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Oh, you thought you knew how the playoff picture was gonna shake out in a few short weeks?

Well, Christopher Bell would like you to hold on for just one second!

Bell picked a doozy of a time to score his second career win, passing Chase Elliott late Sunday at New Hampshire to vault into the Cup playoffs.

Along the way he knocked some guy named Kevin Harvick below the playoff cutline, and made other folks — like Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney — sweat just a little bit (OK, a lot of bit).

Way to go, Chris!

“Man, that one was much needed right there,” Bell said. “I’ll tell you what, that was a hell of a race from my viewpoint.”

You know what? He’s right. For New Hampshire — a track I’ve been very critical of — that was a decent automobile race!

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Christopher Bell celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Loudon, NH (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Martin Truex Jr.: ‘We screwed it up’

OK… back to those pesky playoff standings.

Bell’s win knocked Harvick below the cutline, and not just on the edge, either. He’s a full 68 points back of Truex with six races left in the regular season.

Speaking of Martin … man, what could have been.

Truex dominated the first two stages, starting on the pole and leading damn near every lap. The fellas over at the No. 19 pit stall chose to put two tires on instead of four during a Stage 3 stop, and MTJ was never seen or heard from again.

He finished fourth despite leading 172 laps.

“We just screwed it up,” said Truex, who now sits in a delicate spot for the stretch run. “It’s frustrating and disappointing, but congrats to the 20 (Bell). Obviously, they were smarter than we were at the end.”

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