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Christopher Bell punches ticket to NASCAR championship race; wins rollercoaster race at Homestead

Christopher Bell (20) gets out of his car after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023 in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

OMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Christopher Bell took his first lead with 15 laps to go and held off Ryan Blaney for a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway that locked him into next month’s NASCAR Championship finale. Bell, who entered the race below the playoff cutline, scored his second win of the season. He beat Blaney by 1.651 seconds and only led 26 of 267 laps during a chaotic race in which three playoff drivers did not finish. Tyler Reddick and William Byron finished third and fourth and are still vying for a spot in the Nov. 5 title-deciding finale. The remaining spots will be determined next week in the final race of the round of eight at Martinsville Speedway.