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C. Bell Wins in the Arizona Desert

Phoenix; The Arizona Desert. The sight of the Championship Race of the NASCAR Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup Series. Over the last few years, Phoenix has not produced the greatest racing on the circuit. This past weekend was a breath of fresh air for the Cup Series as they tried a new aero package for Phoenix. The last time The Cup Series was in Phoenix, Ryan Blaney was crowned as the Cup Series Champion. What happened this time in Phoenix? Last weekend, all eyes were on Kyle Larson as he dominated Las Vegas. Let’s discuss the events of this past weekend in the Arizona Desert.

Bell steals one in Phoenix:

Coming into Sunday, fans and analysts were expecting it to be a Ford-dominated day. But it was quite the opposite. Sunday was a race that was dominated by Toyota drivers. The front row was swept by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, Denny Hamlin and Ty Gibbs. Right from the get-go, it seemed that Gibbs had the car to beat. After the start of the race, Gibbs led the first 56 laps of the race before being passed for the lead with five laps to go in the first stage by Tyler Reddick. Reddick would go on to win the first stage. The entire second stage would be run under green flag conditions and would be dominated by Reddick. But Christopher Bell would pass Reddick for the lead with five laps to go to win the stage.

During the final stage is when everything started to unravel. There’s an old saying in racing, that cautions breed cautions. In the first 20 laps of the final stage, there were three different cautions, including one that involved Joey Logano. The two-time Cup Series Champion would register another DNF to continue his miserable beginning to the season. After a caution that involved Denny Hamlin, the rest of the race would run under green conditions to the end. For the final restart, Bell would restart in the 20th position. He would slowly climb his way up through the field and claim the lead back from Martin Truex Jr on pit strategy. Bell would lead the final 40 laps en route to his seventh Cup Series win at the seventh different track. This was the win that Bell needed to prove himself that he could be a Championship contender.

How Did the new Aero Package do in Phoenix?

Surprisingly, it seemed that the new short-track aero package worked well in Phoenix. But was the racing fantastic? No, it was far from fantastic. But it was better than the previous times than the Cup Series has been to Phoenix. Bell’s victory had the largest margin of victory in the next-gen era. With a win of over five seconds, that doesn’t mean that it was a bad race. The aero package did what it had to do; it made the racing more interesting. But it’s still a long way from the perfect short-track aero package. This was an improvement over what we have seen in the last two seasons. But as previously said, there is still work to be done. Next week, it will be another test on another fan-favorite track on the Cup Series circuit.

What to Expect from Bristol:

Next weekend, for the first time in five years, there will be a Spring Bristol race on concrete. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Spring Bristol date was delayed to late May. In 2021, the Spring Bristol date was converted to a dirt race. This lasted until last season. Now, five years later, with a new car, Bristol will host a Spring race. With it being the Spring race, it’ll have completely different conditions than the Bristol Night Race. With that being said, be on the lookout for Kyle Busch to get his first win of the season, and his 10th win at Bristol. Nine of those have come on the concrete, one on the dirt. It would not be a shocker if Kyle Busch picked up the win on Sunday.

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