Back to News

October 7, 2023

Roval live blog: All the updates from the Round of 12 elimination race

We’re bringing you live updates covering Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 elimination race from Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course, the Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App). Bookmark this page and check back often as we chronicle the action from Concord, N.C.


Related Story
Bubble Watch, presented by Xfinity: Another walk-off win lurks at the Roval Bubble Watch, presented by Xfinity: Another walk-off win lurks at the Roval
  • The 2.32-mile road course/oval hybrid (Roval) at Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the 109-lap Round of 12 playoff elimination race Sunday afternoon, the final of three races in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs’ second round.
  • Among the 12 remaining playoff contenders, four drivers will leave the weekend eliminated from championship contention. The first round of eliminations took place last month at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse and Michael McDowell found themselves in the bottom four spots to end the Round of 16.
  • By virtue of their Round of 12 race wins, William Byron (Texas) and Ryan Blaney (Talladega) are safe from elimination; the other 10 contenders are fighting for the six remaining slots for the Round of 8, which kicks off next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The easiest way for one of those drivers to move on is to win Sunday.
  • Denny Hamlin (+50 points above the elimination line), Christopher Bell (+22), Chris Buescher (+19), Martin Truex Jr. (+17), Kyle Larson (+15) and Brad Keselowski (+2) enter the weekend in the top eight spots; Tyler Reddick (-2 below the elimination line), Bubba Wallace (-9), Ross Chastain (-10) and Kyle Busch (-26) will take the green flag with some ground to make up.

Links to keep handy:

All times listed are Eastern.

Sunday, October 8

6:27 p.m.: That’s all we’ve got for our live blog this weekend. Next up is the Round of 8 opener from Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the first Championship 4 spot is up for grabs.

AJ Allmendinger celebrates in Victory Lane
Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Studios

6:12 p.m.: Check the race results to find where your favorite driver finished.

6:00 p.m.: Your Round of 8: William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney. Only two – Truex and Larson – are past champions.

5:58 p.m.: AJ Allmendinger and team owner Matt Kaulig aren’t going to leave Victory Lane anytime soon.

AJ Allmendinger and Matt Kaulig celebrate in Victory Lane
Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Studios

5:57 p.m.: The playoffs have ended for the No. 23 team, but surely driver Bubba Wallace will receive some sage words from team co-owner Michael Jordan.

Bubba Wallace and Michael Jordan embrace (Steve Luvender gif)

5:53 p.m.: Your race winner just ended his TV interview by climbing into the grandstands to celebrate with the fans. The dude just loves winning.

After winning the race, AJ Allmendinger climbs into the grandstands (Steve Luvender gif)

5:52 p.m.: AJ Allmendinger is the first non-playoff driver to win at the Roval, and the first non-playoff driver to pick up a victory in the 2023 playoffs. And he is fired the heck up.

5:49 p.m.: AJ Allmendinger’s doing a downright hammer-down burnout on the frontstretch as his team surrounds him.

5:48 p.m., checkered flag: Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch have been eliminated from the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, falling short of advancing to the Round of 8.

5:47 p.m., checkered flag: Visibly and audibly crying in his car, AJ Allmendinger thanks his team on his victory lap.

5:46 p.m., checkered flag: AJ Allmendinger has won the Bank of America ROVAL 400, leaving out a victory screech for the ages over the scanner after taking the checkered flag. This victory celebration will be a good one!

AJ Allmendinger races at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Studios

5:44 p.m., Lap 108: AJ Allmendinger’s got the white flag in his sights. Can he hold off William Byron?

5:42 p.m., Lap 107: If Kyle Busch somehow makes his way to the lead-he’s nearly three seconds behind the leaders-regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr. would find himself eliminated in favor of Busch. If things stay as they are, Truex is in.

5:39 p.m., Lap 104: Five to go and William Byron’s closing in on AJ Allmendinger for the race lead. Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch are hoping for something to turn this race on its head, or else they’re headed home eliminated from championship contention.

5:33 p.m., Lap 100: It wasn’t a great restart for Kyle Busch, who’s slipped to third behind William Byron. They’re all still chasing AJ Allmendinger. Not much movement around the playoff bubble … for now.

5:29 p.m., Lap 98: OK, we’re under caution, and we’ve reached the 90% mark. How exciting! Here’s the current points picture.

1. Byron: Advanced
2. Blaney: Advanced
3. Hamlin: Advanced
4. Bell: +42
5. Buescher: +29
6. Larson: +29
7. Reddick: +28
8. Truex Jr.: +26
– Top 8 advance –
9. Chastain: -26
10. Wallace: -29
11. Busch: -31
12. Keselowski: -36

5:26 p.m., Lap 97: Somebody burned the pizza rolls.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s Totino's Pizza Rolls car with flames coming out of the side

5:24 p.m., Lap 96: Well, that was quick. The seventh caution waves when Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s car goes up in flames on the first lap of the restart. The driver exited the vehicle, and that’ll do it for an eventful day for Stenhouse.

