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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson wins at Charlotte Roval

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Larson overcame an alternator issue in the first half of the 109-lap Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday to claim his NASCAR Cup Series-leading seventh win of the season and sweep the two 2021 Cup Series points races at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway — the first on the 1.5-mile oval and Sunday on the Roval oval/infield road-course hybrid circuit.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, that’s for sure. I don’t know. I didn’t even feel that good early,” Larson said. “Started changing some things and they 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 getting stressed out. Like, man, I’m not going to 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. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief), as always, did a great job of communicating with me and what was going on and getting the battery changed and the alternator changed and whatever it takes to get our battery running. But, man, my HendrickCars.com Chevy was good.”

Larson took his race-winning lead from Denny Hamlin on the final restart on lap 102. Hamlin fell back to fifth by the checkered flag. 

“I feel like we had a good day, just made a few mistakes with missing the chicane and speeding on pit road (early in the race) but came back from that,” Hamlin said. “Just kind of was in between trying to decide if we should pit or not, and who knows, I’m not sure we had enough speed to beat the 5 [Larson] out right. We held those guys off as long as we could on the older tires. Just fell back to fifth.”

Non-playoff drivers Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher finished second and third. Kyle Busch finished fourth.

Sunday’s race was the elimination race of the second round, or round of 12, of the playoffs. Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman were eliminated from the playoffs, despite top-10 race finishes (Bell eighth and Bowman 10th). William Byron was eliminated from the playoffs after finishing 11th at the Roval and so was Harvick after a lap-99 crash and 33rd-place finish.

Hamlin took the lead by being one of three drivers who stayed out during a caution for debris from Chase Elliott’s car on lap 87. The rear bumper fell off Elliott’s car as a result from a crash that started with contact from Harvick on lap 55, contact that Harvick acknowledged was payback for an incident at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway a few weeks earlier.

“You remember Bristol,” Harvick said.

Eliott, unlike Harvick, though, managed playoff advancement with a 12th-place race finish.

Byron led several laps early in the second half of the race. He pitted late in the second stage that ended on lap 50 and stayed out during the caution that followed the stage to inherit the lead. He first gave up the lead to pit during a green-flag cycle of stops on lap 76 but cycled back to the lead on lap 82. He gave up the lead, again, to pit during the caution when the bumper cover fell off Elliott’s car. After three drivers, including Hamlin, stayed out and a few others beat Byron out of the pits, Byron restarted sixth.

Byron quickly got back up to second in the running order before a penalty for missing the backstretch chicane on lap 91 because of contact from Reddick. Meanwhile, Hamlin continued to lead.

Hamlin started on the pole and led early before giving up the position to pot just before a lap-10 competition caution. Most drivers pitted during the first stage that also included a caution for Ryan Newman on lap 20. Drivers including Elliott, A.J. Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney waited until after the first stage to make initial pit stops. 

Elliott took stage-one win on lap 25 by passing Allmendinger on the final lap of the stage.

Busch took the lead from Allmendinger on the restart for stage two and dominated the second 25 laps for a stage-two win at lap 50.

After leading laps in the first half of the race, Allmendinger fell out of the event with a blown engine on lap 58.

Other top-10 finishers included Matt DiBenedetto in sixth, Joey Logano in seventh, and Blaney in ninth.

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Posted by on October 10, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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