Christopher Bell Breaks Down His NASCAR Playoff Journey to Championship 4

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

While Ross Chastain got all the buzz, Christopher Bell has had the most clutch playoff performance in recent NASCAR history. Bell has two walk-off wins in the playoffs and is the only driver with multiple wins in the postseason. That’s gotta be worth something come Sunday at Phoenix.

Thursday was media day for the NASCAR Championship 4 from the Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series. The four drivers that will battle for the Bill France Cup sat with the trophy between them and talked about the season and how they got to this point.

In his yellow DeWalt racing suit, Christopher Bell talked about how his playoffs went from according to plan to off the rails in a hurry.

“The Round of 16 went exactly how we drew it up, sitting in the office with [crew chief] Adam [Stevens] before the playoffs started, we said, ‘Okay our cars are fast, all we have to do I’s dot our eyes and cross our T’s. You drive at 90% and we’ll go out there, do our jobs,'” Bell said.

He was right. Christopher Bell finished P5, P3, and P4 in the Round of 16 and easily made his way to the Round of 12. Then things changed.

Christopher Bell Struggled in the Round of 12

After such a successful first round, Christopher Bell and his team were feeling good about their chances. Things went just as they had drawn it up. Then, the things that happen in racing all seemed to happen at once. Flat tires and wrecks and all the things that hurt your chances of advancing.

“Then the Round of 12 hit and we had two flat tires before the Stage 1 and got out of there with no points. Just talk about being in the dumps. Like, I mean, I was ready for offseason. After Talladega, I was staring at the road course [Roval], which we knew that we weren’t going to be one of the contending cars for the win at the road course. We knew that before the playoffs even started.

“Staring at elimination I was ready for offseason. And then the yellow came out and it changed everything.”

Christopher Bell kept the course. He was once again finding himself behind in the Round of 8. At Martinsville, it was a lot of the same. A late yellow came out, his pit crew got him in and out quickly, and he fought off Chase Briscoe for the win. Clutch. Ice in his veins.

Can he do it in Phoenix this Sunday?