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Everything That Happened in the Cup Race At New Hampshire

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What’s Happening?

It’s time for the NASCAR Cup Series to head back up to the northeast as they prepare for the USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway! If the past is anything to take into consideration, the drivers to watch today were the ones sporting a blue oval on the nose with the serious challengers being the JGR Toyotas. While many eyes may be on Hendrick Motorsports heading into this race, the last time HMS actually won at NHMS was all the way back in 2012 with Kasey Kahne. With their recent speed, will they be able to upset the favorites today? Only time will tell! Let’s break it down! Here’s everything that happened in the Cup Race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway!

You Need To Know:

  • Heading into the race today, the main story was the weather. Weather played a minor roll in yesterday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Race as wet weather tires were used. For Sunday’s race, wheather was once again a major story with a 90% chance of rain and thunderstorms threatening to be in the area. Much of the state of New Hampshire was also under a tornado watch.
  • While yesterday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race went on relatively unscathed, rain did put a damper on a portion of the on-track action as practice was shortened and qualifying for the today’s Cup Race was rained out. With Chase Elliott leading the points, he was awarded the pole with last week’s winner, Ryan Blaney, starting on his outside.
  • The loyal fans showed up despite the threats of weather. They were hoping to see a complete race today and though they got to see most of a race, it’s not hard to imagine their disappointment.

As the third stage of the race started, the rain and approaching storms seemed to become a bigger and bigger storyline. While much of the field opted to pit ahead of the stage, drivers such as Tyler Reddick, Michael McDowell, and Kyle Larson stayed out in order to capitalize on the approaching showers. Through 2 restarts, Reddick was able to maintain his lead with Kyle Larson slipping into second.

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When the race restarted with just under 100 laps to go, we saw an awesome battle for the lead. First, it was Michael McDowell who ran low under Reddick but he was unable to make it stick. Then, Larson tried his hand. While Larson was attempting to pass the 45, Denny Hamlin entered the picture. The 11 ended up dooring the 5, shoving him out of line. Reddick and his owner Hamlin cleared their competition as set out to settle it amongst themselves. However, the caution flew again after Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. got together. Meanwhile, weather continued to crawl towards the racetrack.

The race restarted. Ryan Blaney tried to battle for the lead but couldn’t make it stick. Kyle Busch then brought out the 8th caution of the race with a single-car spin. Reddick led, Blaney was through to second, and Denny Hamlin settled in in third. During the caution, leader Tyler Reddick warned NASCAR that raindrops were falling. NASCAR displayed the red flag on Lap 219.

After just over an hour and a half delay for heavy rain, the weather cells moved out. NASCAR ordered the track drying equipment onto the track at 6PM EST. It seemed that we were going to finish this race. Engines refired at 6:43PM EST, all cars sporting wet weather tires. There were 74 laps to go upon the restart.

Once the race restarted, the drivers were able to run a decent number of laps under green before the next caution flag. Tyler Reddick continued his stranglehold of the top spot with Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson following. Drivers were utilizing all possible lanes of the track, even making use of the apron in the turns. The caution flew again with 68 laps to go as Ross Chastain went for a spin.

The racing resumed with 60 laps to go. On the restart, Christopher Bell overtook Reddick for the race lead. Bell was running the lane on the apron with Reddick and Larson mimicking him. Meanwhile back in 4th, Ryan Blaney was going the top lane a go. Blaney’s searching for the best line was a great strategy for Blaney as he was eventually able to clear Reddick and Larson and slide into 2nd.

The caution flew yet again with just over 40 laps to go as Corey Lajoie spun. Under caution, NASCAR said that teams were not permitted to change to a new set of wet weather tires. The caution flew yet again just a few laps later as Noah Gragson spun and collected Bubba Wallace and Austin Dillon. Under caution, NASCAR made the decision to mandate that all teams pit in non-competitive pit stops to change tires. The tires had to be wet weather tires.

The race restarted with 28 laps to go. Upon the restart, the approaching darkness as well as the rain started to become a concern. Christopher Bell rocketed out to the lead with Blaney and Larson trailing him. With 18 laps to go, Larson radioed in and complained that his right rear tire was completely gone. Just as that was being reported, Carson Hocevar spun, a result of previous contact with Ryan Preece which got him out of shape. The caution came out once more.

