There will likely be chaos Sunday as 39 cars line up for the final race of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 12.
The Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course will be the last opportunity for 11 of the 12 playoff drivers to advance to the Round of 8. Denny Hamlin qualified after his win in Las Vegas two weeks ago. He leads the playoff standings with 3,116 points. Kyle Larson dropped to second after suffering a crash at Talladega. He trails Hamlin by 19 points.
Chase Elliott, who is seventh in the standings, has won on Charlotte’s 2.28-mile course each of the past two years. Another win by him Sunday would give Hendrick Motorsports the perfect boost. The team has earned just one win in the playoffs (Larson) and two Hendrick drivers face elimination. William Byron and Alex Bowman are both outside the top eight.
As the playoffs become more competitive, chaos ensues. Monday’s weather-shortened race at Talladega, which was won by non-playoff driver Bubba Wallace, increased the likelihood of chaos Sunday at Charlotte.
Sporting News is tracking live updates and highlights from NASCAR’s playoff race Sunday. Follow for complete results from the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
NASCAR at Charlotte live updates, highlights from ROVAL 400
All times Eastern.
4:34: Elliott confirms he is losing about a second a lap, and is running at the 33rd position, 11 points below the cutline.
4:30: Denny Hamlin drops to sixth after missing the backstretch chicane.
4:25: Larson gets past Busch at 18th making his way back into the pack.
4:20: Elliott reports a tire rub in turns three ad four. He’s at 36th on lap 62 of 109.
4:17: Allmendinger goes to the side and falls to the rear. He heads to pit road and determines his car has engine failure, which prohibits him from continuing the race. Elliott is attempting to meet minimum speed.
4:12: Elliott falls below the cutline as he heads onto pit road to assess the damage. Harvick appears to have some damage on the front of his car.
4:10: Chase Elliott suffers severe damage to his track bar following contact from Harvick that sent him into the wall. Cole Custer was caught in the path and spun out onto the grass. Joey Logano escaped unscathed.
4:09: William Byron leads to start the third stage followed by Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.
3:57: Elliott creeps up past Harvick at second. Kyle Busch clinches a win in the second stage.
3:56: Larson gets back up to seventh, and lands above the cutline on the final lap. Harvick falls below the cutline.
3:54: Busch leads onto pit road with three laps to go in the second stage. Several cars follow and crowd pit road.
3:38: Christopher Bell turns too far wide and goes off-track in Turn 6.
3:36: Larson falls below the cutline with 13 laps remaining in the second stage. He fighting to keep his position at the middle of the pack while dealing with an alternator belt issue.
3:34: Kyle Busch takes the lead followed by Harvick and Byron coming off the caution.
3:32: Larson and Alex Bowman will head to pit road for a battery change. Bowman gets his tires changed and goes green after his crew chief advises for the battery change at the end of the second stage. Larson had his battery changed, but his crew couldn’t fix an issue with the alternator belt.
3:28: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. pushes Chase Briscoe, and causes him to spin out on the front stretch. Caution is brought out as he gets going again.
3:26: Kyle Larson clears Allmendinger and Harvick at third.
3:20: Kyle Busch takes the lead coming off the first stage followed by William Byron. Kevin Harvick battles Allmendinger for third.
3:12: Elliott clears Allmendinger and takes a victory in the first stage.
3:11: Blaney and Elliott close in on Allmendinger, who holds the lead going into the final lap.
3:10: Ryan Preece spins and goes up against the wall. Following evaluation, he is able to continue.
3:08: Allemendinger and Blaney fight for the lead coming off the caution.
3:05: Denny Hamlin gets a penalty for speeding on pit road that forces him to start at the tail end of the field with four laps to go in the first stage.
2:59: Ryan Newman suffers a tire issue that causes him spin and crash into the wall, just missing Keselowski. After returning to pit road, he is confirmed out for the day.
2:56: Blaney, Logano and Elliott extend their lead from the pack with eight laps to go in the first stage.
2:53: Keselowski is pushed by Alex Bowman and spins out. He’s able to get going again from the back.
2:49: Ryan Blaney takes the lead coming off the caution. Joey Logano and Chase Elliott fight for second in the pack.
2:44: Joey Logano takes the lead during caution followed by Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.
2:42: Bell gets a penalty for speeding on pit road.
2:41: Christopher Bell comes into pit road early for tires with no fuel. Hamlin leads the pack into pit road ahead of the competition caution.
2:38: Almirola takes a hit and goes for a minor spin, but goes to the back of the pack.
2:32: Denny Hamlin takes an early lead. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski battle for second.
2:30: The Roval 400 race is underway.
2:20: Engines are fired ahead of the green flag.
2:10: The flyover kicks off the starting procedures at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
1:45: Drivers are being introduced ahead of this afternoon’s race. Here’s one of the most popular in Charlotte.
1:30: NASCAR confirms that Garrett Smithley is headed to the rear after multiple tech failures.
NASCAR start time today
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
- Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App, fuboTV
The green flag for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to drop at 2:30 p.m. ET.
How to watch NASCAR at Charlotte
- TV channel: NBC
- Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App, fuboTV
- Radio: PRN
NBC’s programming will begin at 1 p.m. ET with the network’s “Countdown to Green” prerace show, hosted by Marty Snider with analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Rick Allen will handle the play-by-play call of the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte will provide analysis.
Snider, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman will be the pit reporters. Rutledge Wood will provide additional reporting during the race.
NASCAR Cup playoff standings
Denny Hamlin moved into the lead in the standings with a seventh-place finish at Talladega. He passed Kyle Larson, who dropped to second after a 37th-place finish brought on by a wreck. Larson also lost a lot of his cushion between his place and the playoff cut line. He’ll enter Sunday 22 points ahead of ninth-place driver Kevin Harvick.
The playoff bubble has a lot of pressure on it after Talladega. The difference between sixth place (Ryan Blaney) and ninth (Harvick) is just 15 points. Between the bunched standings, the fact that 11 of the 12 drivers are still fighting for a Round of 8 spot and the Roval’s history of wrecks, Sunday promises more chaos before NASCAR reduces the playoff field by four drivers.
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||3095|
NASCAR starting lineup at Charlotte
Here is the complete NASCAR starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Bank of America ROVAL 400. Playoff drivers are denoted by a “P” next to their names.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||P-Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||P-Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|3||P-Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|4||P-Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|6||P-Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|7||P-Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|8||P-Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|9||P-Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|10||P-Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|11||P-William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|12||P-Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|13||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|14||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|15||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|16||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|17||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|18||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|19||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|20||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|21||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|22||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|23||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|25||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|26||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|27||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|28||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|29||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|30||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|31||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|32||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|33||AJ Allmendinger||16||Kaulig Racing|
|34||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|35||Scott Heckert||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|36||Joey Hand||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||Josh Bilicki||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|39||Timmy Hill||66||Motorsports Business Management|