Larson rallies to win at the Charlotte Roval, Playoff’s Round of 8 set

Not even an early electrical issue could prevent Kyle Larson from continuing his quest for his first NASCAR Cup Series championship after the Elk Grove, California, native rallied to lead the final eight laps and win the Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday, October 10.

The victory gave Larson an automatic pass to the Round of 8 in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the penultimate round in the Playoffs was determined and left some big names out of the championship battle.

The starting lineup was based on a performance metric formula, weighing the driver’s and owner’s results from a previous Cup event, the owner points position and the fastest lap recorded from a previous Cup race. With that, Playoff contender Denny Hamlin started on pole position and was joined on the front row with Brad Keselowski.

Prior to the event, Garrett Smithley dropped to the rear of the field due to his car failing pre-race inspection twice.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Hamlin and Keselowski dueled for the lead  through the first four turns until Hamlin was able to break free and clear Keselowski. Exiting the infield turns, Hamlin continued to lead through the backstretch oval turns, the backstretch chicane and the frontstretch chicane as he led the first lap.

Behind Hamlin, Joey Logano started to challenge teammate Kesleowski for second while Ryan Blaney and Christopher Bell battled for fourth ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.

The following lap, Hamlin continued to lead by more than two seconds while Logano muscled his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang into the runner-up spot over Keselowski’s No. 2 Wurth Ford Mustang. While Blaney settled in fourth, Elliott moved his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE into fifth over Bell entering Turns 5 and 6. 

By the fifth lap, Hamlin was leading by more than two seconds over Logano while Blaney, Keselowski and Elliott were in the top five. Bell was in sixth followed by Larson, William Byron, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch while Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman were in 11th and 12th, all of whom were in the Playoffs. Behind, Aric Almirola spun in the backstretch chicane following contact from Chris Buescher but continued under green.

Three laps later, Hamlin stabilized his advantage to more than two seconds over Logano as Blaney, Keselowski and Elliott remained in the top five. By then, Truex, who started fifth but was struggling with early pace, slipped back to 13th behind Kurt Busch. Meanwhile, Austin Dillon was in 14th ahead of teammate Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace was in 18th behind rookie Chase Briscoe, Matt DiBenedetto was in 20th in between Buescher and Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger was in 24th behind Corey LaJoie, Ryan Newman was in 25th ahead of Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer, and rookie Anthony Alfredo was in 31st ahead of Justin Haley.

A lap prior to the competition caution scheduled on Lap 10, the strategic game began as names like Harvick, Bell, Truex, Bell, Kyle Busch, Suarez, Corey LaJoie, Erik Jones, Briscoe, Buescher, Cole Custer, DiBenedetto and Almirola pitted under green. During the pit stops, Bell was penalized for speeding on pit road.

Just as Hamlin was returning to the frontstretch to complete the 10th lap, he directed his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry to pit road along with Byron, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain. Hamlin’s move allowed Logano to inherit the lead as the competition caution flew.

Under the competition caution, some led by Bubba Wallace pitted while others led by Logano remained on the track.

When the race resumed on Lap 13, teammates Logano and Blaney dueled for the lead through the first three turns until Blaney emerged as the new leader exiting the infield turns and entering the oval turns. 

In the backstretch chicane, Keselowski spun off the front bumper of Bowman, which moved Larson and Hamlin to fourth and fifth behind Elliott while Bowman fell back to 11th behind Harvick. Keselowski, meanwhile, was in 38th.

By Lap 15, Blaney was leading by nearly eight-tenths of a second over teammate Logano while Elliott, Larson and Hamlin, the first competitor on fresh tires, were in the top five. Allmendinger was in sixth ahead of Kyle Busch, Byron, Kurt Busch and Harvick while Truex, Bowman and Bell were in 12th, 15th and 16th.

Five laps later, the second caution of the event flew when Ryan Newman, who spun a lap earlier in the infield turns, lost a right-rear tire, spun again and wrecked in Turn 14, narrowly avoiding Keselowski.

Under caution, some led by Larson and Hamlin pitted while the rest led by Blaney remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Hamlin was assessed a speeding penalty.

With three laps remaining in the second stage, the race restarted under green. At the start, Blaney jumped ahead on the outside lane before Allmendinger crossed over beneath Blaney and challenged him for the top spot through the first three turns. Shortly after, Allmendinger, winner of Saturday’s Xfinity event at the Roval, assumed command while Elliott challenged Blaney for the runner-up spot, which he succeeded exiting Turn 8.

