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Charlotte Roval penalty report

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NASCAR announced just one penalty from last weekend’s races on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Jamie McMurray‘s crew chief, Matt McCall, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut on the No. 1 Chevrolet.

McMurray finished second in the Bank of America Roval 400.

NASCAR America: Repairs made to Kyle Larson’s car could be ‘championship winning’

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Anyone not talking about Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson‘s last-lap incident Sunday in the Cup Roval race was talking about Kyle Larson.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver took a nearly destroyed No. 42 Chevrolet and coaxed it by a stalled Jeffrey Earnhardt on the frontstretch to get the position and point he needed to advance to the second round of the playoffs. He and Aric Almirola advanced due to a tie-breaker with Johnson.

On NASCAR America. Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett discussed how the circumstances of Larson’s advancement will impact his playoff chances.

“If he comes out of this the champion in 2018, just think back to the work this crew did,” Jarrett said of repairs the team made to Larson’s car after he was in a wreck with six laps to go. “The work they were able to accomplish in a short amount of time (to make Larson’s car drivable) could be championship winning move.”

Letarte said he believes Larson’s team will be “stronger” as a result of what he accomplished in the final lap.

“You don’t know where that point is going to matter,” Letarte said. “I think what happened on Sunday is going to make this 42 team tougher. And if they can get to Miami, that is a great track for the 42.”

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: How playoff picture changed in last 3 laps of Cup Roval race

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Needless to say, a lot happened in the last three laps of Sunday’s Cup race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Playoff dreams were shattered in one corner and resurrected in another.

Jimmie Johnson entered the final two turns in second place and locked into the second round.

But after his accident with Martin Truex Jr. and coming to a stop to serve an on-track penalty for cutting the chicane, Johnson finished eighth.

It wasn’t until Kyle Larson, in his battered and bruised No. 42 Chevrolet, passed the stalled car of Jeffrey Earnhardt right before the start-finish line that Johnson’s playoff fate was determined.

In three-way tie between Johnson, Larson and Aric Almirola, and with each driver’s best result from the round determining the tie-breaker, Johnson was eliminated from playoff contention.

But that’s just a portion of how the playoff picture shifted in the final laps.

In the above video, NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett go through each lap to show how the playoffs changed.

Clint Bowyer races from bottom four to next playoff round

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“God almighty.”

Whether a praise to the heavens or a statement of shock – or a combination of both – that’s how Clint Bowyer began his press conference after finishing third in the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400.

Somehow, someway, Bowyer survived the 109-lap race to earn his best result since placing third at Sonoma in June. He also raced his way into the second round of the playoffs.

That was after he entered the elimination race as one of four drivers on the outside looking into the top 12 who would advance. Bowyer began the day 14th on the starting lineup and four points out of the cutoff spot.

Unlike Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones, Bowyer’s chances at a title are still alive.

Since the introduction of the elimination format in 2014, Bowyer’s achievement is the 12th time a driver entered a cutoff race in the bottom four and drove their way into the next round.

It’s the fifth time a driver has advanced to Round 2 after entering the elimination race below the cutoff.

“Our day in particular, we knew we needed an opportunity,” Bowyer said. “You knew some people were going to have trouble. You try to make sure that you’re not one of those people.”

Beginning at 5 a.m. Sunday when his son Cash woke up, Bowyer had plenty of time to think about where there would be opportunities on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 17-turn, 2.28 mile course.

“It wasn’t much sleep the last couple nights,” Bowyer said. “Once you’re up, you start thinking about this gremlin that’s ahead of you today, there wasn’t any more sleeping. I stood there and watched the sun come up thinking about the chicane on the back straightaway, thought about the chicane on the front straightaway, thought about Turn 8, how I was going to get off that. I hit the wall in Turn 8 (oval Turn 1). Just thought about restarts and things like that.”

Bowyer managed to finish third in Stage 1 for eight points and fifth in Stage 2 for six points.

Bowyer then kept his No. 14 Ford from being one of 15 cars that got a piece of the wreck in Turn 1 with six laps to go.

On the final restart, he was sixth.

“It was a lot of fun to be able to compete,” Bowyer said. “Nerve‑racking as hell on our part, but nonetheless, it was a lot of fun, challenge. … But heartburn, that was a heartburn, ended up being a heartburn on a lot of people’s parts.”

But Bowyer’s heartburn was worthwhile as he joins all three of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates in Round 2.

Bowyer’s advancement in the playoffs comes a year after Kyle Busch was the only driver to enter an elimination race below the cutoff line and advance. He did so to advance to the third round.

In 2016, Austin Dillon did it in Round 1 and was followed by Hamlin in Round 2 and then Carl Edwards advanced from Round 3 to the championship race.

In 2015, Kyle Busch did it twice, advancing into Round 2 and 3 from the below the cutoff on his way to winning the title. Kevin Harvick also did it to advance into Round 2.

2014 saw Hamlin race his way into Round 2 and eventually make the championship race. Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski followed the next round and Harvick finished second in the final cutoff race at Phoenix to advance to the championship race, where he claimed his first Cup title.

Underdogs benefit from Roval chaos

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The smoke is starting to clear on the chaotic finish to Sunday’s Cup race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

The inaugural Cup race on the road course saw many underdog teams come out with impressive finishes, as they capitalized on the 15-car crash with six laps to go and the mayhem of the final three laps.

Here’s who emerged with something good to take back to their race shop.

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 7th: After qualifying second, Allmendinger never led a lap. He finished eighth in Stage 1 and was one of the drivers to take advantage of Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr.‘s last-turn incident. It was his first top 10 since the July Daytona race.

Matt DiBenedetto – Finished 13th: Earned his best finish of the year on a non-restrictor plate track.

Regan Smith – Finished 15th: Second top 15 in his fourth substitute race for Kasey Kahne. Finished 20th or better in three of the four races. Kahne has finished 20th or better in three of four races just once this year. He only has two top 15s in 25 starts (Daytona II, fourth), (Bristol II, 15th).

David Ragan – Finished 16th: Best finish since placing 15th in the July Daytona race.

Chris Buescher – Finished 17th: Third finish of 17th or better in the last five races.

Cole Whitt – Finished 20th: Second-best finish in 11 starts this year.

Ross Chastain – Finished 24th: Seventh finish inside the top 25 in 27 starts with Premium Motorsports.