Allmendinger scores emotional win in NASCAR;
Kyle Busch among those not advancing in Cup Playoffs
By Dave Hascall
(Concord, NC) The Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval set the stage for the final race in the “Round of 8” for the NASCAR Cup playoffs. 12 drivers were battling for 8 spots as the road course / oval mash-up thinned the field, just four races ahead of the crowning of the 2023 driver’s championship. Ryan Blaney and William Byron already advanced to the next round based upon wins at Talladega and Texas, while Denny Hamlin advanced early in Sunday’s race, as he enough of a cushion in points.
Kaulig Racing has had a bit of an off-year; A. J. Allmendinger, who has won in open wheel (Champ Car) and NASCAR Cup, returned to NASCAR’s top category this year but has struggled. Sunday, “The Dinger” put it all together. He survived several restarts and challenges from rookie Ty Gibbs, Kyle Busch, and finally Byron. The win was extremely emotional for Allmendinger. The in-car camera showed him crying as he drove around on the cool-down lap. He exited the car, still in tears exclaiming, “you just never know when you’ll win again!” Allmendinger had already been eliminated from the playoffs but the win was huge for him and the struggling Kauling team. Byron, Busch, Gibbs, and Joey Logano followed.
Busch, Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, and Bubba Wallace failed to advance to the next round. Las Vegas, Homestead Miami, and Martinsville’s short track make up the Round of 8 events, before the finale in Phoenix crowns the champion.