Should NASCAR eliminate yellow line rule at Talladega?

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NBC Sports analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Jarrett say that NASCAR should do away with the yellow line rule after the finish of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway was impacted by it.

NASCAR said it will not change the rule. The rule serves as an out-of-bounds mark on the inside portion of the 2.66-mile speedway. The rule is in place only at Talladega and Daytona.

Denny Hamlin won after going below the yellow line and on to the apron on the final corner of the last lap. NASCAR ruled Hamlin went down there to avoid a wreck and was not guilty of an infraction. NASCAR ruled that Matt DiBenedetto forced William Byron below the yellow line on the last lap. DiBenedetto, who crossed the finish line second, was penalized and dropped to 21st in the finishing order.

NASCAR penalized Chase Elliott for passing below the yellow line on the last lap but rescinded that after the race, giving Elliott his fifth-place finish back. Instead, NASCAR penalized Chris Buescher for forcing Elliott below the yellow line. Buescher crossed the line sixth but was dropped to 22nd, the last car on the lead lap, with the penalty.

“I got a great idea for everybody,” Earnhardt said on the NBCSN post-race show. “How about we just get rid of the yellow line rule? Nobody really wants to see the races come down to these types of decisions. I don’t think it’s going to crash more cars than we crashed today.

“It’s kind of frustrating to have to make the decisions. I know NASCAR doesn’t want to be put in this position, so let’s just get rid of it from here on out. Just let these guys race it out, at least in the last few laps. They’re going down there below the yellow line anyways. It takes everybody sort of out of the position of having to make these types of calls because it’s not fun.

“Definitely kind of agree with the decision they made per the rule and how it’s written, but we could just get rid of it altogether. It would be great with me.”

Jarrett said on NBCSN’s post-race show: “Let me just say there are two Dales, I’m going to put my name in there with Dale Jr. saying let’s get rid of this yellow line where NASCAR doesn’t have to be what we would call put in this position.

“I’m not saying Denny shouldn’t have won the race there or what Matt DiBenedetto was doing and the contact that was created on the last lap, I don’t think he deserves to finish 21st. … Let’s get rid of that (rule) where you’re not put in that position.”

Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said officials will not change the rule.

“I mean, outside of putting a wall there, I don’t really know what more we can do,” he said. “I do sincerely believe we need the rule. You see all the real estate that’s around here. If we started having cars running 12 wide down the back straightaway, imagine what would happen when you get to Turn 3.

“I think it’s important that we continue to have a rule. You get out there in the heat of battle, things happen. It’s hard when there’s all that real estate down there, but you just can’t do it. I don’t think that we can eliminate it. I think it would be a mess. We kind of are where we are.”

Some drivers agreed with Miller after the race.

Winner Denny Hamlin

“Absolutely (agrees with the rule). I’ve been a victim of getting forced down there all the time. Finally they put their foot down and said, ‘This is the rule, we’re going to enforce it.’

“You can’t as a leader, wherever you are, use the yellow line as a defense. You have to play within the boundaries that they set. … They set the precedence early (in the race) so you know you weren’t going to get away with it. It’s part of it. I wouldn’t say I would have done anything different if I was Matt. I don’t know. I’m not a huge blocking guy. I don’t always think you have to block to win.”

Runner-up Erik Jones

“I think you’d probably see more wrecks without (the yellow line rule), guys being able to dive down there, trying to make big moves. You’d probably see more accidents than what we have now.

“I don’t honestly know what to do to make it better. I know it’s unfortunate when it comes down to the end of the race, it becomes a judgment call. … It is unfortunate when you have to make those calls, put people out of the race for something like that. But I honestly don’t know what I would change if I was in that position to make it any better.”

Third-place finisher Ty Dillon

“The rule doesn’t need to be changed. It’s a product of what’s going on right now. These cars are a bit easier to drive, stuck to the ground harder. The runs are happening twice as fast as they ever have.

“Guys going below the yellow line, you got guys going for a win, guys not trying to wreck. … We know the rules before we get here. I think if you were to open it up and take the yellow line away, you’re going to have guys blocking all the way down to the grass, have twice as big of wrecks.

“I don’t think we want to open up that can the worms. We have plenty of racetrack we can go four‑ or five‑wide on. It’s a product of what we do. I don’t see anybody at any fault for any reason. I don’t think anybody tried to bend the rules to get an advantage. I think it’s just a product of what happens here.”

