Chase Elliott’s good shot in Talladega
No driver in the running for the title had won, until Chase Elliott on the Talladega Superspeedway, who thus achieved the right move in the NASCAR Cup Series, since he qualified for the third round of the playoffs.
Chase Elliott is the first driver of the playoffs to validate his qualification for the next round thanks to a victory. Indeed, until this Talladega event, the YellaWood 500, no driver in contention for the title had won the NASCAR Cup Series.
Dominating, Ryan Blaney also sniffed the right shot, but in the end it was Chase Elliott who won on the Talladega Superspeedway, to the delight of the fans in the stands. The Hendrick Motorsports driver, 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, takes his second victory at Talladega, his fifth this season and his eighteenth in his career.
After a shootout of two laps, Chase Elliott played the two Ford drivers in front of him, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell, on the inside line, taking advantage of the help of Erik Jones on the outside. In the final meters, the Hendrick Motorsports driver controlled his rivals by slaloming up and down to hold on to the lead.
Those last two laps were wild. I was not very happy to be inside. Fortunately I was able to pass the two drivers on the outside, to take the lead of this line. Many thanks to Erik (Jones) who was a great help.
Thanks to this victory, Chase Elliott regains control of the drivers’ championship and is certain to be qualified for the Round of 8 at the end of the last race of this qualifying round, next Sunday on the road circuit of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The fear of big one was important during this race, in the end it will not be. The last outing of the safety car came seven laps from the checkered flag, when Daniel Hemric came to a halt at the pit lane exit following an engine problem.
The drivers having gone through the pit lane under the green flag about thirty laps from the end of the event, refueling was not necessary.
Ryan Blaney finally takes second place in the race, his best result this season. The Team Penske driver, winner of the All-Star in Texas, is still looking for championship success in 2022. Third, Michael McDowell records a twelfth top 10 this season, a record for him.
Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin complete the top 5 of this race. Erik Jones, rookie Todd Gilliland, Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe enter the top 10 of this last 500-mile race of the season.
Next week NASCAR will be home for the majority of the teams, since the event would take place on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. This will be the third and final race of the second round of the playoffs. Eleven drivers will be competing for seven places. Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman will arrive in Charlotte in the eliminated position.