The following lap, Allmendinger was ahead of nearly four-tenths of a second over Elliott while Blaney, Truex and Logano were in the top five. Behind, Matt DiBenedetto missed the backstretch chicane and was forced to come to a stop before continuing to serve his penalty. In addition, Ryan Preece got turned exiting the front stretch chicane following contact with Logano, but the race continued under green.

On the final lap of the first stage, Elliott issued a challenge on Allmendinger for the top spot exiting the infield turns. Behind, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact with Kyle Busch exiting the backstretch chicane, but Busch prevailed ninth. 

Following a brief fight against Allmendinger exiting the infield turns and returning to the oval turns, Elliott prevailed through the backstretch chicane. Elliott’s late perseverance and charge allowed him to come back around through the frontstretch chicane and win the first stage on Lap 25, which marked his fourth stage victory of the season. Allmendinger settled in second followed by Blaney, Truex, Logano, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Byron, McDowell and Harvick. By then, Larson was in 11th, Bowman was in 14th, Hamlin was mired in 21st and Bell was back in 26th.

Under the stage break, some led by Elliott pitted while the rest led by Allmendinger remained on the track.

The second stage started on Lap 29 as Allmendinger and Kyle Busch occupied the front row ahead of Byron, McDowell, Harvick and Larson. At the start, Kyle Busch muscled his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry into the lead following a battle with Allmendinger from the second turn through Turn 5. Shortly after, Byron moved his No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to second place. Behind, Harvick and Larson battled for fourth.

Through the first 30 laps of the event, Kyle Busch was leading by half a second over Byron while Allmendinger, Larson, Harvick, Austin Dillon, McDowell, Bowman, Custer and Suarez were in the top 10. Hamlin was in 13th, Keselowski and Bell were in 15th and 16th, Elliott was in 19th and Blaney was in 24th ahead of Truex and Logano.

Three laps later, the fourth caution of the event flew when Stenhouse made contact and turned Chase Briscoe in a cloud of smoke across the frontstretch. 

Under caution, some led by Larson and Allmendinger pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch remained on the track. During the pit stops, Larson’s crew popped the hood of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE open to change the battery. Teammate Bowman’s crew also popped the hood open on the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to replace an alternator belt with plans on replacing the battery following the second stage.

When the race restarted on Lap 35, Kyle Busch launched ahead with the top spot entering the first turn while Harvick moved into second place ahead of Byron, Austin Dillon, McDowell and Suarez. 

Two laps later, Kyle Busch was leading by one-and-a-half seconds over Harvick and Byron, both of whom were currently scored below the top-eight cutline to the Playoff’s Round of 8. Behind, Elliott was up in sixth behind McDowell, Hamlin was in eighth, teammate Bell was in 11th, Blaney was in 16th, Keselowski was in 20th behind Allmendinger, Logano was in 21st, Truex was in 23rd, Bowman was in 29th and Larson was in 30th.

Through the first 40 laps of the event, Kyle Busch continued to lead by a second over Harvick while Byron, Austin Dillon and Elliott were in the top five. Behind, LaJoie came to a full stop after missing the frontstretch chicane. In addition, Bell drove through the grass in Turns 5 and 6. Earlier, Wallace came to a stop after missing the frontstretch chicane.

By Lap 45, Custer spun entering the first turn, but the race proceeded under green. By then, Kyle Busch was out in front by more than a second over Harvick while Elliott was up in third ahead of Byron and Austin Dillon. By then, Larson was in 18th behind Logano, Keselowski and Truex while Bowman was in 22nd behind Bell.

A few laps later, Chastain, Wallace and LaJoie pitted under green. Not long after, Byron, Austin Dillon, Allmendinger, Hamlin, Almirola, Briscoe, Suarez, DiBenedetto, Bell, Buescher, Kurt Busch, Custer Tyler Reddick, McDowell and Alfredo pitted.

Back on course, Kyle Busch continued to lead ahead of Harvick, who had rival Elliott charging for the runner-up spot. Following a smooth lap around the 17-course turn, Kyle Busch was able to claim his sixth stage victory of the season with the second stage concluded on Lap 50. Elliott overtook Harvick to settle in second followed by Blaney, Logano, Larson, Keselowski, Truex, Bowman and Byron.

