Larson Wins Charlotte as Elliott and Harvick Continue Feud | Sports News

By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Author

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson rallied from early electrical points Sunday to win for the seventh time this season and storm into the third spherical of NASCAR’s playoffs.

Larson’s victory on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway ended a topsy-turvy day for Hendrick Motorsports. Larson and reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott moved into the spherical of eight, however Alex Bowman and William Byron have been eradicated and Elliott was almost sabotaged by a vengeful Kevin Harvick.

Harvick laid in wait to ship his payback on Elliott for Elliott costing him a win at Bristol three weeks in the past. The retaliation happened midway by the race when Harvick despatched Elliott into the wall — a wreck that put Elliott on the verge of elimination.

However his No. 9 staff received Elliott again into rivalry — even together with his bumper flapping within the wind off the again of his Chevrolet — and he drove by the sector and into place to damage one other day for Harvick.

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Elliott and his crew had mentioned over their public staff radio that Elliott ought to wreck Harvick if he received near him once more on Sunday and as they hurtled into the primary flip with 10 laps remaining, maybe Harvick started to fret.

He botched the entry, nearly as if he was trying in his rearview mirror, and drove straight into the wall in a tough hit that crumpled the complete entrance finish of his Ford. The gang roared its approval as Elliott cruised by the crash scene and Harvick’s title run got here to its earliest finish for the reason that elimination format started in 2014.

Harvick had superior to the third around the previous seven years and all the best way to the title race 5 instances. He did not precisely say he wrecked Elliott as payback for Bristol however did not deny it, both.

“Typically actual life teaches you good classes,” Harvick mentioned.

On the day he made his 750th profession begin, he completed thirty third and was eradicated together with Christopher Bell, Byron and Bowman.

When requested if the 2 at the moment are even, Harvick merely walked away.

Elliott subtly masked his pleasure.

“So far as Kevin goes, I simply wish to want them a merry offseason and a contented Christmas,” Elliott mentioned.

Is it over so far as Elliott is anxious?

“For us, we’re simply eyes ahead and completely satisfied to be transferring on,” Elliott mentioned. “That is the massive image. We’ll hold preventing.”

Larson, in the meantime, plunged to thirty sixth when he started to lose energy in his Chevrolet and needed to make a number of pit stops to deal with {the electrical} points. A prolonged change of his alternator belt saved his race and staved off his personal startling flirtation with an early playoff exit.

As a substitute, Larson grew to become the primary driver in NASCAR historical past to win three street course races in a season. He handed Denny Hamlin for the lead with eight laps remaining and is the primary driver since Kasey Kahne in 2006 to win each the Coca-Cola 600 in Could and Charlotte’s fall race in the identical season.

His victory ended Elliott’s streak of two consecutive wins on the hybrid street couse/oval that Charlotte officers designed in 2018 so as to add an fascinating new circuit to the playoffs. The venue did not disappoint on Sunday as drivers jockeyed over 109 laps attempting to keep away from playoff elimination.

Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher, two drivers not within the playoffs, completed second and third. Kyle Busch and Hamlin have been fourth and fifth and Matt DiBendetto completed sixth.

The following six positions went to playoff drivers — Joey Logano in seventh, adopted by Bell, Ryan Blaney, Bowman, Byron and Elliott.

Ty Dillon will return to full-time competitors subsequent season as the driving force for GMS Racing in its inaugural Cup season.

Dillon has run 4 Cup races this 12 months with Gaunt Brothers Racing and 11 Xfinity Sequence races with three completely different groups. He misplaced his experience on the finish of 2020 and has been attempting to claw his manner again right into a seat, and GMS Racing mentioned Dillon was the one driver the staff significantly checked out for the job.

Dillon will drive the No. 94 Chevrolet for the staff in an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and ECR Engines. The automobile quantity dates to the Nineteen Nineties when present GMS Racing president Mike Beam partnered with Invoice Elliott to type Invoice Elliott Racing to discipline the No. 94.

The unique Invoice Elliott Racing store remains to be a present a part of the GMS Racing facility.

Rick Ware Racing shall be a full Ford staff in 2022 with an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Yates Engines.

RWR has fielded 4 vehicles per race this 12 months and owns three charters and leases a fourth. The staff proprietor is underneath strain to unload a few of the charters to give attention to fielding aggressive vehicles.

Ware mentioned Sunday he could have two vehicles subsequent 12 months, maybe a 3rd.

“I’m not ready to run 4 vehicles presently,” Ware mentioned.

Daniel Craig capped his remaining opening weekend as James Bond with a cease at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the place he waved the inexperienced flag on NASCAR’s playoff race.

Craig is a automobile fanatic — he mentioned he is presently driving an “Audi RS6 which is sort of pokey” — and has beforehand examined for Aston Martin on a closed course. Sunday was his first NASCAR race.

The opening race of the third spherical of the playoffs Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.

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Aila Slisco

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