Chase Elliott has become a master of road course racing with a dominating performance in the Bank of America 400 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL
Is Chase Elliott the best road course driver in the NASCAR Cup Series? After capturing the Bank of America 400 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL, few will argue otherwise. It was the third win of the season for the 24-year old, and fourth straight on a track where right turns are mandated.
“I just had another really fast NAPA Camaro and really appreciate the effort,” said Elliott. “I feel like road courses have been fortunate to us the last few trips, but I feel like we just try to get a little better every time and tweak on the small things. I feel like I tweaked on some small things and got a little better than what I was here last year, which was good.
Elliott clinches a spot in the Round of 8 with his victory, besting Joey Logano by 3.895-seconds. Logano. who had his best finish at the ROVAL, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., and Alex Bowman all advance to the next round. Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch were already in with wins.
Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer will not. They started the day below the cutoff line and were unable to advance their positions.
Elliott is still two wins shy of Gordon’s overall record total of six straight on road courses, but with six of those tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series 2021 schedule, he is probably already licking his chops to make a run at the Hall of Famer. If you want to know just how dominant Elliott is, his career winning percentage is 42-percent.
“It’s always special to win here at Charlotte with the shop being right across the street,” Elliott continued. “I appreciate all the effort there. The best way to get into the next round is to win and so, hopefully, we can do something with it.”
BANK OF AMERICA 400 PRERACE NOTES
(Bob Pockrass tweet) “(Denny) Hamlin said a media availability that drivers did get a text from NASCAR last night, and some decisions today might be different as far as when to red flag. As (AJ) Allmendinger said yesterday, hydroplaning could be even more an issue for Cup cars b/c lower to the ground than Xfinity.”
Before taking the green flag today, Charlotte Motor Speedway honored Jimmie Johnson with a historic mural of his victorious moments at the track and a $48,000 scholarship fund.
All cars cleared tech inspection, but Josh Bilicki will start at the rear due to driver change in the No. 51 Mustang. Joey Gase was on the original entry list. Each team gets eight sets of tires plus four ‘wets.’
LAP 1 of 109 (252.88 miles): Denny Hamlin (pole) and Chase Elliott led the field of 38 to the green flag. Competition caution at Lap 10. The race started with only two drivers locked in for the Round of 8 – Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Four – Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola – need a victory or an excellent finish with a lot of help to advance.
-> For the first time in Cup history, cars will roll off pit row on white-letter wet tires despite just overcast conditions, although there was standing water in some corners. Should that change, it will be the first time since the 1950s that the Premier Series will compete in the rain.
-> Erik Jones had an electrical issue unable to start while on pit row. As his crew tried to make quick repairs, one member climbed inside his No. 20 Camry, and NASCAR penalized him by sending him to the back of the field. Jones was supposed to start P14.
Lap 10: Competition Caution. Top ten: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Ty Dillon, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick. Elliott passed Keselowski on Lap 8. Most drivers who pitted took on another set of wet tires, but Ty Dillon and Ryan Newman went with slicks. Restart Lap 13. Clint Bowyer, who needs a great day, passes Truex for the lead on Lap 14.
LAP 21: Driving on slicks, Ty Dillon overtakes Clint Bowyer on wet tires for the top spot. Other teams were filtering in for green-flag stops to change out of wets. Denny Hamlin goes off trach but gets back. CAUTION LAP 22. John Hunter Nemechek stuck in Turn 6 grass. Teams still on wets come in to swap out tires. Restart with one to go in the opening stage.
LAP 25: End Stage 1. Ty Dillon jumps out to the lead on the restart and holds on to take his first the green-white checkers. Joey Logano was the only playoff driver in the top ten. KEVIN HARVICK CLINCHES SPOT IN ROUND OF 8. After stops, all cars now on slicks. Austin Dillon gets sent to the rear for pitting when pits were closed. JJ Yeley penalized for pitting outside his box. Green Lap 29 with Christopher Bell, DiBenedetto, Byron, Blaney, and Ryan Newman, the top-five. Ty Dillon falls back to P25. Yeley and Nemechek only cars off the lead lap. William Byron moves to P1 at Lap 30.
