The Roval weekend has came and went, and it was a bit of a let down in my opinion. This year was NASCAR's third attempt at the Charlotte infield road course, and it was the most boring of the three. Based on the history of the Roval with its crazy finishes, as well as Saturday's Xfinity race, the expectations were sky high...and it flopped. Even though it didn't meet those full expectations the end resulted in a satisfying race winner for many fans...Chase Elliott.
Stage 1 was the best stage of the race in my opinion. Although it wasn't raining, seeing the Cup guys starting a race on the rain tires for the first time ever was unique. Starting on the rain tires allowed for early race strategy, and when the first caution happened Ty Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto changed to "slick" tires to fly through the field, and Dillon snagged a stage win. Full-time underdog Timmy Hill also earned a career best stage finish of fifth place.
Stage 2 had a return to normalcy. Ryan Blaney beat Chase Elliott to win the stage. Blaney was looking like the dominant car at that point in the race. Clint Bowyer who had lead the majority of stage 1 was caught up in an incident. The first two stages of the race featured a lot of drivers trying to position themselves for the final stage, especially those who were below the playoff cutline.
Stage 3 was dominated by Chase Elliott, looking as smooth as ever driving through the field. He emphasized that he is among the best road course racers in the Cup Series in doing so. After starting in the back of the field due to an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel, the driver of the #9 Chevrolet used a few cautions, and his skills to dominate the end of the race. There was some late race drama with Kyle Busch chancing his fuel and tires to try to win, but the reigning champ came up just short.
The playoff cut line was largely irrelevant during the event. Austin Dillon, and Aric Almirola were not major talking points throughout the race, and struggled to even get into the top 10. Clint Bowyer, especially early on, was very competitive throughout the day, but he finished poorly due to a loss of power steering on his #14 Ford. Kyle Busch did not have race winning speed, but put out a valiant effort especially nearing the end of the race.