Kyle Larson wins Bristol Cup playoff race


A clash between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick helped Kyle Larson claim victory in Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

With 35 laps to go, Elliott and Harvick were racing for the lead when they made contact that cut Elliott’s left front tire. Elliott went to the pits and lost several laps. When he returned to the track, he ran Harvick hard while earning one of his laps back.

MORE: Bristol Cup race results, driver points

As Elliott ran ahead of Harvick, Larson closed. With four laps to go, Larson was able to barely get in front of Harvick in Turn 4. Harvick responded by getting into Larson’s rear bumper, but Larson held on to the lead and held on to win.

While Larson celebrated his series-leading sixth win of the season, Elliott and Harvick had a tense conversation on pit road.

In their initial post-race comments to NBCSN, Harvick said he told Elliott that his tactics in the closing laps were a “chickens**t move.”

Elliott contended that Harvick ran into him while racing for the lead and that “whether he did it on purpose, it doesn’t matter – at some point, you gotta draw the line.”

Following those interviews, the two drivers were later spotted continuing to hash it out in the hauler area. They then entered Elliott’s hauler and talked privately for about 10 minutes.

Larson said that the Elliott-Harvick dispute helped swing the race in his favor.

“Obviously, Harvick and Chase got together,” Larson told NBCSN. “Chase was upset, kind of held him up. It got Harvick having to move around and use his tires up off the bottom.

“I started to get some (diamond lines) working off of (Turn) 2, got a big run, decided to pull the trigger, slide him, squeeze (Harvick) a little bit. Then he had me jacked up down the front stretch. It was wild.”

William Byron finished third to claim the final transfer spot to the Round of 12 by two points over Tyler Reddick and Aric Almirola. Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman completed the top five finishers.

The four drivers eliminated from the playoffs were Reddick, Almirola, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Bowman’s fifth-place finish snapped a four-race streak of finishing 16th or worse at Bristol. … Erik Jones and Matt DiBenedetto finished eighth and 10th, respectively, to lead the non-playoff drivers.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Poor speed and handling from his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet rendered six-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch (finished 19th) a non-factor. He entered the night tied on the cutline to advance.

NOTABLE: Kurt Busch suffered his fourth first-round elimination since the debut of the current playoff format in 2014. That’s the most of any driver.

NEXT: Sunday, Sept. 26 – Round of 12 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.