NASCAR

Christopher Bell wins the Coca-Cola 600 after race called with 151 laps left due to wet weather

Bell led a race-high 90 laps to win his eighth career Cup Series race, and his first Coca-Cola 600.

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Christopher Bell won the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway after the race was called with 151 laps remaining after being halted for more than two hours because of rain.

Bell led a race-high 90 laps to win his eighth career Cup Series race, and his first Coca-Cola 600.

Brad Keselowski finished second, William Byron was third, Tyler Reddick was fourth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

The race was red-flagged just as Kyle Larson arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway to take over driving the Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet. Track officials attempted to dry the track but were unable to do so with the moisture in the air.

Larson had hoped to become the first driver since Tony Stewart to run all 1,100 laps as part of the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 double, but bad weather in Indianapolis quickly nixed those plans.

After finishing 18th at the Indianapolis 500, Larson was quickly shuttled out of the track and after one plane and two helicopter rides arrived at the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte to cheers from the crowd.

He jogged to his pit stall in his fire suit and strapped on his helmet —- only to have the race halted moments later by a heavy downpour.

He never got to turn a lap at Charlotte.

Under NASCAR rules, Larson is not allowed to participate in the playoffs unless he starts every race. However, Hendrick Motorsports can submit a waiver to NASCAR, asking for an exception to the rule.

There is no guarantee that NASCAR will approve the waiver, but it's hard to imagine the sport's governing body keeping its top driver out of the postseason.

Justin Allgaier, who has started 82 Cup races during his career but hasn't been on the circuit full-time since 2015, was chosen to fill in for Larson because they have similar body types and require somewhat similar seat set-ups.

The first half of the race had nine race leaders with Byron and Bell winning the first two stages.

DEFENDING CHAMP KO'D EARLY

Ryan Blaney’s bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the Coca-Cola 600 since Jimmie Johnson in 2004-05 ended when his front right tire went down on lap 143, sending his No. 12 Ford into the wall and ending his night.

“I just came off pit road and put tires on it and I don’t know if I ran over something, but one of them blew,” Blaney said. “I blew a tire going into (turn) three, so I don’t know if I hit something or what, but it’s kind of odd. We’ll have to go back and take a look at it. It stinks.”

TRUMP ON HAND

Former President Donald Trump watched the race alongside car owner Richard Childress atop the pit box for the No. 3 Chevrolet.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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