NASCAR Persists and Gets Full Race in Amidst Bad Weather, Bell Sweeps Weekend

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Bell Wins Non-Rain Shortened NASCAR Race Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

A red flag for weather lasted more than two hours as NASCAR waited out the rain in the USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to finish the race Sunday evening. In the end, drivers gained experience racing on the new Goodyear wet-weather tires, and Christopher Bell swept the weekend.

In the past, with less than half the race remaining, rain and lightning on the radar, and a track without lights, NASCAR would've simply called the race. But entering the race weekend, fans and competitors knew that the new tire was an option, and with 219 laps completed, drivers were called to pit row to await further instructions.

Car covers were placed on the cars, and the leader, Tyler Reddick, and the No. 45 team waited patiently for the announcement of a rain-shortened race. This announcement never came, and at around 6:30 PM Local time, the race resumed.


NASCAR first used wet-weather tires on an oval in April of 2023 during the Martinsville Truck race. Since then they have been used in Cup this year at Richmond when Denny Hamlin won and yesterday to start the Xfinity race that Bell would go on to win.

Since this was one of the first trials of wet-weather tires, NASCAR officials decided to be extremely stringent and careful with their new rules. It was decided there would be no competitive pit stops, and everyone would switch to the new tires at the same time and then later, if needed, but on a second set of wet-weather tires. It was first announced that they would have to survive the final 82-lap distance on only the first pair of tires.

When the racing resumed, the drivers went as far as five wide, taking advantage of lanes and racing lines that did not exist to them on slicks. The wet-weather tires added around 4 seconds to the average lap time but led to enhanced maneuverability late in the race.

Multiple cautions led to drivers rising and falling throughout the field, leading to the most notable crash when Noah Gragson lost control and crashed into Bubba Wallace, ending the race for the driver of the No. 23, who just worked his way above the playoff cut line.

Over the radios, drivers had mixed feelings about staying on the wet-weather tires as the track began to drive. Larson, who was running third at the time, used up his wet-weathered and developed a flat on his right rear tire. He survived to finish in fourth position.

Bell, while leading, said that it was still far too wet to switch back to slicks. Bell controlled the final two restarts, the last of which forced the race into overtime as NASCAR continued to race against the clock when it came to darkness and rain.

Standing at the start/finish line, Bell talked about what he liked about these oddball races.

"You never know how this thing is going to shake out when you change so many things like that, Bell told NASCAR on NBC. "I personally love adverse conditions because you’re always trying to think outside the box."

He then added an aside to the fans still remaining in the grandstands saying, "Hey guys! This one didn't get shortened!"

A few weeks back, many were angered when the Coca-Cola 600 was ultimately shortened after a red flag kept fans in the stand until after 11 PM; Bell was the winner of that event and stood in a nearly empty Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Chase Briscoe, who has been accidentally announced as Christopher Bell's future teammate finished second after restarting after the red flag in the 26th position.

"I didn’t expect to drive up to second, but really good recovery, Briscoe told NBC Sports.

Josh Berry, a current SHR teammate of Briscoe, finished third and was also hoping for a win as he sits below the playoff cutline. Over the radio, he told his crew chief that if he didn't send it, he wouldn't be able to let it go saying, "I won't be able to sleep tonight if I don't."

Every race for Berry acts as an audition as he continues to fight for a seat in the 2025 season.

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