Under the stage break, Bowman pitted while pit road was closed to have a voltage regulator on his car changed, which resulted in a penalty for Bowman to start at the rear of the field. Once pit road opened for the field, a majority of the field led by Kyle Busch pitted while others led by Byron and Austin Dillon remained on the track. Meanwhile, Larson’s crew went to work to change the alternator belt while giving Larson four fresh tires and fuel to last to the end. As the field began to stack up for a restart, Larson’s crew was able to repair the mechanical issue and get the driver back out on the lead lap while behind the field.

With 56 laps remaining, the final stage commenced. At the start, Byron was able to retain the lead over Austin Dillon entering the first turn and the infield turns as the field fanned out and jostled for positions. 

At the halfway mark between Laps 54 and 55, Byron was leading by a mere margin over Austin Dillon while Hamlin, Suarez and Allmendinger were in the top five. Just then, the caution returned when Elliott, winner of the previous two Cup Roval events, got hit by Harvick and sent into the wall in between Turns 7 and 8, which damaged the rear end and deck lid of Elliott’s car. As Elliott tried to continue through Turn 8, he made contact with Custer and spun below the apron. Despite the damage and a reported broken track bar, Elliott managed to continue as he was slated in 37th. The incident, however, reignited Harvick and Elliott’s rivalry following their confrontation at Bristol Motor Speedway in September, where Elliott cost Harvick an opportunity to win.

With 52 laps remaining, the field restarted under green. At the start, Byron retained the lead while Hamlin battled Austin Dillon for the runner-up spot ahead of Suarez. Shortly after, Allmendinger, who was in fifth, fell off the pace due to an engine issue entering the backstretch chicane, which forced the field to scatter to avoid Allmendinger’s Kaulig Racing machine as the Californian took his car to the garage.

Down to the final 50 laps of the event, Byron, coming into the Roval in a “must-win” situation, was leading by more than a second over Austin Dillon while Hamlin, Reddick and Suarez were in the top five. By then, Harvick was in 13th in front of Blaney, Kyle Busch was in 20th in between Keselowski and Truex, Larson was in 23rd behind Wallace, Bowman was in 26th and Elliott was mired in 36th, the last car on the lead lap. By then, Larson and Kyle Busch were barely above the top-eight cutline while Harvick, Elliott, Bell and Bowman were the four competitors scored below the cutline.

Ten laps later, Hamlin missed the backstretch chicane while trying to overtake Austin Dillon for the runner-up spot and served his penalty by coming to a full stop on the frontstretch chicane. 

When the field returned to the front stretch, Byron remained in the lead by over Austin Dillon while Reddick, Kurt Busch and Buescher were in the top five. Hamlin fell back to sixth ahead of Suarez, DiBenedetto, Blaney and Chastain. Harvick was in 11th ahead of Erik Jones, Bell was in 14th in front of Logano, Larson moved up to 16th ahead of Keselowski and Kyle Busch was back in 18th ahead of teammate Truex and Bowman. Elliott, meanwhile, was mired in 34th and gaining no ground on the leaders. 

A few laps later, Reddick, who was one of the fastest cars on the circuit, overtook teammate Austin Dillon for second as he trailed Byron by less than three seconds. 

With 35 laps remaining, Larson, who was in the top 15, ignited green flag pit stops as he pitted followed by Bell. A lap later, Harvick and Logano pitted along with Kyle Busch, Truex, LaJoie and Briscoe. Another lap later, Byron surrendered the lead to pit along with Reddick, teammate Austin Dillon, Keselowski, Blaney, Suarez and Erik Jones.

Soon after, Kurt Busch, who led a lap, pitted his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, giving the lead to Buescher and Hamlin. By then, Wallace, Preece, Custer and Joey Hand also pitted.

With 30 laps remaining, Hamlin, who has yet to pit, was leading followed by DiBenedetto and Byron, who was trailing by more than 14 seconds. 

Two laps later, Hamlin pitted and gave the lead back to Byron, who had Tyler Reddick closing in on him for the lead. By then, Elliott, whose rear bumper cover was loose, was 86 seconds behind and on the verge of being lapped by his Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate.

