NCS: Larson wins, Round of 8 set

(MRN.com)  Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 featured a frequent winner, a couple of unlikely heroes and occasional villainy.

Kyle Larson took the checkered flag after 109 laps at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course to win for the seventh time this season and advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Larson won for the third time on a road course—the most ever in series history in a single season—in a race that featured the violent renewal of the Bristol-born rivalry between Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

And Larson’s victory was no stress-free Sunday drive. Car chief Jesse Saunders and hauler driver Steven Legendre changed the battery and alternator belt on Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet under caution and kept him on the lead lap at the end of Stage 2, after the voltage dropped and put Larson in danger of elimination from the Playoff.

The victory was Larson’s first at the Charlotte Road Course and the 13th of his career.

Harvick failed to advance from the Round of 12 for the first time since the inception of the elimination format in 2014. His race ended in the SAFER barrier on Lap 99 after he locked up the left front tire on his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and shot straight into the wall.

“Karma,” Elliott’s spotter, Eddie D’Hondt, said on the radio with understandable satisfaction, given that Harvick had spun Elliott into the wall in Turn 8 to jeopardize the reigning Cup champion’s chances of advancing to the next round.

But Elliott did advance after recovering to finish 12th, joining Larson, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. in the Round of 8.

Joining Harvick on the sidelines were Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman and William Byron, who led a race-high 30 laps but lost track position after a bump from race runner-up Tyler Reddick entering the backstretch chicane after a restart on Lap 90.

For more, follow this link to MRN’s website.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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