Kyle Larson overcomes electrical issues, wins at Charlotte Roval


Kyle Larson claimed his seventh win of the NASCAR Cup Series season in Sunday’s Round of 12 playoff elimination race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

MORE: Roval Cup race results, driver points

Larson’s car suffered early electrical issues that forced his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team to change the battery and alternator belt.

But the regular season champion quickly climbed back into contention. And off the race’s final restart with eight laps to go, Larson muscled past Denny Hamlin – who had already advanced into the Round of 8 via his win at Las Vegas – for the lead before going on to win.

Non-playoff drivers Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher finished second and third, respectively. Kyle Busch and Hamlin rounded out the top five.

In post-race comments to NBC Sports, Larson admitted some trepidation over the electrical problems and that he was aware they’d put him below the cutline to advance for a period of the race.

“Obviously, I had a pretty good idea,” Larson said. “I’d gone through it here a few years ago in the (No.) 42 (car). When you think you’re good and all of a sudden, you’re running, like, 40th, you’re like, ‘Well, I’m down below the cutline!’

“I knew I was going to have some sketchy moments. I just had to pick my way through traffic and stay calm. And we had some good restarts there near the end. I was able to kinda use my tire damage to get under Denny and squeeze him out of real estate off of (Turn) 4 there.”

Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, William Byron and Alex Bowman all were eliminated from the playoffs.

Harvick’s exit came after his playoff feud with reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott resumed during the race’s final stage.

At Lap 55, contact from Harvick sent Elliott into the Turn 7 wall. At Turn 8, Elliott’s heavily damaged car appeared to move toward Harvick but instead clipped Cole Custer.

That sent Elliott and Custer spinning to trigger a caution. After the wreck, conversation over Elliott’s team radio centered on payback against Harvick.

But as it turned out, Elliott didn’t have to resort to those measures.

With 11 laps to go, as Elliott was lurking behind Harvick on the frontstretch, Harvick locked up his brakes at Turn 1 and slid into the SAFER Barrier.

Following Harvick’s crash, Elliott’s team radio promptly weighed in: “Karma.” “Yes sir, it is.”

When Harvick was released from the infield care center, he was asked by NBC Sports if his earlier contact with Elliott stemmed from their prior clash this postseason at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Sometimes, real life teaches you good lessons,” Harvick said. He left the next question, ‘Are you guys even?’ unanswered.

Elliott, who finished 12th, later chimed in from pit road afterward.

“Our team has a lot of fight and I’m super proud of that,” he told NBC Sports. “As far as Kevin goes, I just want to wish them a merry offseason and a Happy Christmas.”

Harvick’s crash set up the eight-lap run to the finish. Larson got past Hamlin and then managed the gap to Reddick for the rest of the race.

Needing a win to advance, Byron made a valiant effort to keep up with Larson and Reddick heading to the checkered flag.

With 19 laps to go, contact from Reddick caused Byron to miss the backstretch chicane, which forced Byron to serve a stop-and-go penalty.

But with two laps left, Byron went off-course in the Roval’s infield section. He finished 11th, not enough to keep his postseason going.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Elliott

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Before Kyle Busch’s fourth-place finish Sunday, he had finished 32nd, 37th and 30th in his three previous Roval starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: One day after winning Saturday’s Xfinity playoff race on the Roval, engine failure saw AJ Allmendinger out Sunday after 57 laps. … Ryan Newman was the first to drop out Sunday after a crash at Lap 19 broke the rear-end housing on his car.

NOTABLE: Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was found with two lug nuts not safe and secure during post-race inspection. That means his crew chief, Ben Beshore, will be suspended for next week’s Round of 8 playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway and fined $20,000 by NASCAR.

NEXT: Sunday, Oct. 17 – Round of 8 opener at Texas Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBC)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.