LAP 45: JJ Yeley slides into the grass in Turn 5 and cannot free himself until after the caution came out. All leaders pit. Ryan Blaney, desperate for a win to advance, is now P36, one lap down because he pitted when the yellow flag came out. Two lap shootout to the end of the stage. Ryan Blaney out front, but Kyle Busch has a tire down after contact with Clint Bowyer.
LAP 50: End Stage 2. Ryan Blaney holds on for his fourth stage win of the year. Kyle Busch managed to stay on the lead lap after changing out flat tire but is P35. Aric Almirola is back on the lead lap, but like Busch, he needs to march through the field and win the race outright to advance to the next round. Christopher Bell, William Byron, and Tyler Reddick did not pit and will restart at Lap __ in front. Chase Elliott pitted after the green for a loose wheel. Denny Hamlin suffers a lot of damage after contact with James Davison.
BANK OF AMERICA 400 STAGE 3
LAP 56: William Byron, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, and Kurt Busch, the top-five. Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch are the bottom two below the cutoff line -63 and -33, respectively.
LAP 64: Ty Dillon goes off track in Turn 6 and gets back on track seconds after the caution. James Davison gets the Lucky Dog. Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch, only playoff drivers inside the top-ten. Restart Lap 67. William Byron on point, but Bowyer is now trying to chase him down. He needs a victory because he is -27 at this point. Jimmie Johnson, who has a dozen wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, has moved inside top-five.
LAP 69: Two drivers below the cutoff line are involved in the latest caution. Kyle Busch gets into the right-rear quarter-panel of Austin Dillon, sending him into a spin in Turn 16. Unable to continue on his own, Dillon getting help back to pit row. There were some significant changes off it, with Aric Almirola the biggest gainer +10. Ty Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth pick up nine spots. But Kurt Busch was first off, followed by Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, and Almirola. Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the field to green, but Stenhouse got spun in the first turn by Bubba Wallace.
LAP 72: Ryan Blaney spins out as the leader. Kyle Busch skipped the pits at the last caution and is suddenly back in play for the win in P7. So is Almirola in P10. Ryan Preece is the surprise leader, just ahead of Alex Bowman. With 32 to go, Busch is just outside the cutoff line in ninth but still down 31 points to Bowman. Rain getting close to the track.
27 TO GO: Ryan Preece drops back to P5 after being passed by Bowman, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch. Bowman passed by Elliott one lap later. Busch inside two seconds behind the leader.
LAP 86: Caution For debris coming off Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Camry. After the yellow, Matt Kenseth goes into the tire barrier just before Turn 3. Kyle Busch didn’t pit and told to save fuel hoping for another caution or rain for better gan mileage. He cannot make it to the end if it stays green to the end. He will restart on the front row next to Chase Elliott. Hamlin, Jones, and Blaney round out the top-five. Busch shoots out to a big lead with 20 to go. Erik Jones overtakes Busch as dows Elliott pushing Busch back to P3. Elliott now on point after a great crossover move on Jones with 17 to go.
LAP 96: Brennan Poole stalls on the track in Turn 9 to bring out the caution. Restart with ten to go: Elliott, Jones, Kurt Busch, Logano, and Hamlin, the top-five. Logano moves into P2. Elliott has a one-plus second lead. Elliott took the lead from Erik Jones on Lap 92 and never looked back.
STAGE 1-2 TOP 10 FINISHERS – LAPS 25 / 50
1 – Ty Dillon, Bell, DiBenedetto, Byron, Hill, Newman, Blaney, Logano, Wallace, Erik Jones.
2 – Blaney, Elliott, Bell, Truex, Logano, Bowman, Byron, Reddick, McDowell, Keselowski
/ 1 day ago
The Hollywood Casino 400 was the first race in the Round of 8, and...
/ 2 days ago
NASCAR officials have confirmed that Kyle Larson has asked for a chance to return...