The NASCAR Cup Series has reached the end of another round in the playoffs and at the end of the Bank of America 400 on The ROVAL four more drivers will be eliminated from the list of playoff drivers and only eight will remain.
Going into today’s race, Chase Elliott is the only driver who has locked in a spot in the next round of playoffs after his win at Talladega last week. Currently Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell, and Alex Bowman are below the cut line and are facing elimination from the playoffs. After being out of the car for the second week, Alex Bowman has essentially ended his playoff bid. Daniel Suarez is the last driver above the cut line with 12 points above the line.
During practice several of the drivers missed the chicane.
Three of the Cup Series drivers are out for this week due to medical issues – Kurt Busch is still out with concussion symptoms and Ty Gibbs continues to drive in his place, Alex Bowman will miss a second week due to a concussion and Noah Gragson will sit in for Bowman, and after a crash in Texas left Cody Ware with a broken foot he has opted out of the race this weekend.
This weekend several of the drivers will be sporting pink window nets which will be autographed and auctioned after the race for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The retaining wall of Charlotte Motor Speedway has been painted pink in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Conor Daly makes his Cup Series debut with a crash that sent Daly to the infield care center and massive repairs to the number 50 car. Daly said that he lost all steering in the car and hit the wall. With 39 teams at the track, Daly will be in the race and start at the back of the field.
Also having to start the race from the back of the field are Aric Almirola who did not make a qualifying run after a mechanical issue that required an engine change and Josh Williams’ number 78 car failed the inspection process three times and has lost a crew member, their pit stall selection, the opportunity to qualify and will have to serve a pass through penalty upon race start.
A road course race, the drivers have 15 minutes for group qualifying. Each group will make a qualifying run and then the top five drivers from each group will make a run for the pole.
From Group A Tyler Reddick, William Byron, Joey Logano, Austin, Cindric, and Ross Chastain will move on to round two of qualifying.
Daniel Suarez, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, and Chase Elliott will move on to round two of qualifying from Group B.
Tyler Reddick and AJ Allmendinger are the only non-playoff drivers in the top 10.
Ross Chastain gets off the track and hits the tire barrier making his second qualifying run.
With a time of 1:20.755 seconds Joey Logano puts his number 22 car on the pole for his 25th career pole. William Byron will start alongside one the front row.
Hip-Hop artist Nelly performed for the crowd before the concert. He told Rutledge Wood that he wished all of the drivers good luck but will be rooting for Denny Hamlin.
The starting lineup for the Bank of America 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said on Countdown to Green that safety is the number one issue; but added nothing is better than an all driver meeting and admitted that they should have had one sooner. Going forward, NASCAR will have an all driver meeting every week.
Phelps noted that drivers are taking bigger hits and are working to make them safer for the drivers.
Speaking on the profitability of NASCAR, Phelps noted that the teams will get a larger revenue share but expenses are also an issue; however, he did not wish to give any specifics of the ongoing negotiations. He added that they are looking for the most competitive sport possible.
With the new Next Gen car, Phelps said that they have had the most passes in NASCAR history this season and there has been a record 19 winners this season.
The only driver locked in, Chase Elliott noted that it would be foolish to look forward to Phoenix – which is four races away; adding that he is taking it one week at a time.
Stages one and two of the race are 25 laps each with stage three lasting 59 laps for a total of 109 laps around the 2.3 mile road course.
With a 17 turn 2.32 mile road course, the drivers will be making around 20 shifts per lap.
After getting into the wall during qualifying, Ross Chastain’s crew had to make several repairs to the car and will have to start the race from the back of the field after the crew made some unapproved adjustments during repairs. Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Loris Hezemans will also have to start the race from the back of the field after crews made unapproved adjustments to the cars.
William Byron has led more laps on The ROVAL than any other driver in the track’s history.
Dale Earnhardt Jr called The ROVAL the Frankenstein of race tracks.
Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with William Byron alongside and the drivers get three wide going into turn one. Joey Logano gets out in front for the lead and pulls away from the field.
Lap two, Austin Dillon misses the front stretch chicane and has to come to a complete stop before continuing on in the race.
Joey Logano has a lead of nearly a second and a half on William Byron; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.
Lap three, Denny Hamlin started the race in 24th but has already moved up to 18th. After starting from the back of the field, Ross Chastain has dropped below the cut line in 28th place.
NASCAR has determined that Austin Dillon did not come to a complete stop and has to serve a penalty.
Lap five, Bubba Wallace missed the chicane and spun out but the track stays green. Wallace has to make an unscheduled trip down pit road for fresh tires.
Lap five, Joey Logano holds his second and a half lead on William Byron; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.
Lap eight, Joey Logano continues to lead the race but William Byron has cut into the second and a half lead; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five. There has been no change in position for the top five drivers since the start of the race.
Lap 10, Joey Logano has a one second lead on William Byron; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney continue to round out the top five. In 24th place, Ross Chastain is one again back above the cut line in seventh place; tied with Denny Hamlin.
