Christopher Bell wins the Shriner’s Childrens 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
3 min readMar 11, 2024

10 March 2024
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

AVONDALE, AZ — Christopher Bell earned his first win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season today at Phoenix Raceway. Bell said coming in that he had some unfinished business after he crashed here during the Championship race in November. Statement made. After Chevy teams took the first three points paying wins of the year, both Toyota and Ford were under pressure to find the right set up and stop the bow tie streak.

Qualifying has not been a great indicator of race speed as Ford had won the pole for the first 3 races, but could not convert that to a win. That all turned around this weekend here in Avondale as Denny Hamlin lead the Toyota resurgence with authority, posting the 2nd fastest times in Friday’s extended practice and winning the pole for today’s Shriner’s Childrens 500. Hamlin and the Toyota cars dominated much of the race, including the 45 of Tyler Reddick, the 43 of Erik Jones, and the 54 of Ty Gibbs.

In the end, it was Bell, who started 13th, that powered past the field in the final segment to secure the victory for Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing. Toyota introduced a new Camery body style in the NASCAR Cup Series this season and clearly it was an aero improvement as previously at Phoenix Toyota drivers only led a total of 15 laps in four Next-Gen-era races combined.

MARCH 10: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Shriners Children’s 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 10, 2024 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
NASCAR Unofficial Results (pending post-race inspection) Shriner’s Hospiital 500 at Phoenix Raceway March 10, 2024

Bell and his Toyota teammates combined to lead 298 of 312 laps. Hamlin started from the pole position, then all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers led significant numbers of laps — Hamlin with 68, Ty Gibbs with 57, Martin Truex Jr. with 55 and Bell with 50. Tyler Reddick, a 23XI Toyota driver, led 68 laps.

Bell lined up 20th on the restart at Lap 221 to take the lead and beat Ford driver Chris Buescher to the finish line by a distant 5.465 seconds.

MARCH 10: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Shriners Children’s 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 10, 2024 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“Man, this one feels really good, just a credit to (crew chief) Adam (Stevens), man. Adam, my engineers… all the mechanics on this thing,” Bell said.

“You don’t get cars like that very often, as you know. Just super, super proud. Proud to be on this 20 car. This Rheem Camry was amazing today. I feel like we have capability of running races like this a lot. Hopefully, this is the first of many this year.”

The win is Bell’s first at Phoenix and the seventh of his NASCAR Cup career.

Christopher Bell takes questions on from the media during the post-race press conference in the Media Center at Phoenix Raceway (Image Credit: Bob Francis, Gail Francis, GFT Digital)

“Yeah, I mean, I just hope that this gives a little bit more insight to you know, the world and capability that the 20 team has and I feel like the last two years through the NextGen era,” Bell said at the winners press conference.

“I say this a lot and there’s, you know, the rest is up to us to make it happen. but I feel like this is just the beginning. And you know, we make in the Final Four and winning one or two races a year is that’s not our end goal. like we don’t want to be, you know, to win one or two when a year team we want to be the, you know, be a championship contender year after year.”

--

--

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association