After initially stating that they would not allow teams to change tires, NASCAR opened pit road with 12 laps to go. The call from the officials was that all drivers had to put on a fresh set of wet weather tires in non-competitive pit stops.

The race restarted with 9 laps to go but the caution flew once again in turn 1. Michael McDowell lost traction and chased the car up the track. He made contact with Ryan Blaney, wiping them both out. They were able to keep the cars off the wall.

The race restarted with 4 laps remaining. Chase Briscoe attempted to force the issue on the bottom and Christopher Bell started to pull away. Josh Berry was through to 2nd and started closing big time on Christopher Bell. The caution came out once more after Brad Keselowski spun with 2 laps to go. This forced NASCAR’s hand. We were going into overtime.

When the race restarted, Josh Berry couldn’t get his number 4 car going. Christopher Bell rocketed out front and took the white flag. He went on to win this crazy race, sweeping the weekend at New Hampshire.

Congratulations to Christopher Bell on his third win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season!

The Layout

As reported by Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports, the stages for the USA Today 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway was as follows:

  • Stage 1: 70 Laps
  • Stage 2: 115 Laps
  • Stage 3: 116 Laps

All teams were given 8 sets of sticker slick tires and 4 sets of wet weather tires in the event that a slight mist dampens the track. The fuel run was expected to be between 90 and 96 laps. Since there was no practice and qualifying, there were no incidents. This meant that nobody had to go to the rear.

Christopher Bell Continues NHMS Dominance and Wins Stage 1

To start the opening stage, Chase Elliott rocketed out front and remained there for the first 41 laps of the race. However, once he got caught behind lapped traffic, Christopher Bell was able to run him down. Bell made a clean pass for the lead on Lap 42. He then extended that lead to almost three seconds and went on to win the opening stage. With this stage win, Bell received 10 points and 1 playoff point. Joey Logano took second in the stage with Chase Elliott capturing third respectively.

One of the biggest stories this week was Christopher Bell letting it slip that Chase Briscoe will be joining JGR next season in the number 19 car. Here, you can watch the two battle as Briscoe struggled to keep his number 14 SHR car on the lead lap.

As the first stage ended and the teams were gearing up for the second stage, we got a weather update from Bob Pockrass. 70 laps in and we were still clear with some pockets of rain off to the west.

Hamlin Sneaks Away With Stage 2

When the green flag dropped to kick off the second stage, Bell once again asserted his dominance. He rocketed out front and stayed there throughout the first 60 or so laps of the stage. Then it was time for green flag pit stops. Starting this cycle of green flag stops was Austin Cindric and Tyler Reddick. Second place running Martin Truex Jr. pitted a lap ahead of Christopher Bell, costing the 20 a bulk of his lead. As Todd Gilliland stayed out in a strategy move, Truex was able to run down and pass Bell for the 2nd position.

After a caution flew for a spinning Daniel Hemric, most of the lead lap cars pitted with a handful staying out. Once the race restarted, Denny Hamlin found himself in the lead with Joey Logano staying out. Truex and Bell found themselves in 3rd and 4th respectively. The caution flew again shortly thereafter with Kyle Busch and Noah Gragson getting together.

At this point in the race, they were past the halfway marker of Lap 151. With rain moving in a little closer, teams started to chatter about strategy in the event that the race ended prematurely. When the race restarted after the Busch/Gragson incident, Denny Hamlin was able to maintain his lead with teammate Martin Truex Jr. nipping at his heels. The 11 was able to hold off the 19, however, as Hamlin won the stage. It was his fourth stage win of the 2024 season.

A number of drivers stayed out during pit stops under caution. Among them was the 45 of Tyler Reddick, Michael McDowell in the 34, and Kyle Larson in the 5. On pit road, Turex had a very slow stop after the right rear changer didn’t get the lug tight. This dropped him all the way down to the 26th position with rain on the way.

Daniel Hemric Spin Brings Out First Caution, Alex Bowman Engine Issues

The second caution of the day (but first for incident) came out on Lap 142. Daniel Hemric was running 32nd at the time of his spin. It was a single car spin and Hemric’s 31 made no contact with the wall. The big winner of this perfectly timed caution was Todd Gilliland. His strategy seemed to work out as, when he pitted, he was able to keep his position on the lead lap. He was able to restart the race in the 8th position.

