You just can’t keep Kyle Larson down. When it appeared that perhaps his Playoff hopes were on life support, with a battery charging issue, his team calmly diagnosed and fixed the issue and Larson rallied to score yet another win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400.
After a nerve-racking Stage 2, which saw the voltage levels on the No. 5 car dip, Larson received a new alternator belt on his No. 5 car and focused on the task at hand: scoring more Playoff Points.
What would Kyle Larson have said if you told him in Stage 2 that he would win this race?
“I wouldn’t have believed it, that’s for sure,” Larson said. “I don’t know, I didn’t even really feel that good early. Started changing some things up later, they were doing a good job letting me know what to do inside the cockpit to get better. And then about that time, I noticed my battery was going low. So, I was getting stressed out. I was like, man, I’m not going to get knocked out of the Playoffs like this. It wasn’t looking too good.”
Larson, who hadn’t led a lap all race long, scooted past Denny Hamlin for the race lead with eight laps to go, and Larson didn’t look back as he went on to score his seventh win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“Just awesome day for Hendrick Motorsports,” Larson explained. “Glad I could get another win and looking forward to the next round a lot.”
"I'm not gonna get knocked out like this."
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 10, 2021
Tyler Reddick finished second in Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval and Chris Buescher came home in third.
Kyle Busch scored his first-ever finish better than 30th at the Roval with a fourth-place effort. That finish was enough to advance Busch to the Round of 8 in the Playoffs.
Hamlin faded down the stretch, but held on to finish fifth.
Matt DiBenedetto, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
For Bowman, it was a tough day as he — like Larson — suffered from voltage issues on Sunday. However, unlike Larson, Bowman’s issues couldn’t be fixed. The No. 48 team had to keep changing batteries all race long and shut off all fans and driver comfort items and finished the race.
It was a solid finish, but was not good enough for Bowman to move onto the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Chase Elliott rebounded from a crash on lap 55, after contact from his rival Kevin Harvick, to finish 12th. Elliott’s finish, with massive damage to the rear of his car, was good enough to advance him to the Round of 8 in the Playoffs.
While Harvick seemed to exact revenge following his issues with Elliott at Bristol, in the end things went south for Harvick, as Harvick found the turn one wall on lap 98, which ended his day and Playoff hopes.
“I just pushed it in there too hard and I got the tire locked up and I couldn’t stop it,” Harvick explained of the crash that ended his championship hopes. “I felt like I needed to go to get a couple of spots back that I had lost and I got the left front locked up and I couldn’t get it to turn.”
The four drivers eliminated from Playoff contention were: Harvick, William Byron, Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell.
Here are the Playoff Standings Heading into the Round of 8 of the Playoffs:
- Kyle Larson, 4,065 points
- Denny Hamlin, 4,030
- Martin Truex Jr., 4,029
- Ryan Blaney, 4,024
- Kyle Busch, 4,023
- Chase Elliott, 4,022
- Joey Logano, 4,013
- Brad Keselowski, 4,008
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.