Meanwhile, reigning Cup Series driver Kyle Busch was among the four drivers eliminated from championship contention at the end of Sunday's race. He doesn't even think he can get to victory lane this year. Fact of the matter, if we could win, we would be a heck of a lot better off. Busch said. "I don't think we even have a shot".
Chase Elliott repeated at Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval and claimed his third NASCAR Cup Series win of 2020. It also was his fourth-consecutive road-course win, dating back to the 2019 season, making him NASCAR's new "King of the Road" and tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for most consecutive road-course wins.
Elliott is in the round of eight for the fourth consecutive year and still seeking his first appearance in the championship final four. "We're just eyes ahead trying to assert ourselves amongst the next group". That 15-year streak ties for sixth all time. He needed his first win of the season to advance, a tall ask in this bumpy year.
He sounded resigned when over his mic he said, "Good job this year, guys", to his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing crew. Bowyer also led laps before Ty Dillon took the lead on lap 21 and won the opening stage at lap 25.
His fate was in his hands for the final 20 laps but Busch knew he didn't have a chance.
But when the driver with the most raw talent of his generation can't win a race in 32 tries and counting, it goes beyond just luck. "I didn't have anything for nobody". "We were in a really good spot, but I knew that 9 [Elliott] was really fast and has been pretty tough to beat here the last few years".
But Busch was eventually passed by teammate Erik Jones on Lap 91 of 109 and was then forced to pit under green with three laps remaining when he ran out of fuel.
Asked if there is anything that needs to change for the No. 18 team or about things they're not doing better, Busch said: "All of those things have certainly been discussed".
"It's very important", Busch said.
"But certainly it would be nice to do more, and to have a win for this year would be the only consolation prize for the way this year has gone".
Busch is the first defending Cup champion to be eliminated this early in the playoffs. Bowyer, who this week said he's retiring at the end of the season and will move to the television booth, was taken to the care center for treatment of an undisclosed ailment after the race. Elliott finished Stage 1 in 20th place, nearly a replica of last year's ROVAL win when he got off to a slow start after making contact with a wall on turn one. It's his second win this season at Charlotte - he won on the oval in May when NASCAR resumed racing during the pandemic. With his win, Elliott locked-up his advancement to the round of eight, scheduled to begin October 18 at Kansas Speedway.