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Christopher Bell gets rain-shortened win at Charlotte, leads race-high 90 laps


Christopher Bell gets rain-shortened win at Charlotte, leads race-high 90 laps

CONCORD, N.C. — After rain soaked the Charlotte Motor Speedway and high humidity prevented track workers from making progress drying the speedway, Christopher Bell was declared the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 after 249 of 400 laps were completed. Bell earns his second win of the 2024 season and his first in one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races.

Racing the rain past the halfway point, Christopher Bell was able to outrun Brad Keselowski and William Byron before the rain arrived, bringing a premature end to NASCAR’s longest race. It had initially seemed as though the race would resume once the rain cleared, but track drying proved difficult due to humidity and made it likely that the race would not resume until past 1 a.m., prompting NASCAR to declare the race official past the halfway mark.

Bell led six times for a total of 90 laps, including the final 18.

Coca-Cola 600 unofficial results

  1. #20 – Christopher Bell
  2. #6 – Brad Keselowski
  3. #24 – William Byron
  4. #45 – Tyler Reddick
  5. #11 – Denny Hamlin
  6. #54 – Ty Gibbs
  7. #9 – Chase Elliott
  8. #1 – Ross Chastain
  9. #48 – Alex Bowman
  10. #4 – Josh Berry (R)

Bell’s victory marks a positive in a season where he has been enormously inconsistent. While he won at Phoenix in March and entered the night with three top fives in six top 10s, he has also had three DNFs due to crashes and five finishes of 33rd or worse, including two in a row prior to the start of May.

Now, Bell becomes the fourth driver this season to earn multiple wins — joining William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson — setting him up to position well for the playoffs as the summer months begin.

“It feels so good, win or lose, just to have a great race to go off of,” Bell told Fox Sports. “A race that we led laps, we were able to pass cars, we lost the lead at times we were able to drive back to the lead. Had great pit stops … This is a team effort, and it was amazing to have a good race. And hopefully this is something we can build on and get back to being more consistent.”

This is the fourth time in Coca-Cola 600 history rain has prevented the race from being completed, and Bell joins a list of winners of rain-shortened Coke 600s that includes Buddy Baker (1968), Jimmie Johnson (2003) and David Reutimann (2009). The 1997 edition of the race, won by Jeff Gordon, was also shortened to 500 miles due to a rain delay that put the finish of the race up against a 1 a.m. curfew that existed at the time.

The Double Goes to the Gator

Whether in Indianapolis or in Charlotte, rain was a constant throughout what is considered the greatest day in motorsports. And in the end, rain wound up completely wrecking the much ballyhooed and anticipated Indy-Charlotte Double for Kyle Larson.

After the start of the Indianapolis 500 was delayed four hours due to rain, Kyle Larson — seeking to become the fifth driver to ever run both the Indy 500 and Coke 600 in the same day — was put in a position where he could not both compete at Indianapolis and make it to Charlotte for the start of the Cup race. Ultimately, Larson committed to competing in the Indianapolis 500, forcing reserve driver Justin Allgaier into action behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

Allgaier, an Xfinity Series great who ran two full Cup seasons in 2014 and 2015, started out slowly as he spent much of the first stage adjusting to Cup cars, but he would come to life shortly after going a lap down. Allgaier powered back around race leader William Byron to get back on the tail end of the lead lap and made further progress from there, driving up into the top 15 past the halfway point.

After finishing 18th in the Indy 500, Larson finally arrived in Charlotte past the halfway point and entered the speedway just as the rain arrived, and he was at the ready in his pit stall to take over for Allgaier and complete the day in his Cup car. However, Larson’s intentions were completely dashed when the race was called official, meaning he did not compete in a single lap of the Coke 600 and only ran the Indianapolis 500.

“I’m very, very thankful for the experience obviously. Everything about the two weeks was great — until today,” Larson told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. “It’s just sad. Everything that could’ve went wrong today went wrong. Hopefully we get to do it again in the future and hopefully the weather is better next time.”

As for Allgaier, his 13th-place finish marked his best in any Cup race since he had the same result at Martinsville in fall 2015.

Race results rundown

  • The Coca-Cola 600 featured a very notable visitor, as former United States President Donald Trump attended the race and watched the early laps from the top of Austin Dillon’s pit box before making his way up to suite level. Also in attendance was Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was seen out and about in Ryan Blaney gear. Blaney, who entered the night looking for his second-straight Coke 600 win, would crash out and finish 39th after a right front wheel failure.
  • After finishing third at Darlington, Josh Berry continued his recent roll with a 10th-place finish, his second top 10 in a row. Berry now has five straight finishes of 16th or better dating back to last month at Talladega.
  • One week after their throwdown at North Wilkesboro, Sunday’s race featured little drama between either Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or Kyle Busch. Busch would recover from a pit road penalty for an uncontrolled tire to finish 15th, while Stenhouse was never a factor — outside of a race for the free pass in front of the leaders — and finished 31st.
  • After cutting a left rear tire and crashing in practice, Chris Buescher was able to make his way through the field in a backup car, but only made it to 23rd before rain cut the race short. After contending for wins at Kansas at Darlington and then finishing third in the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, Buescher would wind up taking a backseat to RFK Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, who would finish second.
  • In the end, the only driver who wound up completing the Indy-Charlotte Double was seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson served as a member of NBC Sports’ broadcast team for the Indianapolis 500 then made his way to Charlotte for his fifth start of the Cup season. Johnson would start and finish 29th.
  • Ty Dillon debuted a new Cup Series team in Sunday’s race, taking the wheel of the No. 50 Team AmeriVet Chevrolet for the team’s maiden run. Dillon would finish two laps down in 36th.

Next race

After three weeks around the sport’s main hub in the Carolinas, the NASCAR Cup Series will start heading west next week, with a trip to the Gateway city and World Wide Technology Raceway next Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on Fox.

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