Chase Elliott came back to win the Charlotte Roval by passing Kevin Harvick late for the lead. But it wasn’t easy. With 45 to go on a restart, he spun into the tire barrier while leading the race. However, with perseverance and a couple of lucky breaks, he found his way to victory lane.
“I really just messed up,” Elliott described to PRN Radio. “I made a mistake that you should never really make. I’m not sure if you can do anything more stupid leading one of these races. Take lessons and don’t do that. Odds are, I don’t know how it didn’t hurt it (car). I hit the wall pretty hard. Guys did a good job fixing it, luckily our splitter was still close to the ground and got it done. I’m just wowed. As wowed as anybody out there.”
The Charlotte Roval was the final race in the Round of 16 playoffs and that meant four drivers would be eliminated from the Playoffs. At the start of the race, a few drivers had to go to the back. Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman and Parker Kligerman had to start at the rear of the field because they had to go to backup cars, Landon Cassill for unapproved adjustments and J.J. Yeley for making a driver change. Martin Truex Jr. also had an engine change at the end of final practice.
Stage 1: Lap 1- Lap 25
The Charlotte Roval provided action on the first lap as Bowman missed the backstretch chicane and spun out. Truex missed it as well and had to stop on the front stretch. A couple of laps later, Bowman and Bubba Wallace had to serve a pass-through penalty for not stopping after the incident.
The first caution waved on Lap 21, as the No. 47 of Ryan Preece wheel hopped the chicane on the backstretch. From there, a caution flew just a few laps before the first stage ended for a major pileup. Jimmie Johnson, Bowman, Erik Jones, Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Chris Buescher all wrecked in Turn 1 after a restart.
With the incident, Stage 1 ended under yellow with Kyle Larson as the winner. William Byron, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-10 finishers in the first stage. Larson was penalized for pitting outside the box under the stage break.
Stage 2 began on Lap 27 and went to Lap 50.
A few notable incidents happened in the second stage. Logano made a pit stop on Lap 37 before he came back to pit road after hitting a tire barrier in Turn 3. Then quite possibly one of the most notable incidents occurred on Lap 43, as Bowman retaliated against Wallace by wrecking him out on the chicane.
A seven-lap dash was set up for the ending of Stage 2. This time it was Chase Elliott with the win. Keselowski, Bowyer, Johnson, Harvick, Michael McDowell, Truex, Suarez, Paul Menard and Byron were the top finishers in the second stage.
Stage 3: Lap 54- Lap 109
A lot happened in the final stage. On Lap 61, the No. 8 of Daniel Hemric spun around in Turn 14 to bring out the yellow. Then a pivotal moment came in the race. With 45 to go on the restart, Elliott locked up the tires in Turn 1 and went sliding into the wall. However, he somehow managed to get away with little damage.
Another incident came on another restart with 43 to go, as Kyle Busch had a flat left front tire after making contact with Larson. Busch’s day went from bad to worse by being caught for driving through too many pit boxes. Then he was served a penalty.
Pit stops started to begin with 35 to go. However, Harvick cycled out as the leader with 29 to go. Just as soon as the stops ended, a caution was flown with 25 to go for Matt Tifft who went spinning around in Turns 5 and 6. Another caution was also seen with 21 to go, as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went spinning in the backstretch chicane.
On Lap 92 the eighth caution came out for a major accident with Hamlin, Newman, Preece and Menard in Turn 6. However, the term “cautions breed cautions” came into effect late in the race. Two more cautions were seen before the race was over. One was for the No. 41 of Suarez after contact with Newman. The final one was for an accident in Turn 8 for an incident involving Kurt Busch, Chris Buescher, Newman and Preece.
Due to an extensive cleanup, NASCAR was forced to fly the red flag with six laps remaining.
Elliott made the pass on Harvick with six laps to go after the restart and held on to win his third race of the season.
“It was one of the hottest races of the year for sure,” Elliott added to PRN Radio. “Was trying to make up as much time as I could. Obviously, I wasn’t going to catch Kevin (Harvick) without a caution. Just caught the cautions at the right time and had a couple of restarts that were mediocre I thought and the last two were really good. Luckily it felt like that, that’s not always me. You know, the timing and that, things kind of went our way.”
“Just appreciate the effort, what a win for Hendrick Motorsports right over at the home track for a lot of guys. Nonetheless, it feels a lot like it. Just a big thanks to everyone making this happen and we’ll go on to at Dover.”
Elliott led four times for 35 laps and picked up six playoff points.
There were 10 cautions for 23 laps and 13 lead changes among nine drivers.
Four drivers were eliminated from competing for the championship. Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman will not move forward in the Playoffs.
Making it to the Round of 12 are Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, William Byron, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman.
- Chase Elliott, won Stage 2, led 35 laps
- Alex Bowman
- Kevin Harvick, led 34 laps
- Clint Bowyer
- Brad Keselowski
- William Byron, led 23 laps
- Martin Truex Jr., led one lap
- Ryan Blaney
- Jimmie Johnson
- Joey Logano, led four laps
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Michael McDowell
- Kyle Larson, won Stage 1
- Aric Almirola
- Ty Dillon
- Paul Menard
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Chris Buescher
- Denny Hamlin
- Kurt Busch
- Ryan Preece
- Ross Chastain
- Austin Dillon
- Bubba Wallace
- Matt Tifft
- Parker Kligerman
- Corey LaJoie
- Landon Cassill
- J.J. Yeley
- Timmy Hill
- Joe Nemechek
- Ryan Newman
- Daniel Hemric
- Daniel Suarez, one lap down
- David Ragan, one lap down
- Garrett Smithely, OUT, Axle
- Kyle Busch, OUT, Suspension
- Josh Bilicki, OUT, Suspension
- Reed Sorenson, OUT, Electrical
- Erik Jones, OUT, Crash
Up Next: Now that the Round of 16 had concluded, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers head to Dover International Speedway next Sunday, Oct. 6 for the beginning of the Round of 12.