Immediately after the caution came out, Alex Bowman dropped on the apron with bluish white smoke spilling out from his tailpipes. He pitted and the team started to investigate under the hood. Bowman had run in the top-10 for most of the day. This was a massive blow as he was one of the drivers near the playoff cut line. Ultimately, he retired from the race and went to the garage with an engine failure.

Trouble Continues For Busch as the 8 and 10 Get Together

Only a couple of laps after the restart on Lap 147, Kyle Busch’s bad luck continued. Upon the replay, it appeared as though Busch just washed up the track and got into Noah Gragson’s number 10 car. Gragson didn’t seem to hit anything though Busch just lightly kissed the wall with the rear of his number 8 RCR Chevy. You can watch the incident in the clip below.

Elliott and Logano Tangle

Following the restart to kick off the final stage as weather threatens off in the distance, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano got together. This caused the third caution for incident of the race. The incident happened when Logano’s left front tire locked up. This sent him up the track and into Elliott who was running on the outside. The contact ended up sending the number 9 around. Elliott was able to continue while Logano appeared to have broken a part in the right front.

Truex’s Solid Run Ends As He And Keselowski Get Together

In a heartbreaking twist of fate, Martin Truex Jr.’s solid run ended first with a bad pit stop that got him stuck back in traffic. This put him in a lot of hairy positions. The 19 received heavy damage to the rear of his car after Brad Keselowski made contact with him, spinning him around. You can watch the incident as it unfolded in the video clip below.

Trouble For Bubba, Gragson, and Dillon

With under 40 laps to go, there was an incident between Bubba Wallace, Noah Gragson, and Austin Dillon. The incident transpired on Lap 265 as Gragson raced down on the apron, his right rear tire running on the paint. This lost the 10 car all his traction. Gragson spun around and collected Bubba Wallace and Austin Dillon as they all hit the outside wall. Watch the incident unfold in the footage provided below.

Around The Garage

During the red flag, we saw a lot of high-profile personalities criticize NASCAR for being seemingly unwilling to use the wet weather tires. Bubba Wallace took to X to say this:

I, for one, certainly miss Dale Jr. in the NBC booth. He could’ve argued for the rain tires.

When the race restarted and the drivers got a few laps under their belts under the wet weather conditions, Erik Jones had this to say…

From The Officials

Reported by the track officials at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 6:10. With a 30 minute window given, it meant that we were slated to go back to racing at around 6:40PM.

NASCAR ordered drivers in their cars at 6:40PM EST with the command to refire engines slated for 6:43PM.

On Your Screen

Meanwhile, co-hosts of the NASCAR Weekly Podcast also took to X to criticize NASCAR for being unwilling to pull the trigger of putting the “rain tires” on.

Meanwhile, while we’re agonizingly waiting for either the race to be continued or cancelled, there’s a standoff on pit road!

From The Pressbox

As we set through the red flag, Bob Pockrass continued to monitor the weather. The track was completely wet, meaning that even if rain tires were to be used, track dryers would still have to be used in order to get to raceable conditions.

Jeff Gluck argues, point blank, to just call the race if NASCAR is unwilling to use the rain tires. He calls it, essentially, a waste of time.

Fair point made by Toby Christie, in response to the NBC booth’s arguments against rain tires.

After an hour of red flag conditions, Bob Pockrass reported that the “heavy stuff” was about to hit.

Reported at 6PM EST by Bob Pockrass, the rain in Loudon, New Hampshire stopped. Subsequently, NASCAR ordered the track drying equipment out onto the track to start to track drying process.

Who’s ready for some wet weather NASCAR racing at New Hampshire!?

Conclusion

That was a wild race, even in contention one of the longest (in terms of hour lapsed) in NASCAR History! What did you think, Daily Downforce readers? Do you applaud NASCAR’s decision to use the wet weather tires? Do you wish that they’d let the teams decide on what type of tires to use? Do you think that NASCAR should have acted sooner? What do you make of Chistopher Bell’s win? Let us know! Continue to tune back in here at DailyDownforce.com throughout the week for the latest news and stories in the world of NASCAR. We’ll be back next week with our coverage of Nashville Superspeedway!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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