Christopher Bell’s NASCAR Cup Series title hopes are still alive. Kyle Larson’s are not.
Bell used fresh tires to get the lead late in what had been a staid and boring race at the Charlotte Roval to get into the third round of the playoffs while the 2021 Cup Series champion was eliminated on the final lap.
Bell went from seventh to first over the final two chaotic green-flag runs. A caution for a sign that fell onto the track with less than six laps to go was the first non-stage caution of the day. And the race’s final laps turned into the circus they typically are at the Roval.
Larson missed out on going to the third round of the playoffs because of a toe link issue on the rear wheels of the car. Larson’s team elected to spend time on pit road fixing the car assuming that the race would continue to be straightforward like it was. But that was before the sign caution happened.
Austin Cindric and Daniel Suarez were eliminated from the playoffs along with Larson. Alex Bowman also won’t advance to the third round but he missed the final two races of the second round after suffering a concussion in a crash at Texas.