For the first time this playoffs, a postseason driver takes the checkered flag as Chase Elliott wins with a last lap pass at Talladega. In a postseason that has seen four playoff spoilers winning races, Elliott locked himself into the Round of 8. Meanwhile, Ryan Blaney, the only playoff driver to not a win a race so far this season, just missed out on his first win as Elliott beat him to the finish line.
CHASE ELLIOTT’S IMPRESSIVE RUN CONTINUES
The win continues Elliott’s impressive run this season. He has won five races, more than any other driver on the circuit and is currently sitting atop the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series standings. Right now, he’s the only driver locked in the Round of 8 with one race to go before four drivers are eliminated. Next up is the Charlotte Roval, a track where Elliott has won half the races since it was added to the circuit in 2018.
ROUGH WEEKEND FOR RICK HENDRICK
While Chase Elliott visited Victory Lane in his Rick Hendrick Racing Chevrolet, it was a rough weekend overall for NASCAR’s premier owner. NASCAR docked 25 points from William Byron for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin at Texas. The penalty knocked the youngest Hendrick driver out of the Top 8 in points. He needs a win, or an excellent performance with some help to make it to the Round of 8.
On top of Byron’s penalty, Alex Bowman sat out of Talladega after suffering a concussion in a crash at Texas. Right now, it’s unclear if he will be able to run the Charlotte Roval. He’s currently sitting 12th in points and will be eliminated if he’s unable to run. Concussions are incredibly tricky, and we’ve already seen Kurt Busch miss several races and miss his chance at the playoffs after suffering one earlier this season. If Bowman is ready to go Sunday, great. If he’s not, don’t rush back. Bowman should prioritize his health over a race, season or even a potential championship.
Here’s a look at the NASCAR playoff standings after Talladega:
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Ross Chastain
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Larson
- Daniel Suárez
- Chase Briscoe
- Austin Cindric
- William Byron
- Christopher Bell
- Alex Bowman
As I said, the next race on the circuit is the Charlotte Roval. There have been four NASCAR Monster Energy Cup races there with Chase Elliott winning two of them. Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson won the other two. It’s an interesting race to the cutoff as Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric are actually tied with Briscoe holding the tiebreaker. But a win by William Byron, Christopher Bell or a returning Alex Bowman could throw a whole new monkey wrench into this already wild season.
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