Christopher Bell’s win alters playoff picture

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LOUDON, N.H. — Christopher Bell became the season’s 14th different winner Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and altered the playoff picture.

Bell’s victory moved Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. to the final playoff spot with six races left.

Truex won both stages and led a race-high 172 of 301 laps but finished fourth after a pit call and restart in the final stage went against him.

Truex leads Kevin Harvick by 68 points for the final transfer spot. Drivers can earn no more than 60 points in a race, meaning Harvick is more than a full race behind Truex.

Harvick entered the race 19 points behind Bell for the final playoff spot. Through the first two stages, Harvick outscored Bell 15-7. That put Harvick only 11 points out the final playoff spot going into the final stage. 

With Bell winning, Harvick went from 11 points down to 68 points out of the playoffs.

Six races remain in the regular season. The series next goes to Pocono Raceway. Sunday’s coverage on USA Network begins with Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET. Race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET.


Xfinity Series

Justin Allgaier’s victory this past weekend at New Hampshire was his third of the season and didn’t alter the playoff picture.

Landon Cassill’s car was one of two disqualified for failing post-race inspection. That dropped Cassill from third to 37th. He was credited with one point.

Brandon Brown finished third after the cars of Cassill and Noah Gragson, who had finished fourth, were disqualified. Brown scored 40 points in the race.

He is 61 points behind Cassill for the final playoff spot.

Eight races remain in the regular season. The series races Saturday at Pocono Raceway (5 p.m. ET on USA Network).