NASCAR: Christopher Bell not the biggest winner at Charlotte

Christopher Bell won the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to secure his second win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

When the rains came at Charlotte Motor Speedway during stage three of four of the Coca-Cola 600, at which point the race did not need to be restarted in order to be considered official, Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell was the leader after 249 of 400 laps.

After a lengthy stoppage due to the precipitation at the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Concord, Noth Carolina oval, NASCAR made the somewhat surprising decision to call the race, giving Bell his second win of the 2024 season in race number 14 on the 26-race regular season schedule.

Bell also won the race at Phoenix Raceway in March. Thanks to the fact that the has now won twice, he is officially locked into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Christopher Bell not the biggest Coca-Cola 600 winner

While the playoff format is widely considered a "win and in" format, a driver is technically only locked into the playoffs at this point in the season by winning twice, since there can still be more winners than playoff spots.

The 16 playoff spots officially go to the regular season champion and the 15 drivers who rank next highest in wins. With 26 regular season races, there can only be 13 multi-race winners, so winning twice locks a driver into the postseason.

Entering the Coca-Cola 600, there were three multi-race winners: Hendrick Motorsports' William Byron (three wins), Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin (three wins), and Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson (two wins).

However, there was very little doubt that Bell was going to make the playoffs anyway.

While Bell was among the lower single-race winners in the point standings, sitting in 15th place entering the race weekend, he and the Joe Gibbs Racing team, particularly the No. 20 team, don't fit the profile of a group that should fall much further than that in the standings. Case in point, the Charlotte win moved him up to 11th.

As a result, the other big winner of the Coca-Cola 600 was Trackhouse Racing Team's Daniel Suarez, who sits lowest of the four drivers with a single victory this season.

Suarez, the winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway, sits in 18th place in the point standings. Hendrick Motorsports' Chase Elliott, the winner at Texas Motor Speedway, leads the single-race winners in fourth, ahead of 23XI Racing's Tyler Reddick, the winner at Talladega Superspeedway, in sixth, and RFK Racing's Brad Keselowski, the winner at Darlington Raceway, in ninth.

With a new winner not emerging at Charlotte, there is now one less opportunity for the 2024 season's winner total of eight to creep closer to that ever-important 16 tally. There are 12 races remaining on the regular season schedule, so Suarez's playoff spot is looking relatively safe at this point.

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Will a ninth different winner emerge in the 2024 season's 15th race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway? The Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 2. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss any of the action!