Christopher Bell wins on wet track in New Hampshire

Already winner in Xfinity (second division) on Saturday, Christopher Bell (Gibbs) won this Sunday after a very unconventional end to the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Published on 24/06/2024 à 08:00

Michael Duforest

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Christopher Bell wins on wet track in New Hampshire

©NASCAR Media

By simply reading the results sheet, the famous “box score” of our American friends, it is difficult to understand the strangeness of the end of the race in Loudon, New Hampshire! Christopher Bell indeed won after an “overtime” procedure, very usual in NASCAR Cup Series. But the last 86 laps were completed on a wet track, and with the obligation to put on wet tires! The fault was a downpour, which fell after the 219th lap of the event, when Tyler Reddick (23XI) was in control of the race.

Just as NASCAR seemed close to waving the checkered flag and confirming the result, the rain stopped, and hope could be reborn. A hope helped by the new Cup Series regulations, which authorize races to start or resume on a wet track on certain short ovals, including the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1,6 km). Thanks to the rain tires brought by Goodyear in such a situation, the drying process is much accelerated, the circuit teams simply having to ensure that the track is “passable”, and not completely dry.

Shipwreck for some, opportunity for others

This is how the event was restarted after several laps under neutralization... and not without two accidents even before the green flag! Kyle Busch (Childress) hit the wall between turns 3 and 4, while Corey LaJoie (Spire) simply spun. Very quickly after the raise, the cards were redistributed. Chase Elliott (Hendrick) and Denny Hamlin (Gibbs), who had each led more than 40 laps, sank on a slippery track, where the Stewart-Haas Racing, Chase Briscoe and Josh Berry, were much more comfortable, finishing second and third.

Same thing for the astonishing Justin Haley (Rick Ware), who was in the top 5 for a long time before losing numerous positions in the last laps, following problems with his front splitter. However, no one was able to compete with Christopher Bell, ultimately leader for 149 of the 305 laps covered. The young American did not tremble during the restart with two laps remaining, following the exit of Brad Keselowski.

Ultimately, what we will remember from this event is not so much the result, but rather the astonishing images of drivers seeking at all costs to cool their tires intended for the rain, under yellow flag regime. Some even used the grass on the back straight, in an attempt to keep the tires at a satisfactory temperature. NASCAR did not allow “competitive” pit stops, meaning that positions were frozen upon entering the pitlane, giving mechanics time to work safely. The organizers also did not authorize the drivers to switch to slick tires, which would have both added spice at the end of the event, but also a risk of ever more numerous neutralizations. A fine line to balance on...

New Hampshire – Ranking

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