With 23 laps remaining, the caution flew when the rear bumper cover from Elliott’s car came off on the backstretch. Under caution, a majority of the field led by Byron pitted while the rest led by Hamlin and DiBenedetto remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Bowman was busted for speeding on pit road, which sent him to the rear of the field and negatively affect his hopes of advancing to the Round of 8.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Hamlin retained the lead as the field fanned out and jostled for positions entering the first turn. Behind, Reddick moved up to second while Byron battled for third against DiBenedetto. Behind, Kurt Busch and Larson battled for fifth with the latter prevailing. 

Through the backstretch chicane, Keselowski spun again and caused a stack up to the competitors running towards the back. With the race remaining under green, Byron ignited a battle on Reddick for second as Hamlin continued to lead by a narrow margin. 

Just then, Byron missed the backstretch chicane after getting hit by Reddick while running in front of Reddick and Larson in second. Despite stopping on the backstretch, the penalty was costly for Byron, who needed to win to keep his title hopes alive.

Back at the front, Hamlin was leading by more than a second over Larson, Reddick, DiBenedetto and Kurt Busch. Logano was in seventh, Blaney was in ninth ahead of Kyle Busch, Byron was back in 12th ahead of Harvick and Truex. Bell was in 17th while Elliott was in 21st behind LaJoie. Bowman was mired back in 29th. 

Shortly after, the eighth caution of the event flew when LaJoie smacked the Turn 2 wall following contact with Custer as Joey Hand also collided into the wall.

Under caution, some including Stenhouse, Alfredo, Preece, Keselowski, Almirola, Bowman, LaJoie and Hand pitted while the rest led by Hamlin remained on the track.

With 14 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Hamlin launched ahead with another strong start while Reddick battled Larson for second as the field fanned out entering the first turn. Shortly after, Larson issued a challenge for the lead over Hamlin. Through the infield turns, Larson squeaked ahead with the top spot, but Hamlin fought back through the backstretch chicane as Reddick also challenged Larson for the runner-up spot through Turn 13. Behind, Kurt Busch missed the frontstretch chicane after slipping.

Back at the front, Hamlin was leading by a narrow margin over Reddick, who prevailed over his late battle and contact with Larson as Buescher was in fourth. Behind Logano moved up to fifth over DiBenedetto while Harvick, Byron and Kyle Busch were in the top 10. Elliott, meanwhile, was in 17th while Keselowski was in 24th. 

Then with 11 laps remaining, Kevin Harvick’s title hopes for 2021 evaporated after he locked up the front tires of his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang and pounded against the barriers in Turn 1 while running in the top 15, thus damaging the front nose of his car. At the time of the incident, Elliott had caught Harvick, but Harvick’s incident involved no contact with Elliott. 

“I just pushed [the car] in there too hard,” Harvick, who was released from the care center and deflected any comments over his incident with Elliott, said. “I got the tire locked up and I couldn’t stop it once I felt like I needed to go, to get a couple spots back that I’d lost and I got the left front locked up, but I couldn’t get it to turn. Sometime, real life teaches you good lessons.”

Under caution, some including Elliott, Truex and Keselowski pitted while the rest led by Hamlin remained on the track.

Down to the final eight laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Hamlin pulled ahead through the first turn, but Larson made his move and took over the lead exiting Turn 4. Behind, Reddick moved up to second while Byron battled Buescher for fourth. 

Through the backstretch chicane, Byron muscled his way up to third, but he now had seven laps to return to the front and maintain his title hopes. 

The following lap, Larson was ahead by nearly a second over runner-up Reddick and less than two seconds teammate Byron. Behind, Buescher maintained fourth while Hamlin was back in sixth behind teammate Kyle Busch. Meanwhile, Bell was in ninth, Bowman was in 14th, Elliott was in 20th and Keselowski was in 28th behind Truex. 

With five laps remaining, Larson continued to lead by less than a second over Reddick, who had Byron trying to pressure him for the runner-up spot. 

Down to the final two laps, Larson stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Reddick and Byron. Just then, Byron’s title hopes dwindled as he spun and damaged his No. 24 car in Turn 5. Despite the incident, Byron continued as the race remained under green. Earlier, Truex spun on the backstretch following contact with Joey Hand.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Larson remained in the lead by more than a second over Reddick. Behind, Buescher moved up to third followed by Kyle Busch and Hamlin. Byron, meanwhile, continued in 11th ahead of teammate Elliott.