5:23 p.m., Lap 96: Restart once again. AJ Allmendinger’s out front, but Kyle Busch is on a mission.

5:21 p.m., Lap 95: It’s been a very AJ Allmendinger-looking stage-he’s now led more laps than anybody today-but polesitter and Stage 1 winner Tyler Reddick has made his way back up to fifth.

5:16 p.m., Lap 94: Caution No. 6. Christopher Bell tags Daniel Suárez racing for 11th place, heavily damaging the No. 99’s rear.

5:15 p.m., Lap 93: Trouble for two desperate drivers: Brad Keselowski has spun on the frontstretch chicane, and Ross Chastain made a pit stop after attempting to dodge the No. 6. Both drivers are in a must-win situation.

5:08 p.m., Lap 88: Austin Cindric went for a spin after getting tagged by Daniel Suárez entering the backstretch chicane. Bubba Wallace also spun through the chicane, which required the No. 23 to stop to serve a penalty. Wallace, who was running 11th, will need to pit for fresh tires. And, while there are still 20 laps to go, it’s a major setback for his title hopes.

Daniel Suárez makes contact with Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace (Steve Luvender gif)

5:07 p.m., Lap 87: Another restart. What’ll happen this time? AJ Allmendinger takes off out front, while Kyle Busch is battling Ty Gibbs hard in a battle for second. (Remember, Busch needs to win.)

5:00 p.m., Lap 85: Caution is out again. Andy Lally backed his car into the wall and he’s stuck in the pit exit lane. Who’s ready for another restart?

5:00 p.m., Lap 84: Kyle Busch runs third-by most measures, a great afternoon-but he’ll need to win today to keep his championship hopes alive. He’ll have to answer to Ty Gibbs and AJ Allmendinger ahead of him.

4:56 p.m., Lap 82: Green flag is back in the air for AJ Allmendinger.

4:53 p.m., Lap 81: While we’re under caution, here’s where things stand with 28 laps to go in terms of the playoff picture. (It’ll change. It’s the Roval and there’s no checkered flag in the air. This is an exercise in futility.)

1. Byron: Advanced
2. Blaney: Advanced
3. Hamlin: Advanced
4. Bell: +28
5. Buescher: +20
6. Reddick: +17
7. Larson: +15
8. Truex Jr.: +9
– Top 8 advance –
9. Keselowski: -9
10. Wallace: -10
11. Chastain: -17
12. Busch: -26

4:49 p.m., Lap 79: Another caution, the fourth of the afternoon. Erik Jones and Michael McDowell have crashed – no playoff drivers involved this time. Jones was on the outside of a three-wide position with Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and there’s just not enough room on the infield portion of the track.

4:46 p.m., Lap 78: AJ Allmendinger takes off on the restart, but Ty Gibbs gave him quite a run for his money on the opening lap. Allmendinger keeps his position atop the leaderboard for now.

4:40 p.m., Lap 76: Caution! Denny Hamlin spun through the treacherous frontstretch chicane and got clobbered by Mike Rockenfeller, heavily damaging the suspension of Hamlin’s right rear. Luckily for Hamlin, he’s already clinched a spot in the Round of 8, thanks in part to eight stage points earned in Stage 2. The damage might spell the end of the No. 11’s day, however, and will snap a streak of four straight top-five finishes.

4:36 p.m., Lap 73: A bit of drama for Ross Chastain on pit road. Chastain’s No. 1 narrowly avoided collision with Austin Dillon, then still managed to stop in his stall for a legal pit stop. The bad news, though, is that Chastain runs 32nd. He’ll need a lot of help in order to advance to the Round of 8 … but we’ve seen him pull off miracles before.

Ross Chastain narrowly avoids Austin Dillon's car on pit road (Steve Luvender gif)

4:33 p.m., Lap 71: Pit road is a busy place. These might be the last pit stops we’ll see today-definitely the last time they’ll stop under green.

4:32 p.m., Lap 71: Denny Hamlin spins on the frontstretch after a stack-up in front of him triggered from Michael McDowell’s car. McDowell’s pitting with a flat tire.

4:30 p.m., Lap 70: AJ Allmendinger’s stretched his lead out to 3.2 seconds over Kyle Busch, one of the biggest leads we’ve seen all day.

4:28 p.m., Lap 68: Chase Elliott has made a pit stop with a tire going down. The day’s not over for the 2020 champ, though; everybody still needs to make a pit stop. Brad Keselowski has also stopped.

4:26 p.m., Lap 66: Kyle Larson still holds on to the last spot as they run. He’s up to 18th despite restarting 31st.

