A smart move in a late race Chase Elliott took him to Victory Lane on Sunday at the Talladega Super Speedway — and back to the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power rankings.
Elliott is the only rider to have five victories this season. No one has more than two in the playoffs (Tyler Reddickdropped out of the hunt for the championship, won three times).
Elliot, already qualified for Round 8 with his win at Talladega, will be one of the favorites to race Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (2 pm ET, NBC).
This is what the ratings look like towards the end of the 1/8 finals:
NBC Sports NASCAR Power Ranking
1. Chase Elliott (3rd last week) – Elliott’s powerful drive to win at Talladega was quite impressive and saw him finish four times in the top five in the last 10 races. It is clear that he has once again established himself as a favorite for the championship.
2. Denny Hamlin (#1 last week) – Hamlin loses place despite a strong run (20 laps ahead and fifth) at Talladega. Consider him on the hunt for an elusive first championship.
3. Ryan Blaney (#8 last week) “Blaney just won’t quit despite being the only driver without a playoff win (apart from the Texas All-Star Race). He fell victim to Chase Elliott on Sunday at Talladega, finishing with 0.046 seconds left to win and advance to the next round.
four. Kyle Larson (#2 last week) – Super speedway racing is not Larson’s forte at all. He finished 18th on Sunday despite leading eight laps and being in the first group for most of the day.
5. Joey Logano (#4 last week) — Logano showed an unusually bad game in Talladega. He crashed early in the race and struggled for most of the day, finishing 27th.
MORE: Elliot celebrates, Logano laments
7. William Byron (#5 last week) – Byron’s worst news came off the track last week when he was fined by NASCAR for ejecting Denny Hamlin on a warning in Texas. He finished 12th at Talladega.
eight. Chase Briscoe (#9 last week) Briscoe is slowly proving that he can reach the top 8 and fight for the title.
MORE: Talladega Winners and Losers
9. Daniel Suarez (not ranked last week) Suarez maneuvered the Talladega draft in style and came home eighth. He has been in the top 10 three times in his last seven races.
ten. Christopher Bell (#6 last week) Bell had a tough day at Talladega and will be counting on Sunday’s Roval race to redeem himself.
Dropped: Tyler Reddick (#10 last week).
AJ Allmendinger gets another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.
On Wednesday, Kaulig Racing announced that Allmendinger, who is currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will race full-time with Kaulig in the Cup next season.
Olmendinger raced the Cup from 2007 to 2018, but has only won once in all those years, at the Watkins Glen International. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kauliga in 2019, winning the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He has won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is the favorite to win the Xfinity Championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.
MORE: Hayley Deegan to debut at Xfinity in Las Vegas
Allmendinger, 40, will drive the No. 16 Caulig car in the Cup next year. Justin Hailey will manage the 31st team number.
Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity series next year.
“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans are tired of my talk about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a racing team. This is a huge family.
“Of course there will be difficult times and growing pains. But I love what they do and they believe in me. I’ll be fine, good or bad.”
MORE: Chase Elliott tops NASCAR Power rankings
Team owner Matt Cowlig said the Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world on all types of circuits. He has done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a giant part of what we’re building.”
Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.
Sunday gives the riders one last chance to reach the round of 16 and keep their Cup championship hopes alive.
Talladega winner Chase Elliott is the only driver to advance to the next round. There are seven spots left ahead of Sunday’s race at Charlotte Roval (2:00 pm EDT on NBC).
William Byron trailing both drivers by 11 points, but Hendrick Motorsports will appeal Texas’ Byron’s 25-point penalty on Thursday. If Hendrik wins and Byron returns those points, he will move to the transfer spot.
This is only part of what is worth paying attention to in Sunday’s race.
Favorites will be No. 20
This season remains tied for the most different winners in series history at 19, but there are a few candidates who could be this year’s 20th winner on Sunday.
Among the favorites for this:
Ryan Blaneywho came close to winning last week at Talladega won the first Cup race at Roval in 2018.
Martin Truex Jr.with four Career Cup victories on the road, is still aiming for his first win of the season.
Michael McDowellthird-place finisher at Talladega has had 12 top 10 finishes this season, including top 10 finishes in each of the last four road races this year.
Will history repeat itself?
Harvick was eliminated in the first round this year, but Byron (-11 to the cut line) and Bell (-33) are in danger of being eliminated again this round. On Tuesday, Bowman said he would miss his second race in a row due to continued concussion symptoms. He will be one of four eliminated from the fight for the title.
Bowman missed the race last weekend due to concussion symptoms he received in Texas. A decision on whether he will be able to race at Roval will be made later this week.
Will the chaos continue?
Consider what some of the former Roval winners went through on their journey to the checkered flag:
In 2019 Chase Elliott ran into the Turn 1 wall on restart during the lead. He recovered to win.
In 2020, Elliott overcame the slip and won for the second year in a row.
In 2021 Kyle Larson won after his team replaced the batteries and put the alternator belt back on.
Could the same fate befall this year’s winner? Or will they have a cleaner day?
39 drivers entered, including an IndyCar driver. Conor Dalyformer F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former 24 Hours of Daytona winner. Joey Hand. Jay Jay Yeli will drive No. 51 for Cody Warewho stated he would miss the event due to an ankle injury in Texas that required footwork on the highway track.
List of Charlotte Roval Cup participants
The list of Xfinity participants includes 41 drivers with 38 seats. Among the regular participants of the series are IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat.
List of Xfinity members by Charlotte Roval
Schedule and forecast for this week
(All time Eastern)
Saturday, October 8
Forecast: Partly cloudy with a maximum of 66 degrees. There will be no rain during the Xfinity race.
- 10 – 10:30 – Xfinity workout (NBC Sports app)
- 10:30 – 11:30 – Xfinity Qualifier (NBC Sports App)
- 12:00 – 13:00 – Cup Practice (NBC Sports app, broadcast by USA Network…