Navigating his way through the 17-turn course smoothly, Larson, who was scored outside the cutline early, came back around and claimed the checkered flag for the first time on the Roval and for the seventh time in 2021.

With the victory, Larson became the third different winner at the Charlotte Roval as he achieved his third road course victory of 2021. In addition, he notched his 13th career win in the Cup Series and swept both Cup Charlotte events of the season.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, that’s for sure,” Larson said on NBC. “I don’t know. I didn’t even really feel that good early, started changing some things up. [The crew] were doing a good job, letting me know what to do inside the cockpit to get better. About that time, I noticed my battery was going low, so I was gonna stress out. I’m like, ‘Man, I’m not gonna get knocked out of the Playoffs like this.’ It wasn’t looking too good. Thankfully, everybody on our No. 5 car did a great job of staying calm. [Crew chief] Cliff [Daniels], as always, did a great job communicating with me with what was going on, getting the battery changed, alternator, whatever it takes to get our battery staying running. Just an awesome day for Hendrick Motorsports and glad to get another win. Looking forward to the next round a lot.”

Reddick settled in second place for the third time in his Cup career while Buescher, Kyle Busch and Hamlin finished in the top five. DiBenedetto, Logano, Bell, Blaney and Bowman ended up in the top 10 on the track.

After settling in 12th place and earning enough points to advance to the Round of 8, Elliott maintained his composure when expressing his side of the incident with Harvick.

“[I’m] Really proud of our team,” Elliott said. “Our NAPA team did a really, really good job of fixing this [car]. It is destroyed and I think we finished 12th. Our team has a lot of fight and I’m just super proud of that. As far as Kevin goes, just wanna wish them Merry Offseason and a happy Christmas. It’s all good. Just glad we’re moving on. Proud of our team. We’re just eyes forward and just excited to be moving on. That’s the big picture. That’s really all that matters to me and our group, so we’ll keep fighting and see where we end up.”

Photo by Ted Seminara for SpeedwayMedia.com.

Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski have transferred into the Round of 8 in the Playoffs. Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman have been eliminated from title contention.

“Glad to finally be able to finish one today,” Kyle Busch said. “Thanks to M&M’s, all the guys on the team. [They] Did a good job, brought a good car, got the most out of it. We won that [second] stage. That helped a little bit for the reset going into next week and gave us one more point. Overall, we got everything we could out of it today. I wished there was more, but it kind of seemed like once everybody got strung out, that was about it. There wasn’t a whole lot of comers and goers throughout the runs, so overall, that’s kind of where we stacked out.”

“We got the good out of [the car],” Logano said. “So much for keeping it clean. That was the plan. Just ended up having a rough day, but ended up finishing seventh or even a shot at a top-five or top three even towards the end of the race there. Proud of our Shell/Pennzoil team. I got into [Ryan] Preece and dumped him early in the race. That was just my mistake. Overall, hey, we’re moving on to the Round of 8. It’s a great accomplishment, we’re proud of that. On to the next three [races] and try to score a bunch of points, maybe, or get a win. That might be the easiest way doing it, but we’ll maximize our races and get every point we can.”

“I was behind two guys side-by-side getting into the bus stop, so we’re all checked up, just trying to not get run over when we get run over,” Truex said. “I don’t know what the hell [Hand] was thinking. Riding around the back all day and he drives through a Playoff car for no reason. Luckily, we were able to come through, make it, pulled out some stage points. Really, that was the difference. Good strategy, terrible race car. We sucked. It was awful…It was just absolute garbage. Glad we made it. That’s all I can say, I guess. Thanks to everybody for all the support this year. Go on to the next round, see what we can do. It’s all reset.”

“Just not a good day,” Keselowski said. “[I] Had some decent speed. I think we could’ve run about 10th all day. Had a couple of restarts where we just kind of got ran over. We fought back from that best we could with the Wurth Ford Mustang. Salvaged what we could with a 20th-place day, but nowhere near what we were hoping for. Enough to get on and go to Texas.”

“Ultimately, we just weren’t good enough,” Bell said. “Made a lot of mistakes out there. We just weren’t fast enough. Bummer, but we’ll have to move on and I think we’ve got opportunities to win races every time we go to the race tracks. Building a notebook between me and [crew chief] Adam [Stevens]. Really proud to be in this No. 20 group, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Got good race tracks coming up and we’re gonna go out there and give it our all, and end the season on a high note.”

