, Reddick actually appeared to be faster than Bell in the closing laps of the event and was within striking distance of making a last-corner move for the victory, but had his opportunity thwarted by a major accident on the final lap of Sunday’s race.

The accident, which included a major impact to the inside wall to Ross Chastain, ultimately ended the race about a half-lap early, allowing Bell to take the victory, his fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Tyler Reddick came home in second place, scoring his fourth top-five finish in the five races, after a dismal start to the year. Austin Dillon scored an impressive third-place finish, after running inside the top five for much of the race.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., the winner of the 2023 Daytona 500, appeared late in the event, to score a finish of fourth place. Meanwhile, Chase Briscoe scored a top-five finish, despite suffering a broken finger on Thursday.

However, Sunday’s eighth NASCAR Cup Series event of the season featured several caution flags, 14 to be exact, in what was a race plagued with single-car spins, and multi-car incidents.

Justin Haley earned a sixth-place finish, a much-needed good result for Kaulig Racing, after a tough season for the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro. Martin Truex, Jr. – who won the inaugural NASCAR Truck Series event at Bristol on the Dirt – finished in seventh.

Recording an eighth-place result, Todd Gilliland picked up a second top-10 finish for Front Row Motorsports, driving the No. 38 Ford Mustang. Kevin Harvick and Ty Gibbs completed the top-10.

RELATED: Official Food City Dirt Race Results

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Race Results

Leaving Bristol, Christopher Bell takes over the points lead in the NASCAR Cup Series by 13 points over Ross Chastain, who finished 28th on the evening. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Tyler Reddick completed the top-five in standings.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is the half-mile paperclip of Martinsville Speedway, where tempers are guaranteed to flare with some full-contact racing, and the third event for NASCAR’s brand-new short track aero package.

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