Corey LaJoie nearly became the 14th different Cup winner Sunday in what would have been “a Cinderella story” before Chase Elliott used a block to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his third series victory of the year.
Even with a win LaJoie would have needed to be in the top 30 in points to be eligible for the playoffs, but a win would have moved him closer to that reaching that requirement.
Christopher Bell finished 19th and remains in the last spot to make the 16-driver playoffs. He leads Kevin Harvick by 19 points. Bell finished seven spots behind Harvick but scored six stage points to Harvick’s zero. Bell’s lead on Harvick declined by only one point.
Seven races remains in the regular season.
The Cup Series next goes to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET Sunday on USA Network).
Austin Hill’s win at his home track Saturday at Atlanta was his second victory of the season. Severn drivers have claimed a playoff spot by wins, leaving five spots available by points.
Landon Cassill holds the final playoff spot. He has an 80-point lead on Anthony Alfredo with nine races left in the regular season. The next race for the Xfinity Series is Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network).
Camping World Truck Series
Parker Kligerman’s victory Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course did not change the playoff picture since Kligerman is running a partial schedule.
Eight drivers have clinched a playoff spot, leaving two spots available. Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton hold those final two spots. Crafton is in the last transfer spot. He has a 19-point lead on Derek Kraus.
The series next races July 23 at Pocono Raceway (12 p.m. ET on FS1). That is the final race before the playoffs begin.