CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on NASCAR’s playoff elimination race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (all times local):
Chase Elliott recovered from a costly mistake to win NASCAR’s first elimination race and advance into the second round of the playoffs.
NASCAR’s second trip to The Roval, a hybrid road course and oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was sloppy from start to finish on a scorching hot Sunday. Temperatures inside the cars hovered near 120 degrees during a late red-flag stoppage.
Elliott passed Kevin Harvick on the inside as they raced through a chicane with five laps remaining to earn his third victory of the season. Earlier in the race, he locked his brakes on a restart as the leader and drove directly into a tire barrier.
He celebrated the win by returning his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the same tire barrier, nosing it in and burning his tires in white, billowy puffs.
The attention was on the bottom of the 16-driver championship field to see which four drivers would be eliminated from the playoffs.Ryan Newman gave away his chance at advancing when he missed a chicane trying to hold off Aric Almirola.
It allowed Almirola to pass him, cost Newman a point that swung in Alex Bowman’s favor and earned Bowman a spot in the second round.
Newman, Almirola, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were eliminated from the playoffs.
Chase Elliott has won the second stage of Sunday’s elimination race on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the points awarded clinched him a spot in the second round of the playoffs.
Elliott drove through the field on fresh tires and snatched the lead away from Brad Keselowski with one lap remaining in the stage.
Clint Bowyer finished third in the stage to pick up critical playoff points that may help him advance into the second round. He started the day in the bottom four of the 16-driver field in danger of elimination.
Kyle Larson won the first stage but his race fell apart minutes later when he was penalized for pitting outside the box during the stops at the end of the stage. He had to return to pit road, where he was forced to sit in his car for a lap. He rejoined the field in 35th, one lap off the pace.
Larson had rallied to 17th by the end of the second stage.
Alex Bowman continued to have a rough race and was involved with an on-track incident in which he spun Bubba Wallace. The contact appeared to be deliberate and Bowman told his team over the radio he was aggravated with Wallace and accused Wallace of flipping Bowman the middle finger for several laps in a row.
Kyle Larson has won the first stage of Sunday’s elimination race on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Larson got past pole-sitter William Byron in the first turn of a restart, just seconds before a multi-car crash brought out the caution. The stage ended under the yellow flag.
The first stage was problematic for playoff driver Alex Bowman, who spun and had to stop for a tire change, then had to return to pit road as a penalty for missing a chicane. He also was collected in the final caution of the stage.
Erik Jones headed to the garage with damage from that late accident, likely ending his run in the playoffs after the first round. His car failed inspection after last week’s race and the penalty dropped him to last in the 16-driver standings. Jones likely needed to win at Charlotte to advance to the second round.
Charlotte native William Byron will lead the field to green at home track Charlotte Motor Speedway with his championship chances on the line.
The playoff field of 16 drivers will be cut by four at the end of Sunday’s race and Byron sits in the final transfer spot. He holds a two-point advantage over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman, who was in danger of elimination even before he crashed in final practice and had to go to a backup Chevrolet.
Bowman had qualified second for an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row, but going to the backup car requires him to forfeit his starting spot and go to the back of the field.
He’ll be joined by playoff drivers Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. at the back. Hamlin went to a backup after crashing Friday, while Truex needed an engine change. Truex has already advanced to the second round by winning the opening two playoff races.
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