Kyle Larson rounds a corner over a curb at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Studios

4:21 p.m., Lap 63: Brad Keselowski has entered the top 10, but it’s been quite a fight for him to reach this mark. He hasn’t earned a single stage point, thanks in part to his Stage 1 penalty, and he’s still nine points out of a transfer spot at this point.

4:19 p.m., Lap 62: Don’t forget about Tyler Reddick. The Stage 1 winner restarted 28th, but he’s just cracked the top 15.

4:14 p.m., Lap 58: Move the No. 16 to P1. AJ Allmendinger muscles past Kyle Busch to take over the top spot for the first time today. The Dinger has won on the Charlotte Roval four times in the Xfinity Series.

4:11 p.m., Lap 55: Meanwhile, up front, AJ Allmendinger is absolutely hassling Kyle Busch for the race lead.

4:10 p.m., Lap 54: Six of the nine drivers battling for playoff spots are running outside the Top 20: Tyler Reddick (21st), Ross Chastain (26th), Kyle Larson (27th), Bubba Wallace (28th), Martin Truex Jr. (29th) and Christopher Bell (30th). The final stage is the longest of the race, but it’ll be an uphill battle.

4:04 p.m., Lap 53: Kyle Busch, who ended Stage 2 in 10th place, inherits the lead as the cars ahead pit. Busch entered the day 26 points below the eighth-place cutoff; a win would alleviate all the pressure and advance the No. 8 to the Round of 8 … but we’re not even halfway through this one yet.

4:03 p.m., Lap 51: With stage points now awarded, Denny Hamlin has officially clinched a spot in the Round of 8, joining William Byron and Ryan Blaney. That leaves five more spots for nine drivers.

4:01 p.m., Lap 51: After finishing seventh in Stage 2, Bubba Wallace is communicating with his team to try to diagnose and fix an engine that stumbled a bit over the last run.

3:59 p.m., Lap 50: This caution will end Stage 2, and Chase Elliott will win it. (No, that wasn’t the plan for the No. 9.)

3:55 p.m., Lap 49: Really close call for Chase Elliott. Pit road entrance closed just as the leader was preparing to stop for service.

Chase Elliott swerves to avoid commitment box on pit road entry (Steve Luvender gif)

3:52 p.m., Lap 48: Just as leader Chase Elliott was preparing to pit, the second caution of the day flies as Josh Bilicki and Corey LaJoie tangle.

3:47 p.m., Lap 44: Before Stage 2 ends, don’t forget to finalize your Fantasy Live garage pick. I’m sticking with my Reddick-Bell-Allmendinger-Larson-Buescher lineup and keeping Chase Briscoe in my garage.

3:44 p.m., Lap 43: Ryan Blaney picked a great time to lock himself into the Round of 8 last week. The No. 12 runs 33rd after a green-flag pit stop. “Everything is just bad.”

3:42 p.m., Lap 41: Big milestone for Driver No. 9.

3:36 p.m., Lap 36: New leader! Chase Elliott has passed Christopher Bell for the top spot just before the halfway point of Stage 2.

3:34 p.m., Lap 35: There’s quite a presence of non-playoff drivers in the top 10-six of them, in fact. Chase Elliott runs second, and Daniel Suárez is in third ahead of AJ Allmendinger in fourth. Ty Gibbs is in sixth, Joey Logano is in eighth, and Michael McDowell runs 10th.

3:31 p.m., Lap 34: Tyler Reddick has gained seven positions since the restart; the car that led the entirety of Stage 1 runs 17th. Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace have gained four spots apiece.

3:25 p.m., Lap 28: OK, it’s time for Stage 2. The four cars that stayed out restart 24th through 27th, while Christopher Bell leads the field to green alongside Daniel Suárez.

3:15 p.m., Lap 26: So, while they’ve got stage points-and add Ross Chastain and Martin Truex Jr. to the list behind them-Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace will need to pit for tires, while most of the field has already stopped during the green-flag run in Stage 1. Expect the four of them to start deep in the field in Stage 2, and they’ll hand command of the race to Christopher Bell.

3:13 p.m., Lap 25: 23XI teammates Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace wrap up Stage 1 going 1-2. Those are valuable stage points for drivers who need it.

3:12 p.m., Lap 24: Christopher Bell has given up second place-and potentially nine stage points-to pit at the end of Stage 1. It’s not a total loss of stage points, however; he’ll rejoin the track in fifth place.

3:10 p.m., Lap 23: There’s some mixed pit strategy throughout the field as Stage 1 winds down. Cars outside stage-point rage are headed to fresh tires and a full tank of fuel to begin Stage 2.

3:05 p.m., Lap 19: The tricky frontstretch chicane has snarled Brad Keselowski’s afternoon. After missing the corner, Keselowski didn’t stop on track and now he’s serving a pass-through pit-road penalty. Despite the penalty, he should remain on the lead lap and work to fight back in Stage 2-but his season is on the line.