“Unfortunate,” Bowman said. “It’s tough to make a car live long here without any brake fans and tire cooling. [Crew chief] Greg [Ives] and all the guys on this Ally No. 48 team did such a good job, I guess, letting me know what I needed to do, to get it to the finish line and what I could and couldn’t do with fans. We put a battery in it at one point and kind of went from there. I’m exhausted. I’m just mentally drained after the roller coaster that was, but good to get a top 10. Wished we had more. Congrats to [Larson]. The kid’s superhuman. Bummed we’re not in the next round.”

Following the event, Byron, who ended up in 11th, had a post-race conversation with Reddick to express his displeasure over being hit by Reddick late in the event while battling towards the front and caused Byron to miss the backstretch chicane.

“I just passed [Reddick] off of Turn 8 and I guess he had [Larson] inside of him,” Byron said. “Just lack of awareness, like hit me in the back bumper right as I was downshifting to first gear, so there was no way I was going to make the chicane. It’s the lightest the car can be right there, so I don’t get it. He and I and [Larson] racing for the win and [Hamlin] had old tires, and we were in a good position. Just stinks, but just not the round we wanted. Definitely tough finishes, tough results, but we had speed in two of the three races to definitely advance. Thanks to Valvoline and Chevrolet…It was definitely looking like it was gonna be a really good day, even after the caution, looking like we were gonna have a shot to win. I was just too bad at the end there. Made a mistake and could’ve finished third, but finished 11th. Just stinks.”

“Unfortunately pretty straightforward,” Reddick said. “Just made a mistake, one that meant a lot. Slight bump, maybe a press like this is all it really took to cause wheel-hop, for [Byron’s] car to go sliding off. I hate that, wasn’t in any way what I was trying to do. If I was trying to do that, I would’ve hit him a lot harder. I hate that it happened. I hate that it did what it did. He was racing for everything just like I was. Obviously, his stakes were higher, but just unfortunate.”

There were 15 lead changes for 10 different leaders. The race featured nine cautions for 18 laps. Thirty-one of the 39 starters finished on the lead lap.

Results.

1. Kyle Larson, eight laps led

2. Tyler Reddick

3. Chris Buescher, one lap led

4. Kyle Busch, 22 laps led, Stage 2 winner

5. Denny Hamlin, 25 laps led

6. Matt DiBenedetto

7. Joey Logano, four laps led

8. Christopher Bell

9. Ryan Blaney, 10 laps led

10. Alex Bowman

11. William Byron, 30 laps led

12. Chase Elliott, two laps led, Stage 1 winner

13. Daniel Suarez

14. Bubba Wallace

15. Austin Dillon

16. Michael McDowell

17. Erik Jones

18. Cole Custer

19. Ryan Preece

20. Brad Keselowski

21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

22. Chase Briscoe

23. Ross Chastain

24. Aric Almirola

25. Kurt Busch, two laps led

26. Anthony Alfredo

27. Joey Hand

28. Josh Bilicki

29. Martin Truex Jr.

30. Quin Houff

31. Scott Heckert

32. Timmy Hill, one lap down

33. Kevin Harvick – OUT, Accident

34. Garrett Smithley, 13 laps down

35. Corey LaJoie – OUT, Accident

36. Cody Ware – OUT, Accident

37. Justin Haley – OUT, Engine

38. AJ Allmendinger – OUT, Engine, five laps led

39. Ryan Newman – OUT, Accident

Bold indicates Playoff contenders.

Playoff standings.

1. Kyle Larson – Advanced

2. Denny Hamlin – Advanced

3. Martin Truex Jr. – Advanced

4. Ryan Blaney – Advanced

5. Kyle Busch – Advanced

6. Chase Elliott – Advanced

7. Joey Logano – Advanced

8. Brad Keselowski – Advanced

9. Kevin Harvick – Eliminated

10. Christopher Bell – Eliminated

11. William Byron – Eliminated

12. Alex Bowman – Eliminated

The Round of 8 in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will commence next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The event will occur on Sunday, October 17, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. 



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

Andrew Kim
An avid motorsports enthusiast from California with aspirations of working in any form of communications, PR or digital/social media in motorsports.

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