Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
NASCAR rumbles on for its fourth race and four days, all at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and its seventh race in 11 days. This is the second Cup Series race in four days with the previous race being the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. The previous two days have had races from the Xfinity Series and Ganders RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
Sunday’s race was a head-scratcher to say the least. We saw little passing and many drivers taking advantage of the clean air to sustain long runs in the lead. Chase Elliott, with only three laps left, was cruising toward a victory at Charlotte but his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, William Byron, blew a tire to bring out the caution that forced overtime. Elliott proceeded to pit and Brad Keselowski, who stayed out, took advantage of the track position to notch his second win at Charlotte and his first win this season. Keselowski will start Wednesday’s race 20th as the top-20 positions were inverted to determine the starting positions.
As for Elliott, his decision to pit backfired as he finished third, but since second-place finisher Jimmie Johnson failed post-race inspection, Elliott wound up finishing second. It has been a tough start to the season for Elliott. Despite leading 252 laps, which is third behind Alex Bowman and overall points leader Kevin Harvick, Elliott has not won a race in the Cup Series. He did win the truck series race Tuesday night, winning the $100,000 bounty set for the Cup Series driver to beat Kyle Busch in a truck series race.
Elliott will start in the 19th position for Wednesday’s race.
Byron and Bowman are starting on the front row for the Alsco Uniforms 500. Byron is still looking for his first victory and his first top-five finish of the season. As for Bowman, he won the first two stages on Sunday and led the most laps with 164, but ended up finishing 19th. Despite Bowman being third in overall points, he has finished outside the top 10 in five of the seven races this season. With his start on the front row, he has a golden opportunity to utilize clean air and race out to an early advantage in stage one.
Harvick is still the current overall points leader to start the season after finishing fifth on Sunday. He has finished in the top 10 in all seven races this season with five of those being top-five finishes. He is also looking for his second victory of the season as he won 10 days ago at Darlington. He is looking to continue that run of success as he starts in the 16th position.
Coverage for the race will begin at 8:00 p.m. EST. You can catch the race on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
Rain is in the area once again. You can follow updates with the Charlotte radar here.