3:02 p.m., Lap 17: Reminder that stage-break cautions are back this weekend. The yellow flag will fly when stage points are awarded in nine laps.

2:52 p.m., Lap 10: It’s been Tyler Reddick’s weekend so far. The No. 45 has led every lap and he’s showing no signs of slowing … but there’s a lot of racing to go.

Tyler Reddick races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, jumping over a curb
Alex Daus | NASCAR Studios

2:49 p.m., Lap 8: Kyle Larson’s backup car has got some early speed. He’s driven from 36th up to 28th, the fastest-rising car in the field currently.

2:46 p.m., Lap 5: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on pit road and the No. 47 team is making some repairs to the right-rear corner of the car.

2:45 p.m., Lap 5: Erik Jones went for a spin exiting the frontstretch chicane. There’s no visible damage to the No. 43, but he’ll have a whole lot of cars ahead of him if he wants to continue his string of strong runs.

2:39 p.m.: Green flag is in the air! Tyler Reddick’s in command of this 109-lapper.

2:28 p.m.: WWE Superstar Liv Morgan has just ordered drivers to fire up those engines. It’s time to go!

2:26 p.m.: The NASCAR Garage 56 just ripped a lap around the Roval. Can we race it as a 38th car today, just for fun? Please?!

NASCAR Garage 56 car makes a lap at Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (Roval)

2:24 p.m.: The easiest way for a playoff driver to advance is to win. But, in any event, here’s the points picture at the start of the day:

1. Byron: Advanced
2. Blaney: Advanced
3. Hamlin: +50
4. Bell: +22
5. Buescher: +19
6. Truex Jr.: +17
7. Larson: +15
8. Keselowski: +2
– Top 8 advance –
9. Reddick: -2
10. Wallace: -9
11. Chastain: -10
12. Busch: -26

1:45 p.m.: Last call to set your Fantasy Live lineup. Here’s who I’ve got:

Steve Luvender Fantasy Live lineup for 2023 Charlotte Roval playoff race: Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Chase Briscoe (garage)

1:35 p.m.: Before things get started today, let’s hear it for these happy couples who got engaged at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. Love is in the air!

1:30 p.m.: Who’s ready for some eliminations? Coverage begins in about a half hour on NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and the NBC Sports App.

Saturday, October 7

2:05 p.m.: That’s all the Cup Series action for today (unless you’re working on the Kyle Larson backup car), but the Xfinity Series takes to the Roval at 3 p.m. ET to close out the Round of 12 on NBC and Peacock.

2:00 p.m.: Your playoff contenders will line up as follows:

  • Tyler Reddick, first
  • Christopher Bell, second
  • Bubba Wallace, fourth
  • Kyle Busch, fifth
  • Denny Hamlin, ninth
  • Martin Truex Jr., 11th
  • Ross Chastain, 12th
  • William Byron, 14th
  • Ryan Blaney, 17th
  • Brad Keselowski, 19th
  • Chris Buescher, 20th
  • Kyle Larson, 36th

1:56 p.m.: Tyler Reddick has won the pole, the sixth of his career. Christopher Bell will start alongside him tomorrow.

1:53 p.m.: In the final minute of qualifying, Denny Hamlin went for a spin on the backstretch chicane, trying to topple Tyler Reddick’s quick lap. It’s an unfortunate break for Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ty Gibbs, who won’t get to set a qualifying time in the final round.

1:32 p.m.: AJ Allmendinger paced Group B’s opening round of qualifying. Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ty Gibbs will join Group A’s fast five to compete for the pole.

1:16 p.m.: Kyle Larson update: The No. 5 will go to a backup car for Sunday’s race after his practice crash.

1:10 p.m.: 23XI Racing continued their speedy afternoon; Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace set the fastest Group A times. They’ll advance to the final round of qualifying with Christopher Bell, Daniel Suárez and Joey Logano. Now it’s Group B’s turn.

12:48 p.m.: Non-playoff drivers AJ Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs set the quickest practice times for Group B. Next, it’s time to set the lineup! Each group of 18 drivers will have a 15-minute window to set a quick time; the top five from each group will advance to a 10-minute final round to determine who starts from pole position tomorrow.

12:33 p.m.: Coverage of practice and qualifying has started on USA Network (as well as PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and the NBC Sports App). Group B is practicing now, and qualifying follows at 1 p.m. ET.

12:25 p.m.: Despite both drivers facing elimination, 23XI Racing looks ready to rise to the challenge Sunday. Teammates Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick topped the leaderboard in Group A practice. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson tagged the wall and damaged the right side of his Chevrolet; he’ll miss qualifying for repairs and start in the back of the pack tomorrow.