Nashville victory by Chase Elliott may have an effect on the play-offs

Nashville victory by Chase Elliott may have an effect on the play-offs

LEBANON, Tenn. – With no clear races earlier than 9 races earlier than the beginning of the Cup play-offs, each level, each determination and each transfer can have an effect on the race for the championship.

A day earlier than final weekend’s Nashville Superspeedway Cup race, Denny Hamlin famous how shut the play-off competitors will likely be. What Chase Elliott did in Sunday’s race might resonate within the fall.

Elliott’s victory offers him 13 factors within the playoffs, equal to Ross Chastain and William Byron for almost all this season. Joey Logano and Hamlin each have 12 factors within the playoffs. The opposite seven pilots are inside no less than seven playoff factors of Elliott, Chastain and Byron.

“I believe this may undoubtedly be essentially the most unpredictable playoff just because a nasty race from crew, they won’t have the playoff factors to present them a buffer to get by way of to the spherical. one other, ”mentioned Hamlin. “It’s possible that there will likely be very massive groups and even favorites on this championship that will likely be eliminated within the first and second spherical, as a result of they don’t have the large playoff factors that our favorites had up to now.

“I’m a win of a stage away from being P1 within the play-offs, which is loopy contemplating our season, nevertheless it exhibits that after we are forward, we obtain it and after we are unhealthy, we’re fully unhealthy. So I believe I am excited to see the place it goes, however I am additionally nervous that we might higher pack our issues on each racetrack right here within the subsequent 10 weeks. “

There have been some key moments in Sunday’s race that helped Elliott rating his second win of the season.

When the race resumed near midway by way of, Elliott resumed in fifteenth place. He shortly moved as much as ninth place after the restart and completed fourth on stage.

“I felt prefer it was a form of second within the race once I mentioned, ‘OK, now we have to win this race,'” mentioned crew chief Alan Gustafson. “In any case I didn’t really feel like we have been going to cross (Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.) on the time on equal floor, so I needed to get away from the sequence with them there, and once I did, not so many individuals have been put within the brow as I had hoped, we have been a bit behind, and he turned to what you’re referring to, the fourth or fifth, inside a short while. “I assumed that will give us an enormous benefit.”

On the resume to start out the ultimate stage, Elliott was second and began within the entrance row with Busch, who was from the surface. Elliott shortly took the lead and management of the race.

“I felt there was a chance to take action, if circumstances go as I needed, and thankfully they did,” Elliott mentioned. “As soon as we took the lead there, he was simply attempting to manage my lead over him, run my race, handle my tires as greatest I may and never lose the lead. Then I hope no warning got here out. “I hate it occurred, nevertheless it occurred, and thankfully it labored for us.”

Elliott held the lead and when care was taken, he stood out, whereas Busch, Truex and Hamlin Gibbs vehicles have been all within the confrontation. With 10 vehicles standing exterior, they obtained caught behind these vehicles and noticed that their possibilities of successful ended.

And it was Elliott who scored the 5 playoff factors that would matter later within the season.

“Look, you simply must maintain bringing robust racing vehicles to the monitor,” he mentioned. “It’s important to maintain placing your self able to win.

“If you end up combating ahead and you’ve got a shot to win, the factors will handle themselves. You might face whether or not you may obtain the primary a part of this, you might face a scenario right here or there the place it’s a must to resolve whether or not or not you wish to get factors on stage or whether or not or not you wish to attempt to go for successful the race, and this stuff are – that is simply part of the world we stay in now with scenes. ”

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Sunday was a step in the precise course for Kevin Harvick and his crew – even when crew chief Rodney Childers walked out of the storage pissed off.

Childers was sad along with his determination to place Harvick within the pit earlier than the ultimate restart. Harvick was seventh when he warned. If he had been unnoticed, he would have been third earlier than restarting. As an alternative, he resumed in fifteenth place after the hit as a result of 10 vehicles have been unnoticed. Harvick completed tenth.

Perhaps he ought to have completed third, however the MO of 4 vehicles has all the time been on the aggressive aspect; “on the aspect of shifting ahead, not on the aspect of attempting to maintain folks away,” Childers instructed NBC Sports activities.

“With this automobile, it’s actually troublesome to be trustworthy with you. “I believe I have to do a greater job of adapting to the brand new automobile and realizing that we’ll not go 10 vehicles in 5 laps as we as soon as have been.”

Nonetheless, Harvick has scored the highest 10. His longest collection this season is three prime 10 in a row.

