A look at the winners and losers from the Round of 16 playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ryan Blaney – He entered the race weekend 11 points below the cutline. He scored 10 points early by winning the first stage. He then won at Talladega For the third time in his Cup career. This sent Blaney to the Round of 8 and kept his championship dreams alive.
Denny Hamlin – He fell a lap down after driving too fast in the pit lane. Hamlin returned to the lead lap after a caution on lap 162. In the final laps he moved from 15th to fourth place. Hamlin was then credited with a third place finish Due to a post-race inspection, another driver was disqualified. He is now 50 points above the cut line heading into the Charlotte Roval.
Kyle Larson – He went into the race weekend with seven DNFs this season, four of them on slipstream routes. Larson went out and scored 12 stage points while avoiding incidents early on. He finished 15th after being hit in a multi-car accident at the finish. Larson heads to the Roval 15 points above the cutline.
Chase Elliott – He did what he needed to keep the No. 9 in the race for a spot in the next round of the Owners’ Championship. He scored 13 stage points and finished seventh. Elliott’s Chevrolet now sits fourth in the Owners’ Championship with one race remaining in the Round of 12.
Kevin Harvick – He crossed the finish line in second place behind Blaney. This was his first top-5 finish at Talladega in the Next Gen era. NASCAR disqualified Harvick after the No. 4’s follow-up inspection failed due to a windshield installation violation. His final start at Talladega was his first last-place finish at the track.
Ross Chastain – He entered the Talladega race above the playoff cutoff. After a crash on the last lap of the first stage, he finished in 37th place. Chastain is now 10 points under the finish line heading into the elimination race at the Charlotte Roval.
Bubba Wallace – Talladega represented a prime opportunity for Wallace to win and advance to the Round of 8. He wasn’t a factor. Wallace missed the points in the first two stages before finishing 23rd. He lost three points to Brad Keselowski and the last transfer spot in the next round. Now he has to reckon with a gap of nine points before the elimination race in the Roval.
Kyle Busch – An accident in Texas last week left him below the limit en route to Talladega. He stayed there even after a 25th place finish in which he missed out on the stage points. Busch is 26 points below the cutline and has a chance to advance to the round of 8. He may need a win to advance. His last road course win was at Sonoma in 2015.