The Roval at Charlotte did not disappoint, as it was a very exciting race weekend for all of NASCAR. It was an unpredictable race, and it looks like will be a great race for years to come. The 17 turn configuration at Charlotte Motor Speedway tested the drivers in new ways that had never been seen in the playoff portion of the schedule.
It was exciting from the beginning of practice, as many drivers were forced to back up cars after crashing in the two chicane portions of the track. #41 Kurt Busch won the pole for the Bank of America Roval 400. The race was even crazier.
#42 Kyle Larson topped the field in stage one to pick up a playoff point. Which played a major role later in the race, as after the race only 12 drivers would remain in the playoff field. #12 Ryan Blaney won stage two. With about seven laps to go, #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr spun out in turn one to bring out a caution and ultimately set up a major change of events for many of the front runners of the field.
On the restart leader #2, Brad Keselowski and the rest of the field went into turn one and they missed the big left turn and slammed into the tire barrier, collecting many other cars all on the outside lane. The wreck included #42 Larson, #18 Kyle Busch, #21 Paul Menard, #6 Trevor Bayne, #8 Daniel Hemric, #13 Ty Dillon, #10 Aric Almirola, #43 Bubba Wallace Jr, #34 Michael McDowell, #24 William Byron, #12 Ryan Blaney, #31 Ryan Newman. Many of the drivers were knocked out of the race. Larson and Almirola continued. Larson’s car was trash, and yet he raced it until the end.
On the final restart, it came down to #78 Martin Truex Jr and #48 Jimmie Johnson, who had done what
he needed to do to advance in the playoffs, raced for the win, and coming into the chicane overused his brakes locking them up and spinning out, collecting Martin Truex and, clearing a path for #12 Ryan Blaney to win the inaugural running of the Roval. The final laps were exciting, and when Johnson tried that final move he lost his chance to advance.
Top 10 Results:
1st #12 Ryan Blaney
2nd #1 Jamie McMurray
3rd #14 Clint Bowyer
4th #88 Alex Bowman
5th #41 Kurt Busch
6th #9 Chase Elliott
7th #47 AJ Allmendinger
8th #48 Jimmie Johnson
9th #4 Kevin Harvick
10th #22 Joey Logano
Other Notables: #11 Denny Hamlin P12, #78 Martin Truex Jr P14, #10 Aric Almirola P19, #42 Kyle Larson P25, #20 Erik Jones P39, #2 Brad Keselowski P31, #18 Kyle Busch P32, #21 Paul Menard P33, #24 William Byron P34, #3 Austin Dillon P38
The playoffs have cut down to 12 drivers. It was a tight battle for the final two spots, in what ultimately was a three-way tie for those spots, #10 Aric Almirola and #42 Kyle Larson got in over #48 Jimmie Johnson, due to them having better finishes in the first two races of the playoff. Larson’s advancement is a little questionable, as his car was definitely to heavily damaged to meet the minimum speed, but I guess because it was a road course, I’m a bit unsure on how he was able to continue the race. I guess we will never know. Anyway here is a look at the playoff standings as they head to Dover for the first race of the round of 12.
1st #18 Kyle Busch 3055 points +47 above the cutoff
2nd #4 Kevin Harvick 3050 points +42 above the cutoff
3rd #78 Martin Truex Jr 3038 points +30 above the cutoff
4th #2 Brad Keselowski 3025 points +17 above the cutoff
5th #14 Clint Bowyer 3015 points +7 above the cutoff
6th #22 Joey Logano 3014 points +6 above the cutoff
7th #41 Kurt Busch 3014 points +6 above the cutoff
8th #12 Ryan Blaney 3013 points +5 above the cutoff
9th #9 Chase Elliott 3008 points -5 below the cutoff
10th #42 Kyle Larson 3006 points -7 below the cutoff
11th #10 Aric Almirola 3001 points -12 points below the cutoff
12th #88 Alex Bowman 3000 points -13 points below the cutoff
13th #48 Jimmie Johnson 2097 points Eliminated round of 16
14th #3 Austin Dillon 2071 points Eliminated round of 16
15th #11 Denny Hamlin 2056 points Eliminated round of 16
16th #20 Erik Jones 2046 points Eliminated round of 16
Check out the action on Sunday from Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware for the Gander Outdoors 400. NASCAR Playoffs round of 12 is going to be very competitive.