The Charlotte Roval presented plenty of pressure on playoff drivers because it was the Round of 12 cutoff race for the 2023 NASCAR Cup playoffs. Christopher Bell didn't have much to worry about during the race and he advanced to the Round of 8.
Despite advancing to the next playoff round, Bell's day wasn't perfect—he had a run-in with Daniel Suarez late in the race that ended the Trackhouse Racing's No. 99 day.
#NASCARPlayoffs driver Christopher Bell gets into Daniel Suarez!
Less than 15 to go on NBC. pic.twitter.com/sOCAkhA6Kp
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 8, 2023
Bell has since reached out to Suarez about the incident but is prepared for the possibility that Suarez might have some retaliation planned. During a teleconference on Wednesday, Bell addressed the possibility of future issues with Suarez.
Christopher Bell said his spinning Daniel Suarez at Roval was unintentional but he knows he?ll have to be aware that payback could be coming. pic.twitter.com/tTSneqOKq3
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) October 11, 2023
"Certainly, I didn't mean to get into him (Suarez), and you know, him and I have had run-ins in the past, so that's the last guy I wanted to get into and have a problem with moving forward," Bell said. "I reached out to him and told him that it wasn't intentional, but I'm sure he's going to be coming after me, which is not ideal going into the next four races, but it's a mistake, and I'll have to keep that in the back of my head moving forward."
Bell enters the first race of the Round of 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway eight points below the cutline. He will have plenty enough to deal with this weekend from fellow playoff drivers as he prepares to try and make the Championship Four for the second year in a row. But now it seems that he will have to keep his eyes out for Suarez in case the two race near each other on the track.
"I think it really just depends on where we're at on track," Bell told Nascar.com. "If we're not around each other, then it's something that is pretty easy to put away, but I just have to be smart whenever it comes time to whenever I'm around him. Certainly, give him as much room as possible, and it is what it is. It was not a smart move on my behalf to ... It was a mistake. It wasn't like that was a move I was trying to do, but I should've been more mindful of the position I was in and where we were at in that race. Not ideal, I'll just have to pay attention moving forward and do the best I can."
Suarez hasn't been afraid to show his displeasure when wronged by other drivers, it looks like Bell will have a target on his back, and if he isn't careful, it could cost him the 2023 Championship.
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