Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch eliminated from Cup playoffs as A.J. Allmendinger wins at Roval

It has been a long year for A.J. Allmendinger.

Kaulig Racing’s standout driver has been considered a menace on road courses since making his Cup Series bow back in 2007. With seven road courses on the docket in 2023, it seemed “The Dinger” was due for a highlight-filled campaign.

That didn’t happen. But with one road course left — and perhaps one final chance to reaffirm his glimmering skillset for Kaulig — Allmendinger delivered. The No. 16 car was a dancer in the Charlotte wind, gallivanting his way to the front of the pack and never letting go en route to his third career Cup win.

Allmendinger’s win made him the first non-playoff driver to capture a checkered flag this postseason. It also drew an end to the Round of 12, a three-race spectacle that proved as entertaining as it was stressful.

When the dust settled, four drivers saw their championships hopes dwindle into the autumn wind: Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace, Ross Chastain and Kyle Busch each bid their playoff spells farewell. Each conductor of speed flashed their considerable talent, with Wallace and Busch coming closest to victory at Talladega and the Roval, respectively. But ultimately, inconsistency — coupled with a bit of misfortune — brought them crashing down to earth.

And then there were eight. It’s an elite bunch, teeming with versatility and speed. Some, like William Byron and Denny Hamlin, have been fixtures atop the standings week-after-week. Others, like Martin Truex Jr., are limping into the affair.

Regardless, the masses will be captivated. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

MORE: Watch the Bank of America Roval 400 live with Fubo (free trial)

The Sporting News tracked live updates from this year’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Follow below for highlights, results and analysis as the Cup Series field got that much thinner in the Queen City.

(All results are unofficial)

(All times Eastern)

5:45 p.m.: Allmedinger wins at the Roval! Kaulig Racing has a winner in 2023! And it’s the Dinger!

5:44 p.m.: Final lap to go. One more effort for Byron to get beyond Allmendinger. The No. 16 car is starting to build some distance, however.

5:43 p.m.: Two laps to go. Allmendinger vs. Byron. What a battle this has been.

5:42 p.m.: Truex is limping to the finish line. Got a little wobbly a few laps ago, which opened up space for Wallace to shoot through. Now he’s veering into the wall ever so slightly. He has to keep his cool.

5:40 p.m.: Ty Gibbs showing some serious speed in P5. He’s right behind former JGR teammate Busch. The 21-year old will be a force to be reckoned with in 2024, I reckon.

5:39 p.m.: Allmendinger starting to find his rhythm. His lead has swelled by a couple tenths of a second. Looks like he’s hitting a bit of a stride.

5:36 p.m.: Byron doing what he has done time and time again this year. Just keeping tight with Allmendinger waiting to make a move. He looks like he’s got a little more speed than the No. 16. Busch has to stay close to give himself a chance.

5:35 p.m.: Chastain is pushing hard. He needs some serious help — likely a pair of cautions. But he’s eight spots up on his restart position. And you never know what will happen on the Roval.

5:31 p.m.: Another race restart sees Allmendinger pull to the front. Byron sneaks in front of Busch for second place. Just 10 laps to go. Buusch needs to make a move to the front sooner rather than later.

5:24 p.m.: CAUTION! Flames start to emanate out of Stenhouse’s car. Looks like it started up quite quickly. Fortunately, he’s out of the whip. But that will bring out the seventh caution flag of the day.

5:23 p.m.: Race restart sees Busch push up to second after another daring move. 13 laps to go!

5:16 p.m.: CAUTION! Bell gets into the back of Suarez and sends him into the wall. Surprisingly aggressive move by the No. 20 car, who already looks in good shape to advance.

5:07 p.m.: Wallace goes turning! Looks like Suarez got into Cindric, who then barreled into Wallace. He drops 20 spots in the process. Not looking good for the No. 23 car.

5:01 p.m.: CAUTION! Andy Lally goes turning after losing control heading into the turn. He gets himself into pit road, but locks up as he reaches the exit box.

4:56 p.m.: Back to green with 27 laps to go! Allmendinger puts together a great restart in his own right!

4:49 p.m.: CAUTION! Jones, McDowell and Stenhouse get three-wide heading into a turn and things start to get hairy. Truex barely avoids contact, keeping him in postseason contention. He’s holding onto his spot in the Round of 8 by a thread — he’s nine points (and one spot) in front of Keselowski.

4:47 p.m.: Race restart brings Allmendinger and Gibbs to blows. Ultimately, it’s Allmendinger who sits in front, about half a second in front of Gibbs. Busch has dropped to fourth!

4:40 p.m.: CAUTION! Hamlin goes spinning! Fortunately, he’s already sealed his spot in the Round of 8. But that’s just the sort of collision playoff drivers are hoping to avoid as this race reaches its crescendo.

4:34 p.m.: McDowell is a wrecking ball! He’s having some issues with his tire and it looks like his wheel could go spinning. Everyone is pitting in an effort to avoid being left out if a caution flag is waved.

4:14 p.m.: Allmendinger takes the lead! Busch needs a win to get in! There’s still 50 laps — and at least one green flag pit stop — to go. He’s got plenty of time to make things shake. But Byron is showcasing some strong speed behind him in P3.

4:08 p.m.: Green flag waved in the final stage! Busch leading the way. A.J. Allmendinger is pushing hard behind him. He’s an extraordinarily strong road racer. And he’s giving the RCR star all he can handle at the front of the pack.

4:01 p.m.: Strange…

3:52 p.m.: CAUTION! Josh Bilicki rams into the barrier after colliding with Corey LaJoie coming off of pit road. Pit road will be closed, which hurts Elliott; the No. 9 car was headed into Switzerland for a tire change but will be unable to now. As such, he’ll claim the stage. But he’ll also lose valuable track position in the final stage.

3:40 p.m.: Reddick finds himself in a strong spot as the stage nears its end. He’s currently P11 with 10 laps to go. But the majority of the cars in front of him are likely to pit before the end of the stage. If he stays out, he’ll be on pace to earn another glob of points, putting him in prime position to earn a spot in the Round of 8. He needed a good day at the Roval and he has got one.

NASCAR at Charlotte results, highlights: A.J. Allmendinger wins as Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch miss Round of 8

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