“Simply having the pace and with the ability to run Gibbs vehicles all evening was an enormous job,” Childers mentioned.

Crew Chief Rodney Childers. (Photograph by Jeffrey Vest / Icon Sportswire through Getty Photos)

He instructed NBC Sports activities over the weekend {that a} key goal can be to qualify higher and earn factors within the opening stage. Harvick certified tenth, the primary time within the final 9 races he had began within the prime 10.

Harvick scored factors within the opening stage for the primary time in 9 races. He additionally obtained factors within the second section. The end result was that he climbed again to the final place of the playoffs, colliding with teammate Aric Almirola.

One other key was the pit street. The crew modified the entrance tire changer and runner final week after Harvick had made essential feedback about his crew efficiency on the pit after two of the final three races.

Childers mentioned all the things went effectively on the pit street.

“We had the quickest pit crew within the pit,” he mentioned.

In keeping with Racing Insights, the Harvick crew had six of its seven stops within the pit at 10-second intervals. The crew’s quickest cease for a four-tire shift was 10.24 seconds within the first cease. The slowest cease was 11.98 seconds. Harvick gained three factors within the pit throughout a cautious cease after the top of the second section, taking him to fifth place.

“It was a very good weekend and one thing we are able to construct on,” Childers mentioned.

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Ross Chastain overcame further time at the beginning of the race to tighten the precise rear wheel and return to fifth place.

It was a matter of being cautious and avoiding a four-week suspension for Chastain crew chief and two pit crew members if the wheel was eliminated.

Earlier than Chastain returned to the pit within the forty sixth lap of the 300-lap race, there was some debate as as to whether he would achieve this.

“The nut was not tight sufficient and seemed good,” Chastain mentioned after the race. “Half of our group mentioned to go away me there, and half of our group mentioned, ‘No, let’s take it off and put it again on.’

“I couldn’t see something. A part of our teaching workers was watching the video and mentioned we’d have left the automobile exterior on the monitor.

“It merely got here to our discover then. It was a kind of 50-50 (calls). We don’t need (crew chief) Phil Surgen and our crew to go away (as a part of a four-week suspension for a wheel that goes off monitor). “It is only a penalty to lose if the tire is eliminated.”

Later within the race, Chris Buescher’s wheel got here off the monitor and his crew faces that penalty. That is the eleventh time this season {that a} wheel breaks throughout the race.

Listed below are the earlier 10 instances when a wheel indifferent, resulting in a penalty in a four-race suspension for the crew chief and two pit crew members:

  1. Justin Haley (Daytona 500)
  2. Kaz Grala (Daytona 500)
  3. Todd Gilliland (Auto Membership)
  4. Corey LaJoie (Phoenix)
  5. Bubba Wallace (COTA)
  6. BJ McLeod (Talladega)
  7. Denny Hamlin (Dover)
  8. AJ Allmendinger (Dover)
  9. Justin Haley (Kansas)
  10. Kyle Larson (Sonoma)

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Justin Allgaier’s victory on Saturday was his second Xfinity victory this season. She notes For the fifth time within the final six years he has gained quite a few Xfinity races in a single season.

It’s a massive turnaround from the time he was within the Cup with a smaller crew and had difficulties within the 2014-15 season. He returned to Xfinity in 2016 and has been with JR Motorsports ever since. Fifteen of his 18 profession collection have come after he returned from the Cup.

“Do I really feel like I can nonetheless go to (the Cup) and get in automobile and be aggressive? “Completely,” mentioned Allgaier. “However the alternatives aren’t essentially the precise alternatives. I like this collection. I like this racing crew the place I belong.”

Allgaier assesses the scenario during which he finds himself and sees how not being with the precise crew can have an effect on a driver’s profession.

“There are some extremely gifted race automobile drivers on the Cup aspect who simply do not have the precise scenario,” Allgaier mentioned. “I am not saying it is a good automobile. Particularly with the automobile (Subsequent Gen) and the parity it has with the automobile, it will get each element. You have got the crew chief, the engineers and you’ve got the pit crew and all this stuff that simply come collectively and work. “Right here we’re with this racing crew.”

The victory can also be the sixth in 15 races this yr for JR Motorsports. The group has gained 5 of the final seven races.

Noah Gragson began the run with a win at Talladega. Josh Berry adopted by victory in Dover. Allgaier made it three in a row for the group along with his triumph at Darlington. Berry later went on to win at Charlotte. Then got here the Allgaier victory in Nashville.

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