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Bell Sinks Deeper Below Cutline At Homestead-Miami

(Photo: Kevin Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Christopher Bell could’ve easily righted the ship with a strong performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway to turn his Playoff misfortunes around.

Instead, Bell finished 11th and sank further below the cutline after the Dixie Vodka 400, the middle race in the Round of 8.

“I’m disappointed with our performance today, but at least that is in our hands,” Bell said after the race. “We just didn’t step up to the bat and do what we needed to do.”

Bell entered Sunday’s antepenultimate race 23 points below the cutline, but not at his own fault. He suffered damage when Bubba Wallace intentionally crashed Kyle Larson last weekend at Las Vegas and couldn’t finish after his damaged vehicle policy clock expired.

“Last week, I was emotional about it because it was out of our hands, and we were performing well,” Bell said.

Bell wasn’t fully in a must-win situation before Homestead. But leaving South Beach, he is.

Bell qualified well, starting second, only behind William Byron. But as Stage 1 progressed, he battled a tight condition and finished 11th. He dropped three more spots in Stage 2 and finished 14th, while other Playoff drivers like Byron, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott scored stage points.

Bell recovered to finish 11th and maximize the final stage as much as possible. However, his lack of stage points only enlarged his deficit before the cut-off race at Martinsville Speedway next weekend.

(Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

A must-win situation certainly isn’t something new for Bell. Two weeks ago at the Charlotte ROVAL, Bell needed to win to advance to the Round of 8. He was under a similar set of circumstances — a crash in the first race of the round and a mediocre performance in the second.

And with a fresh set of tires for a pair of late-race restarts, Bell bested Kevin Harvick and others for a clutch victory. While the ROVAL is much different than Martinsville, he’s confident about his chances to repeat the result.

“We will move to Martinsville – we ran well in the spring,” Bell said. “I definitely feel better about winning there than I did at the Charlotte road course.”

Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Alex Bowman is the defending winner and Byron won the spring race, a 400-lap event.


Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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