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NASCAR’s decision to resume New Hampshire race proved impactful to many drivers

NASCAR’s decision not to call Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when rain halted it with 82 laps to go led to dramatically different results for several drivers.

Only three drivers who were in the top 10 when the race was stopped for rain went on to finish in the top 10. Eventual winner Christopher Bell was ninth when the race was stopped.

Christopher Bell wins the Cup race a day after his Xfinity victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The race was delayed 2 hours, 14 minutes and then resumed with the field on wet weather tires. Five drivers outside the top 20 when the race stopped for rain went on to finish in the top 10.

Those who gained the most from where they were when the race was stopped to where they finished:

John Hunter Nemechek (eighth) gained 23 spots.

Chase Briscoe (second) gained 21 positions.

Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) gained 18 spots.

Josh Berry (third) gained 17 positions.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (seventh) gained 17 positions.

“The rain saved us for sure,” Briscoe said. “We were terrible in the dry. We knew typically on the road courses and even the ovals that we’ve ran in the rain we’ve been pretty good truthfully. I didn’t expect to drive up to second, but yeah, really good recovery.”

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Said Berry: “We were 20th when it was raining and then we threw some rain tires on it and did what I knew we could do and moved all the way up there. That was a lot of fun honestly.”

Those who lost the most positions from where they were when the race was stopped to where they finished:

Justin Haley (29th) lost 24 positions

Ryan Blaney (25th) lost 23 spots

Denny Hamlin (24th) lost 21 positions

Bubba Wallace (34th) lost 20 spots

Noah Gragson (27th) lost 17 positions

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Haley said on social media that his car suffered “significant” splitter and nose damage from contact with McDowell.

Blaney lost his spots while racing McDowell for second and McDowell came up the track and hit him, damaging both cars. That led to the next-to-last caution.

Wallace was collected in a crash triggered by Gragson about 40 laps from the finish. By losing 20 positions from where he was when the race was stopped by rain, Wallace fell out of the final playoff spot.

“I just lacked grip,” Gragson said. “Super loose all the way around the track. Must’ve hit the paint on entry to (Turn) 1, and not intentionally by any means with the 23 (Bubba Wallace). Just a mistake on my part. It was unfortunate and I apologize to the 23 guys for ruining their day.”

Joey Logano moved into the final playoff spot. Wallace is now 13 points below the cutline. Briscoe moves to 25 points from the cutline.

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Noah Gragson goes for a slide up the racetrack and collects Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon and a handful of others while on wet weather tires at New Hampshire.