AJ Allmendinger to return to NASCAR Cup Series in 2023

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AJ Allmendinger is getting another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Allmendinger, currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will drive full-time in Kaulig entries in the Cup Series next season.

Allmendinger raced in Cup from 2007 to 2018 but won only one time — at Watkins Glen International — across those years. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kaulig in 2019, winning on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is a favorite to win the Xfinity championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Allmendinger, 40, will drive Kaulig’s No. 16 car in Cup next year. Justin Haley will drive the team’s No. 31.

Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next year.

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure. But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

MORE: Chase Elliott atop NASCAR Power Rankings

Team owner Matt Kaulig said Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.”

Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Charlotte Roval

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Sunday provides a final chance for drivers to advance to the Round of 8 and keep their Cup championship hopes alive.

Talladega winner Chase Elliott is the only driver who has advanced to the next round. That leaves seven spots available going into Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Chase Briscoe holds the final transfer spot by a tiebreaker over Austin Cindric. At least for now.

William Byron is 11 points behind both drivers, but Hendrick Motorsports will appeal Byron’s 25-point penalty from Texas on Thursday. Should Hendrick win and Byron get those points back, he would move into a transfer spot.

There’s just part of what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

Favorites to be No. 20

This season remains tied for the most different winners in series history at 19, but there are a few candidates who could become the 20th different winner this year on Sunday.

Among the favorites to do so:

Ryan Blaney, who came close to winning last week at Talladega, won the inaugural Cup race at the Roval in 2018.

Martin Truex Jr., who has four career Cup wins on road courses, still seeks his first victory of the season.

Michael McDowell, who is coming off a third-place finish at Talladega, has had a career-high 12 top-10 finishes this season, including top 10s in each of the last four road course events this year.

Will history repeat?

Last year, the four drivers eliminated after the Roval were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

Harvick was eliminated in the first round this year, but Byron (-11 to the cutline) and Bell (-33) are in jeopardy of being eliminated in this round again. Bowman stated Tuesday that he will miss his second consecutive race because of continued concussion symptoms. He will be among the four eliminated from title contention.

Bowman missed last weekend’s race because of concussion-like symptoms suffered at Texas. A decision on if he’ll be able to race at the Roval will come later this week.

Will chaos continue?

Consider what some of the former Roval winners have endured on their way to the checkered flag:

In 2019, Chase Elliott drove into the Turn 1 wall on a restart while the leader. He recovered to win.

In 2020, Elliott overcame a loose wheel to win for the second year in a row.

In 2021, Kyle Larson won after his team changed batteries and put the alternator belt back on.

Could a similar fate be in store for this year’s winner? Or will they have a cleaner day?

Entry lists

Thirty-nine drivers are entered including IndyCar driver Conor Daly, former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former 24 Hours of Daytona winner Joey Hand. JJ Yeley will drive the No. 51 for Cody Ware, who stated that he would skip this event because of his ankle injury at Texas the footwork needed on a road course.

Charlotte Roval Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.

Charlotte Roval Xfinity entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, Oct. 8

Forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 66 degrees. No chance of rain during the Xfinity race.

  • 10 – 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3 p.m. — Xfinity race (67 laps, 155.44 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 9

Forecast: Sunny with a high of 64 degrees. No chance of rain during the race.

  • 2 p.m. — Cup race (109 laps, 252.88 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

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Hailie Deegan announced Tuesday that she will make her Xfinity Series debut Oct. 15 Las Vegas Motor Speedway on NBC and Peacock.

The 21-year-old Deegan is in her second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. She finished a career-high sixth in that series last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

She will drive the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt.

 

 

Alex Bowman to miss Charlotte Roval race

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Alex Bowman announced Tuesday night on social media that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup playoff race at the Charlotte Roval.

Bowman said on social media: “I am continuing to make strides in my recovery to make sure I can return to competition at 100%.”

This will be the second consecutive race he will have missed because of concussion-like symptoms after his crash at Texas Motor Speedway.

Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 car this weekend for Bowman.

“Alex’s health is our first priority,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement. “We’re focused on supporting his recovery and seeing him back in his race car when the time is right. Alex has a long career ahead of him, so we will invest the necessary time and take our guidance from medical experts. We’re putting no pressure on him to return before he’s 100% ready.”

Bowman will be one of the four drivers eliminated from title contention Sunday.

Also Tuesday, Cody Ware announced that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup race at the Charlotte Roval, as he continues to recover from the ankle injury he suffered at Texas.