Christopher Bell Rings In A Win On Bristol Dirt

I have never been a real fan of the Bristol dirt race but I have to say this was the best Cup race I have seen on the dirt. The crowd was still not “old Bristol” worthy but it was a decent show considering it was a bit chilly.

The race was not without incident and one of the cool things about the dirt is that cars that did a 360 could get themselves straightened up without a caution flag needing to be thrown.

I am sure those drivers would have preferred a caution to save them some positions, but NASCAR did the right thing by staying green and letting the racing action continue.

Christopher Bell led 100 laps on his way to victory lane and was in the Top 5 in both Stages. He has been one of the strongest drivers in the Joe Gibbs stable and has the win and the lead in overall points to show for it.

Tyler Reddick led 69 laps and won Stage 2 but a pitstop for tires pushed him back in the field and it took him the rest of the race to catch the leaders. Once he got past Chase Briscoe it was game on. Bell was on older tires and had momentum but if the race had gone any longer or had the last caution come just a little sooner forcing a restart, I am not sure Bell could have held him off.


A lot of the talk in the garage has been about respect amongst the drivers. AT Richmond, Denny Hamlin spun JJ Yeley. This week it was Kyle Larson and Ryan Preece going at it. I think the veteran drivers have a different idea about respect than the younger drivers. When Hamlin scoffed as to why he would want to wreck Yeley for 30th position, it seemed to me to be a total dis on Yeley for always being in 30th position. Why would you do that Denny? Because you are mad at yourself for being in the position along with Yeley and you decided that you are faster and he needed to yield to you. Same as your comments about wrecking Ross Chastain.

The same reason Kyle Larson decided he could keep pushing Preece around. After winning Stage 2, Larson kept pushing Preece and Preece had enough of it, wouldn’t yield and the two got together. Larson showed poor judgement after contact, in my opinion, and stayed after Preece when he should have just let the situation go. Respect, right? Focus on the big picture and live to fight another day, right? Nope. Larson side slammed Preece and lost his car into the wall ending his day while Preece finished 24th.


I think Preece has his idea of respect (quit running me into the wall) and Larson thinks the young guy should yield because he is Kyle Larson, after all. Kyle can be mad at himself for being further back in the pack than he likes, but don’t take it out on another driver.

If Hamlin would quit having pit road issues (speeding) he might not find himself battling from deeper in the field either. And maybe he can stop running his mouth about taking out another driver on a podcast that gets him penalized.

I am all for rivalries and drivers meting out track justice, but don’t act all high and mighty when you get caught. Respect is earned, not required.

Things of note: Hendrick fined. Again.

A week after NASCAR penalties to Henrick Motorsports were rescinded, the team got nailed for penalties after Richmond. These penalties will most likely NOT be rescinded after blowback from the previously rescinded penalties and subsequent changes to the rule book made immediately afterwards to eliminate that from happening again. Yup, NASCAR rewriting its rule book once again.

Denny Hamlin’s penalty for his comments about wrecking Chastain was upheld. Appeal denied.

Next up: Martinsville

William Byron is the defending spring race winner (212 laps led) while Christopher Bell was the fall race winner (150 laps led). That should provide one heck of a race if these two guys battle it out on a great track.

For the bowtie crowd, you have to give it up to Team Hendrick again with the 24 and 48 car both winners here. Kyle Larson is a short track guy and the highest ranked short track driver since 2020.

And who is ranked right behind Larson on the short tracks? Joey Logano.

For the blue oval team, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney lead the way as the top finishers at Martinsville. Logano has a win already this year and Blaney has challenged at the end of races but been the victim of “respect” gone astray. He finished in the top 5 of both of the last two Martinsville races. And maybe keep an eye on Brad Keselowski with three Top 5 finishes in the last 6 M’ville races.

Martin Truex, Jr. has 2 wins here in the last 6 races. Denny Hamlin lost the spring 2021 race to MTJ after leading 276 of the 500 laps. Since then, he hasn’t had much to wrote home about there. If MTJ can catch a break he might bring this one home.

Happy Easter all, He is Risen.

(Featured photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

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