On Lap 108 of the 312-lap race, his title hopes ended abruptly when he blew a brake rotor and slammed the Turn 3 wall. He was running sixth on track at the time of the incident.
The 28-year-old will finish 36th at Phoenix and end the year fourth in the championship standings. It’s his second consecutive year in the Championship 4, ending 2022 third in the final standings.
“Well, I mean that was the first time I’ve ever exploded a rotor in my career,” said Bell after being checked and released from the infield care center. “So, yeah, I was surprised but early on in the race I had a little bit of brake fade and the second run it just kept getting worse and worse. I don’t know. Just obviously a disappointing way to end. I’m super, super proud of this 20 team … to be in the Final 4 is something we’re really proud of.
He later added: “Yes, I did have brake fade. In the first run of the race, I did have some pedal fade and I think that was run two – it got worse and worse.”
Speaking on his disappointment, Bell said: “Yeah, I mean it stings to not have a shot at the end of it obviously. We were all four really close and we all four showed strengths at different times. I think it’s going to be a great championship race and whoever wins is going to be well deserving.”
Bell was the only Toyota driver in contention for the title on Sunday.
“I’m very proud of the effort put forth by our team to get to the Championship 4, but I do feel like we left a lot on the table at various races throughout the year,” concluded Bell, reflecting on his 2023 season. “I’m excited about the future. We haven’t reached our potential yet.”