NASCAR: Christopher Bell made history in more ways than one

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Christopher Bell’s first career NASCAR Cup Series victory marked the first time in two years that a state produced a first-time winner.

With his victory in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway road course, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell became the second first-time winner through two races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, marking the first time that had happened since the sport’s second ever season back in 1950.

In doing so, he became the 197th driver to win a Cup Series race. Michael McDowell, who won the Daytona 500 on the track’s oval the week prior in his 358th career start, was the 196th. The 2021 season is the sixth straight season to see at least two new winners.

But Bell’s win, which came in his 38th career start, is even more historically unique, as it made him the first Cup Series race winner to hail from the state of Oklahoma.

The 26-year-old Norman native made the Sooner State the 35th different state to produce a Cup Series race winner.

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The last time a state was crossed off this list was in June of 2019, when Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman won at Chicagoland Speedway. He hails from Tucson, Arizona and has since added a second career victory at Auto Club Speedway.

McDowell also happens to hail from Arizona, so the Grand Canyon State would have ended up as the 34th state to produce a Cup Series race winner before Oklahoma anyway.

There are now just 15 states which have not produced a Cup Series race winner, and they are Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Homestead-Miami Speedway is scheduled to host the next race on the 2021 Cup Series schedule, the Dixie Vodka 400. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, February 28.