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Who won NASCAR Cup race on Daytona Road Course?

Christopher Bell celebrates his first NASCAR Cup race win on the Daytona Road Course. Photo/Getty Images
Christopher Bell celebrates his first NASCAR Cup race win on the Daytona Road Course. Photo/Getty Images
Jeff Owens
ANALYST
Modified 22 Feb 2021
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Christopher Bell won his first NASCAR Cup race by outdriving veteran Joey Logano on the Daytona Road Course Sunday.

Logano took the lead on a late pit stop and built a 2-second lead, but Bell, 26, ran him down and passed him with one lap to go to win the NASCAR Cup race. It was Bell's first NASCAR Cup race win and his first since joining Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

Also Read: First-lap wreck slows two contenders

Chase Elliott, who had won four straight points races on road courses, led most of the NASCAR Cup race but was involved in a wreck with six laps to go. He finished 21st.

Logano finished second and Denny Hamlin third for Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR also won the Xfinity race Saturday when Ty Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, scored his first career victory.

How did Christopher Bell win his first NASCAR Cup race?

Bell was third when he passed Kurt Busch for second with about five laps to go in the NASCAR Cup race. With fresher tires, he began to run down Logano.

"This is definitely one of the highlights of my lfie so far," Bell said. "Just so incredibly thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing. ... I don't know, man. I feel like ... I prepared my whole life for this moment, to race in the Cup Series and last year was a huge learning curve for me. I am very grateful I got the opportunity to run in Cup and it prepared me to move to Joe Gibbs Racing."

Logano built a big lead after the final restart with eight laps to go and Bell didn't think he could run him down.

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"I really didn't," he said. "Whenever we pitted and I came out, I liked where we lined up but then the yellows kept coming. I thought the yellows kept hurting me because I felt like I needed laps to get up through there. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to get there. (Crew chief) Adam (Stevens) on the pit box kept telling me I was going to get there, but I didn't believe him."

Logano, who took the lead by staying on the track while the leaders pitted 13 laps to go, knew he couldn't hold off Bell and his fresher tires in the NASCAR Cup race.

"I knew he was going to get us on tires," Logano said. "Congratulations to Christopher. I'm happy for him, but not so happy for myself."

Elliott had to start 14th on the final restart after pitting, but wrecked trying to get around Brad Keselowski.

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"It just gets to be chaos late in the race," Elliott said. "I made too many mistakes. Just a bad deal."

Elliott held the lead on Lap 54 of the NASCAR Cup race when it began to rain in parts of the 3.6-mile track. NASCAR threw a caution flag for rain on Lap 56, raising the question of whether teams might switch to rain tires. The leaders pitted a lap later, but they all stuck with regular slick tires.

Several drivers stayed on the track under caution to take the lead, pinning Elliott deep in the field. On the restart, Cory Lajoie hit him in the side, forcing him off the track and through the grass. Elliott almost spun, but made a great save to barely avoid hitting a billboard sign stationed in the grass.

Elliott had to pull upon the back of Denny Hamlin's car to clean grass from the grille of his car, and was 14th when a caution flag flew for Tyler Reddick's wreck.

Elliott rallied to climb back to fifth but spun and wrecked with six laps remaining. He was trying to get around Keselowski for fourth when Hamlin hit him from behind.

Elliott started on the pole and won Stage 1 of the NASCAR Cup race. He led the first 28 laps until the leaders pitted under caution on Lap 29. Elliott lost some spots on pit road when a tire from his car got loose, while AJ Allmendinger stayed on the track to inherit the lead.

Allmendinger took the lead on the restart on Lap 30, but Denny Hamlin quickly passed him for the lead to win Stage 2 of the NASCAR Cup race.

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Two top contenders had trouble early as Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell and Busch Clash winner Kyle Busch were involved in a wreck in the first turn of the first lap of the NASCAR Cup race. McDowell had a tire going down and missed the first turn, running off the track, while Busch hit the car in front of him and got hit from behind while checking up.

Despite damage to the front of his car, Kyle Busch rallied and raced back into the top five, passing teammate Denny Hamlin on Lap 44. He was involved in another crash late in the race, however.

Also Read: Ty Gibbs scores big upset in Xfinity Series race

Kurt Busch took the lead at the start of Stage 3 and was leading the NASCAr Cup race when he hit a curb, ran off course and spun through the grass. Bell inherited the lead and led for two laps before Elliott passed him on Lap 40 to regain the lead.

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Also Read: Who is 18-year-old winner Ty Gibbs?

Published 22 Feb 2021, 05:24 IST
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