Ryan Blaney Wins At The Roval Thanks To A Crazy Ending, Jimmie Johnson Eliminated

Ryan Blaney is a two time Cup series winner thanks in part to 7-time champ Jimmie Johnson and a front stretch chicane.

Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval lived up to the hype thanks to a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. caution with 9 laps to go. As Brad Keselowski attempted to save way more fuel than possible outside of Scott Dixon. Kyle Larson desperately tried to chase him down as he saved fuel of his own. Right, when it looked like this would be a fuel mileage race and we’d have a hectic last few laps of drivers running out the caution came out.

On the restart from that Stenhouse caution, the leaders barreled off into Turn 1 as if they were running the oval at Charlotte. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Paul Menard, and Kyle Busch all drove into the tire barriers. Others were collected but the damage was done. Larson was on the outside of the playoffs looking in while Busch and Keselowski were already locked in.

That brought out the red flag. Larson’s team was able to “repair” the car under the caution following the red flag but the right front tire had so much camber in it a stance kid would look at it and say “that’s not safe bruh.” Larson didn’t care as he took the #42 back on track in an attempt to salvage hope.

On the final restart, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. led the field to the green. Over the next three laps, Johnson continues to catch Truex. On the last lap, the #48 caught the #78 in the infield, stayed close through the backstretch chicane setting up for a move into the front stretch/final chicane. All weekend Parker Kligerman has been telling viewers if the second place car is within half a second of the leader they can get to the bumper under braking.

Jimmie Johnson was a lot closer than half a second as he locked it up getting into the chicane. Instead of me describing it you just watch it.

The Roval got its signature moment and Marcus Smith/SMI got all the advertising material they need for the 2019 race. Johnson slid through the chicane collecting the #78 in the process. As they attempted to grab a gear and regain their momentum Ryan Blaney snuck by to steal the win.

Playoff Picture

Kyle Larson was on the outside of the playoffs on the last lap of the race. After the #48 and #78 tangled there was another incident. Daniel Hemric spun the #96 of Jeffrey Earnhardt. Larson was about 45 seconds behind that incident attempting to limp the car home. When the #42 team saw the #96 sitting against the wall they hollered for Larson to speed up. One problem, with the camber in that right front speeding up would mean blowing the tire. And that’s what happened on the exit of NASCAR turn #4.

However, after two wall hits Larson passed the #96 to gain one point and advance on a tiebreaker.

Jimmie Johnson’s mistake, crash, and subsequent penalty served eliminated him from the playoffs. A bad year got worse for Johnson who said after the race “I was only focused on the win.” Johnson hasn’t gone winless since he joined the Cup series in 2002.

Aric Almirola had to survive a very up and down day to advance in the playoffs. For him, his finish at Richmond broke the tie with Johnson for the last transfer spot.

Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones have been eliminated from the playoffs.

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