Chase Elliott wins at Charlotte roval after driving head-on into wall

Chase Elliott got his third win of the season at the Charlotte roval on Sunday. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott somehow won a race after driving head-on into the wall.

Elliott took the lead on the final restart Sunday at the Charlotte roval and won the final race of the first round of the playoffs. His teammate Alex Bowman finished second and advanced to the second round of the playoffs while Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were eliminated from the 16-driver field.

Elliott passed Kevin Harvick for the lead with less than six laps to go and pulled out to an easy win over Bowman, who worked his way to second. Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. didn’t need to push the issue because they were qualified for the second round thanks to their bonus points and performances through the first two races of the round.

The win came after Elliott committed a boneheaded mistake on a restart earlier in the third stage on lap 66. He had the lead of the race but locked the brakes and drove straight into the outside wall in Turn 1. Elliott made sure to do his celebratory burnout in the spot where he hit the wall earlier in the race.

“Holy moly, did y’all like that?” Elliott asked the crowd after the race. “What a mistake. Holy moly. You talk about messing something up. Right here. Don’t do that. What a day. Such a fast NAPA Camaro ... and that was the only reason we were able to get back in it.”

Newman misses out because he missed the chicane

Ryan Newman was about to make the playoffs until he missed the backstretch chicane late in the race. Newman locked up his brakes trying to hold off Aric Almirola and ended up missing the first corner of the chicane. That was a move penalized by NASCAR and allowed Bowman to sneak into the 12th and final spot in the second round of the playoffs.

Elliott led 35 of 109 laps

Elliott led approximately a third of Sunday’s race and was pretty much hung out to dry after he ran head-on into the wall. But thanks to four cautions over the final 20 laps of the race he was able to get back toward the front of the field and take the lead from Harvick with less than seven laps to go.

It’s the sixth win of Elliott’s career and the third of 2019 after he won at Talladega and Watkins Glen. When you couple the Glen victory with Sunday’s race Elliott can declare himself the road course champion of 2019.

The race was bonkers

Just like in 2018, the roval race did not disappoint. There were cautions for nine different crashes or spins as drivers struggled to get a grip on the unique track.

The absurdity factor was also heightened by NASCAR race control’s odd race officiating. NASCAR called a caution for Ryan Preece’s loner spin in the first stage but didn’t call cautions for other similar incidents later in the race. NASCAR also let the first stage end under caution after a restart wreck following Preece’s spin and there was a two-lap caution for Daniel Suarez’s third stage spin just after a one-lap caution for a four-car wreck just a few laps before.

It’s time to re-examine pit road penalties

Kyle Larson got a one-lap penalty because a crew member was trying to take tape off the front of his car as he left his pit box.

This was a one-lap penalty. (via NBC)

Meanwhile, Alex Bowman dumped Bubba Wallace on purpose with no penalty.

Doesn’t that seem incongruent to you? NASCAR would do well to completely redo the way it regulates pit road. It would make the racing in the sanctioning body’s three national series much more enjoyable.

Meanwhile, Wallace and Bowman had this interaction after the race.


Playoff standings

1. Kyle Busch, 3,046 points

2. Martin Truex Jr., 3,041

3. Denny Hamlin, 3,030

4. Joey Logano, 3,029

5. Kevin Harvick, 3,028

6. Brad Keselowski, 3,024

7. Chase Elliott, 3,024

8. Kyle Larson, 3,006

9. Alex Bowman, 3,005

10. Ryan Blaney, 3,004

11. William Byron, 3,001

12. Clint Bowyer, 3,000

Race results

1. Chase Elliott

2. Alex Bowman

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Clint Bowyer

5. Brad Keselowski

6. William Byron

7. Martin Truex Jr.

8. Ryan Blaney

9. Jimmie Johnson

10. Joey Logano

11. Matt DiBenedetto

12. Michael McDowell

13. Kyle Larson

14. Aric Almirola

15. Ty Dillon

16. Paul Menard

17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18. Chris Buescher

19. Denny Hamlin

20. Kurt Busch

21. Ryan Preece

22. Ross Chastain

23. Austin Dillon

24. Bubba Wallace

25. Matt Tifft

26. Parker Kligerman

27. Corey LaJoie

28. Landon Cassill

29. JJ Yeley

30. Timmy Hill

31. Joe Nemechek

32. Ryan Newman

33. Daniel Hemric

34. Daniel Suarez

35. David Ragan

36. Garrett Smithley

37. Kyle Busch

38. Josh Bilicki

39. Reed Sorenson

40. Erik Jones

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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