Christopher Bell’s Championship run ends early at Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 05: Crew members work on the #20 Rheem/DEWALT Toyota, driven by Christopher Bell in the garage area as NASCAR Officials looks on during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 05, 2023 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Christopher Bell’s championship hopes came to a fiery end on lap 108 at Phoenix Sunday when his Toyota lost a brake rotor coming into Turn 3 sending him hard into the outside wall while he was running sixth. He brought the car into the pits with fire coming out of the right front but was done for the day.

“Well, I mean that was my first time I’ve ever exploded a rotor in my career,” Bell said. “So, yeah, I was surprised but early on in the race I had a little bit of brake fade and the second run it just kept getting worse and worse. I don’t know. Just obviously a disappointing way to end.”

Bell said he did have a warning that something was going awry.

“Yes, I did have brake fade,” he said. “In the first run of the race, I did have some pedal fade and I think that was run two – it got worse and worse.”

Bell was the first car out of the race and finished last, 36.

“Yeah, I mean it stings to not have a shot at the end of it obviously,” Bell said. “We were all four really close and we all four showed strengths at different times. I think it’s going to be a great championship race and whoever wins is going to be well deserving.”

After his day was over, all Bell could do was summarize his season and look forward to 2024.

“I’m very proud of the effort put forth by our team to get to the Championship 4,” he said. “But I do feel like we left a lot on the table at various races throughout the year. I’m excited about the future. We haven’t reached our potential yet.”


Greg Engle