Elliott rebounds from crash to win NASCAR Cup Series Roval thriller

NASCAR

Chase Elliott crashed and then won an action-packed NASCAR Cup race at the Charlotte Roval as playoff positions for the round of 12 were decided.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver led home team-mate Alex Bowman, who secured his place in the next round of the post-season with the result.

It was very nearly a different story for Elliott though.

He had been the quickest driver for much of the 109-lap race and won stage two, but a lock-up on a restart early in the final segment of the race sent him careering into the barrier at Turn 1.

The damage from the shunt was minimal however, and Elliott was able to once again capitalise on his Chevrolet’s strong pace to move up from 37th to the lead in 37 laps after passing both Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick – the latter had assumed the lead after Elliott’s mistake and had led much of the final stage.

Harvick eventually finished third behind Bowman, with Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, and polesitter William Byron all getting by Truex late on.

Last year’s Roval winner Ryan Blaney finished eighth, ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano who completed the top-10.

There was nine caution periods in the race, including one for a spinning Bubba Wallace, who was turned by Bowman in retaliation for being ‘flipped off’.

The feud continued after the race with Wallace throwing a drink over a fatigued Bowman. Many of the caution periods came as a result of spins at the newly-reprofiled back stretch chicane, although not every spin at that part of the track resulted in a yellow flag in what was an evening of questionable calls from race control.

A single red flag was also brought out in the closing laps of the race while fluid from backmarker Garrett Smithley’s car was cleaned up.

The stoppage was made to prevent the race from losing any more green flag laps. During the red flag period, Kyle Busch elected to retire from the race.

At that point he was three laps down due to an earlier flat tyre, but had already secured his playoff spot.

Following the conclusion of the first stage of the race, Bush, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski all locked themselves into the next stage of playoffs in addition to Truex and Harvick who had already been confirmed to advance.

Elliott’s stage two win also locked him in on points, although his overall win cemented that. Stage one winner Kyle Larson also advanced, along with Bowman, whose second-place finish in the race proved key to his playoff ambitions.

While running in second place he looked set to miss out on advancing by a single point until Ryan Newman, who he was battling with in the standings, missed a chicane while fending off Aric Almirola further down the field in the closing stages of the race.

The result left Bowman and Almirola equal on points, but with the tiebreaker being the best race result in the round, Bowman’s second place in this race clinched it.

Blaney advanced with 10th place in the standings. His position hung in the balance during the race after he slowed with damage.

William Byron and Clint Bowyer claimed the final two advancement spots at the expense of Almirola, Newman, Kurt Busch, and Erik Jones who needed to win this weekend to advance, but retired on lap 24 with a punctured radiator.

Result – 109 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 3h20m58.s
2 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 3.024s
3 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 4.325s
4 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 6.044s
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 6.638s
6 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 7.775s
7 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 8.742s
8 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 9.440s
9 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 9.843s
10 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 10.310s
11 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 10.828s
12 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 12.109s
13 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 12.273s
14 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 12.441s
15 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 12.971s
16 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 13.980s
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 18.346s
18 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 19.502s
19 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 19.655s
20 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 20.170s
21 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 21.837s
22 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 26.180s
23 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 27.131s
24 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 27.741s
25 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 28.084s
26 Parker Kligerman Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 28.819s
27 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 29.236s
28 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 29.685s
29 J.J. Yeley Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 30.619s
30 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 31.043s
31 Joe Nemechek Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 40.549s
32 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46.637s
33 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.638s
34 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
35 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 1 Lap
36 Garrett Smithley Rick Ware Racing Ford Axle
37 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Suspension
38 Josh Bilicki Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet Suspension
39 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Electrical
40 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Accident

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