In just its second year of competition, the Charlotte Roval stands out as one of the biggest unknowns in NASCAR. This weekend, the pandemonium was on full display as the NASCAR Playoffs took on all 17 turns. From Chase Elliott going hard into the wall in Turn 1 to the battle for the final playoff positions for round two to tempers flaring, the Charlotte elimination race had it all.
For Elliott, winning at Charlotte officially locked him into the second round of the playoffs and stopped Martin Truex Jr.’s two-race winning streak. But it wasn’t easy for Elliott, who locked up his brakes after a lap 65 restart and fell to 37th. Elliott battled through the field and finally took the lead for good with just five laps remaining.
For his teammate Alex Bowman, who finished second, more was on the line than just winning. Bowman was trying to advance to the second round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, and he had to come from the rear of the field to best Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman for the final spot.
And while Elliott was lamenting his mistakes in Victory Lane, Bowman overcame mistakes throughout the weekend. With just 25 seconds left in practice, he crashed and was forced to go to a back-up car. If that wasn’t enough for Bowman, he spun on the backstretch early in the first lap of the race. That spin was followed by being turned sideways on lap 23 in a six-car wreck. And then, on lap 42, Bowman spun Bubba Wallace at the exit of the backstretch chicane. And post-race, Wallace was still seething from the accident and threw a drink in Bowman’s face.
Truex Jr., Elliott, and Bowman join Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, William Byron and Ryan Blaney as the drivers to advance to the second round.
In addition to Almirola and Newman being eliminated from the playoffs, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were also eliminated.