Alex Bowman has officially been ruled out of the playoff race.
Lap eleven, all 39 cars are on the track and on the lead lap.
Very few of the drivers have advanced their positions on the track so far.
Lap 12, William Byron has cut the lead on Joey Logano to under a second; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney continue to hold their spots in the top five.
Lap 15, Joey Logano continues to lead the race but is only half a second in front of William Byron; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney continue to round out the top five.
Lap 17, the top five continue to be Joey Logano, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, and Ryan Blaney.
With six laps to go in stage one, Joey Logano’s lead is now under half a second on William Byron; Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick ,and Ryan Blaney continue to round out the top five.
Pitting form 21st, Ross Chastain comes down pit road for service.
Drivers who are short pitting the end of stage one are beginning to come down pit road for service. NASCAR closes pit road two laps before the end of any stage.
Four laps remain in stage one; more drivers come down pit road for service. Pit road has become a busy place.
Three laps remain in stage one, leaders stay out on the track but the fourth place driver Tyler Reddick makes a pit stop.
Ty Dillon’s crew was charged with coming over the wall too soon and Dillon will have to serve a penalty.
Joey Logano wins stage one.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Drivers who did not stop before the stage now come down pit road for service. Joey Logano who reported a number of issues as the race went on won the race off of pit road.
Bubba Wallace made contact with Daniel Suarez trying to get into his pit stall.
Chase Briscoe’s crew reports that they might not have gotten all of the lug nuts secured.
After short pitting, Tyler Reddick leads the race with AJ Allmendinger alongside and brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 30 and holds on to the lead.
Lap 30, the top five are Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell.
Michael McDowell passes Christopher Bell for fifth.
Lap 31, AJ Allmendinger passes Tyler Reddick for the lead.
An Xfinity Series regular, AJ Allmendinger has won all four of the ROVAL races he has entered including the race yesterday.
Lap 33, AJ Allmendinger has a lead of over half a second on Tyler Reddick; Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Michael McDowell rund out the top five.
Lap 38, AJ Allmendinger reports that he is a little loose but has a lead of over a second on Tyler Reddick; Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.
Corey LaJoie and Noah Gragson are side by side as they miss the chicane and have to come to a complete stop.
Lap 40, AJ Allmendinger has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Tyler Reddick.
Lap 43, AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the race and now has a 2.5 second lead on Tyler Reddick; Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.
Ross Chastain missed a chicane and had to serve the penalty of coming to a complete stop. The infraction cost him one position.
Daniil Kvyat is out of the race.
Lap 45, Kyle Busch is the first driver to come down pit road for service short of the end of stage two.
AJ Allmendinger is reporting that his second gear is getting stuck occasionally and may be causing some damage to the engine.
Lap 46, Denny Hamlin comes down pit road to short pit stage two.
Lap 47, more drivers short pit the end of stage two.
Three laps remain in stage two, AJ Allmendinger has a four second lead on Tyler Reddick as more drivers make pit stops.
Leader AJ Allmendinger and the remainder of the top five come down pit road for service. Ross Chastain is the new leader.
Ross Chastain wins stage two.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Drivers who did not short pit come down pit road for service with Ross Chastain winning the race off of pit road with Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez right behind him.
AJ Allmendinger brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 55 with Tyler Reddick alongside. Tyler Reddick gets out in front for the lead with Allmendinger in second; Justin Haley, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five. Chase Elliott passes Justin Haley for third.
Drivers are spread out three and four wide across the track; including through the chicanes.
Loris Hezemans gets into the wall but the track stays green.
Chase Briscoe reports that the tow is knocked out of his car after some on track contact.
Lap 56, Tyler Reddick has a half second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
The drivers cannot complete stage three on a single load of fuel and will have to make a stop at some point during the stage. They can run around 38 laps on a single load of fuel.
All of the drivers still on the track – 38 – are on the lead lap.
There is a bit of smoke coming from Harrison Burton’s car after some on track contact.
Lap 59, the drivers can run about eleven more laps before their pit window opens to make it to the end of the race on one more load of fuel.
Lap 62, Tyler Reddick has a one second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.
Conor Daly is on pit road with a possible electrical issue inside the car.
Daniel Suarez is reporting that the engine is getting hot and the power steering is going away. He is dropping through the field and losing points with every pass.
There are 37 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 65, Tyler Reddick’s lead is down to just over half a second on AJ Allmendinger.
Lap 66, the top five are Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, and Kevin Harvick.
Lap 68, Tyler Reddick holds a lead of just over half a second on AJ Allmendinger; Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Daniel Suarez continues to fall through the field with no power steering and has now fallen below the cut line. Suarez reports that he cannot finish the race under the current conditions.
Lap 71, the fuel window is now open to make it to the end of the race on a single load of fuel. Christopher Bell is the first driver to come down pit road.
In previous races, there has been an average of eight caution flags per race. Today, the only caution flags have been for the stage breaks.
Daniel Suarez has gone one lap down as he continues to battle with the car with no power steering.
