Notes & quotes from the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway

NBC Sports continued its coverage of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs this afternoon on NBC from the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., as Chase Elliott charged back through the field after wrecking in the lead to earn his third victory of the season.

NBC Sports’ Rick Allen called the action alongside 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton. Racing legend and two-time Daytona 500-winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte provided commentary from a secondary booth. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns, and Rutledge Wood reported from pit road and around the speedway.

Today’s race at the ROVAL was the cutoff race for the Round of 12 for the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs, as Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were eliminated from Playoff contention.

REMAINING 2019 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PLAYOFF DRIVERS

Position Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 3,046
2 Martin Truex Jr. 3,041
3 Denny Hamlin 3,030
4 Joey Logano 3,029
5 Kevin Harvick 3,028
6 Brad Keselowski 3,024
7 Chase Elliott 3,024
8 Kyle Larson 3,006
9 Alex Bowman 3,005
10 Ryan Blaney 3,004
11 William Byron 3,001
12 Clint Bowyer 3,000

RACE RESULTS

Position Driver Car#
1 Chase Elliott 9
2 Alex Bowman 88
3 Kevin Harvick 4
4 Clint Bowyer 14
5 Brad Keselowski 2

Coverage on NBC began at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, hosted by Krista Voda from NBC Sports’ “Peacock Pit Box” on pit road at the ROVAL alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Pre-race coverage on NBC included:

  • The latest installment of “Behind the Driver” featuring William Byron as he discussed the influence that his Legends crew chief and mentor, William Lambert, had on his development as a driver;
  • The latest installment “My Track My Roots” as Bubba Wallace described growing up and racing in North Carolina;
  • Rutledge Wood’s interview with Mario Andretti, who served as the official pace car driver for today’s race.

The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBC:

POST-RACE COVERAGE

Elliott to Stavast on wrecking in Turn 1 from the lead before coming back to win: “Holy moly. I couldn’t believe I did that. That was so stupid. I don’t know that you could have done anything more stupid than what I did.”

Earnhardt Jr. on Playoff format: “I hated this format as a driver – but man, do I love it as a race fan.”

Burton on importance of points: “We saw today – one point, one position in a stage, one position at the end of a race – all of that matters… I love this point system because it puts so much pressure on these drivers.”

Jarrett on unpredictable racing at the ROVAL: “When this was announced, I was not a fan. I was very skeptical that this could even work here…do we need another one or two of these somewhere else? Heck, I’m about to say. ‘Yeah, let’s have a couple more.’”

Burton on Alex Bowman, who finished second to qualify for the Round of 12: “We counted him out with all of his early troubles.”

Earnhardt Jr. on Newman: “That car is 10 spots better this year with this addition of Ryan Newman.”

RACE COVERAGE

Burton on Letarte predicting Chase Elliott would come back to win: “During the commercial break, (Steve Letarte) looked over here and said, ‘Chase Elliott still wins this race,’ and we all said you were crazy. You were right.”

Letarte on Chase Elliott’s victory: “No gimmicks. No strategy. He drives all the way through the field, passing every car on the race track.”

Letarte on Newman missing backstretch chicane with 3 laps to go: “A huge mistake from Ryan Newman.”

Snyder with 11 laps to go and following multiple cautions: “This literally is a race of survival.”

Letarte on Aric Almirola pitting with 12 laps to go: “They needed to do it a caution before. I love the idea of pitting. It’s their only option. But there are 34 cars on the lead lap…they’re going to give up 10-15 spots. It’s their only choice but it is going to be a tough road.”

Letarte following caution with 14 laps to go: “With 14 laps to go we could have 14 more wrecks pretty easily.”

Burton on Ryan Blaney on locking up at backstretch chicane with 17 laps to go: “That could be a season-changing save.”

Letarte: “Or a season-changing mistake.”

Earnhardt Jr.: “You can’t tell me this isn’t the most challenging race track.”

Earnhardt Jr. on Elliott wrecking in Turn 1 while in the lead: “I cannot believe that! Two years in a row. Unreal.”

Stavast on Alex Bowman spinning Bubba Wallace: “Trouble had been brewing between these two for laps. Bowman said that Bubba Wallace was flipping him off lap after lap and he said, ‘If he doesn’t put that finger away, he’s going to get one.’ And he sure did.”

Letarte: “This season is unlike any other. Everyone’s fuses seem to be shorter than ever.”

Burton on wreck during restart late in Stage 1: “This is probably the only race track all year long where they drive into turn 1 going faster on a restart than they do on a regular lap because you don’t run the chicane…this is no different than on the interstate. They start slowing down in front of you and then it just bottlenecks.”

Burton on ROVAL after missing front chicane during his pre-race lap: “There’s no fun out there. It’s just shocking how difficult this race track is.”

Earnhardt Jr. on difficulty of the ROVAL: “It just seems like this is a really challenging track – perhaps the toughest race track in the whole series.”

Andretti on potential of INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader at the ROVAL: “This could absolutely could work well. I think this is a perfect scenario…I think it would beneficial for all of us. I think the fans would love it.”

NBC Sports PR

Speedway Digest Staff

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