When the checker flag waved ending the YellaWood 400 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 4, Chase Elliott had finished in sixth place.
But just minutes later, NASCAR issued a penalty against the Dawsonville based driver for allegedly passing cars between the infield of the track and the double yellow lines, a rule that had been enforced two times earlier in the race.
Two hours after the race, Nascar rescinded the penalty, saying that Elliott was forced off the track by Chris Buescher. Elliott now heads into the last race of the round-of-twelve in fourth place, 44 points ahead of Kyle Busch, who is the ninth place driver. Elliott started Sunday’s race in seventh place.
Had the penalty been enforced, Elliott would have still ended with 17 more playoff points than when he started and would have advanced to 6th place.
After the race NBC NASCAR Analyst Kyle Petty called it “the craziest race” he’d ever seen at Talladega. Only the top eight will advance to the next round of the Nascar Cup Series playoffs.
Several other playoff drivers were unable to finish the race due to damage to their cars.
Elliott started the race in 11th and floated around the 9th to 12th position for the entire first half of Stage 1. Up until that point, drivers chose to stay in one lane until Elliott and Bubba Wallace established a run on the outside lane.
An accident in front of Elliott before the end of Stage 1 allowed him to gain several spots. He finished the stage in fifth place.
Elliott won the race off pit road. He chose the inside lane, but the outside cleared and passed him, putting Elliott in third place.
Another caution on lap 88 allowed Elliott to take the lead for the restart. He held the lead through the red flag caution on lap 108, but Joey Logano passed him on the restart. With two laps left in Stage 2, Elliott, in second place, pushed to pass Logano for the lead but failed. He finished Stage 2 in fourth place.
The final race NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 will be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday, Oct. 11. Elliott won at Charlotte’s road course earlier this year. The Bank of America Roval 400 will start at 2:30 p.m.