Lap 73, more drivers come down pit road for service.
Coming down pit road, Joey Logano reports that he is free everywhere.
Lap 73, leader Tyler Reddick comes down pit road for service. AJ Allmendinger is the new leader.
Lap 74, the top five are AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Michael McDowell, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon.
Several more drivers come down pit road for service.
Lap 75, AJ Allmendinger comes down pit road for service and gives the lead over to Michael McDowell.
Lapp 77, Michael McDowell makes hi pit stop and gives the lead over the Erik Jones.
Lap 78, Chase Elliott takes the lead with Erik Jones over two seconds back; Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
The 99 crew is working on a plan to try and make some repairs to Daniel Suarez’s car and hopefully get him back above the cut line.
AJ Allmendinger’s crew chose to wait three laps past Chase Elliott’s stop in order to assure that they had enough fuel in case the race goies into overtime.
Lap 81, Chase Elliott leads the race with Tyler Reddick in second; AJ Allmendinger, Erik Jones, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Lap 83, Daniel Suarez finally comes down pit road for service and to work on the power steering issue.
Ross Chastain is off the pace after hitting the wall and knocking the car out of whack. The rear of the car is visibly shaking. Something is apparently broken and will have to come down pit road for repairs.
Austin Cindric hits Joey Hand in the rearend but the track stays green.
With 23 laps remaining in the race, there are 31 cars on the lead lap.
Ross Chastain has taken his car to the garage for repairs with a right rear suspension issue.
Chase Elliott has a four second lead on Tyler Reddick; AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, and Justin Haley round out the top five.
Back on the track, Daniel Suarez’s car is moving faster but he is three laps down.
Twenty to go, Chase Elliott is four and a half seconds in front of Tyler Reddick; AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, and Justin Haley round out the top five.
Lap 92, Daniel Suarez is back on pit road with continuing power steering issues. Ross Chastain is out of the garage and back on the track. Chase Elliott has a five second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, and Justin Haley rounds out the top five.
Tyler Reddick missed a chicane and had to service a penalty. He drops to third place over 12 seconds behind the leader. Chase Elliott has a 4.6 second lead on AJ Allmendinger.
Corey LaJoie gets off the track after some contact with Daniel Suarez but makes a run through the grass to get back on the track and the track stays green.
Ten to go, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race but AJ Allmendinger has closed the gap to under four seconds on Elliott.
Corey LaJoie makes contact with Daniel Suarez in retaliation of the earlier contact in the chicane.
Kyle Larson is on pit road with a tow link issue. Sitting on pit road, his 20 playoff points is the only thing keeping Larson in the top eight of playoff drivers.
Just eight laps to go, Chase Elliott has a four second lead on AJ Allmendinger; Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, and Justin Haley round out the top five.
Daniel Suarez has lost power steering again and is fighting with the car to keep going. He is currently five points below the cut line.
Kyle Larson’s car is repaired and is back on the track again with just six laps to go.
At 47 green flag laps, it is the longest green flag run in the past five ROVAL races.
With just five laps to go, NASCAR throws the first caution flag of the race for an on track incident when a sign is on the track after coming unglued from the wall.
There are only 25 cars on the lead lap. Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez are both five laps down.
Some of the drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and a little extra fuel.
Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with just three laps remaining in the race. Going into turn one several of the cars make contact including Michael McDowell and Noah Gragson. AJ Allmendinger gets out in front but Kevin Harvick passes for the lead. Chase Elliott makes a run through the grass after contact form Tyler Reddick. The drivers were four wide going into turn one and never let up.
Christopher Bell moves up to second with KevinHarvick in second.
More drivers make contact in the chicane and the drivers get more aggressive.
Kevin Harvick has a one second lead on Tyler Reddick with Christopher Bell in third; AJ Allmendinger and Justin Haley round out the top five.
Christopher Bell gets into second but the caution flag comes out after a piece of one of the curbs is out on the track.
The race goes into overtime.
Martin Truex Jr comes down pit road with a flat tire.
NASCAR has red flagged the race to make repairs to the curb.
As the race goes into overtime, fuel becomes an issue for some of the drivers.
After repairs to the curbing, the red flag has been pulled and the yellow flag is back out and the drivers are moving again. A few drivers comes down pit road for fresh tires and a splash of fuel.
Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the overtime shootout with Christopher Bell alongside. Harvick and Bell go side by side and drivers wreck going into turn one. Christopher Bell passes Kevin Harvick for the lead.
Austin Cindric gets turned around in the chicane.
Christopher Bell takes the white flag as more drivers spin out around the track.
Christopher Bell wins on The ROVAL and earns a spot in the next round of the playoffs. After getting five laps down with a mechanical issue, the reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson is out of the playoffs. Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric, and Alex Bowman are also eliminated from the playoffs.
Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell are in the next round after race wins; Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Ross Chastain, and Chase Briscoe will also be moving on to the next round.
Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe were the only playoff drivers to finish the race in the top 10.
The unofficial results of the Bank of America 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr