CONCORD, N.C. - After winning four consecutive years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, Kaulig Racing's AJ Allmendinger picked up his first Cup Series win at the track in the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
The most successful driver in the history of the Charlotte ROVAL held off a late-race challenge from William Byron and Kyle Busch to put the No. 16 Chevrolet in Victory Lane.
Now, a three-time Cup Series race winner, Allmendinger gave a very emotional interview after his first Cup win since the Indianapolis Road Course in 2021.
"Because you don’t know when you’re going to do it again," Allmendinger. "I love all the men and women at Kaulig Racing so much. First of all, hi to my beautiful wife and my new baby boy. I usually give these checkered flags away but I’m going to have to wrap this around Aero.
"My mom and dad, all my family and friends, those people see how much anguish and how much I put it on my shoulders when we’re struggling. It just means the world. I hate crying right now, but it’s a freaking Cup race, man. You don’t know when it’s ever going to happen again. Let’s go!"
Allmendinger led 46 of 109 laps en route to his first win in the Next Gen era. He also becomes the first non-playoff driver to win a playoff race in 2023. Last season, the playoffs started with three straight non-playoff drivers in Victory Lane.
Results from the 2023 Bank Of America ROVAL 400 are listed below.
Other Race Facts
The Charlotte ROVAL marked the end of the Round of 12 for the following drivers: Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
Despite not moving on to the next round, Wallace was pleased with another good showing on a road course on his 30th birthday and exceeding expectations this season.
"This weekend was incredible," Wallace said. "Just from the effort from the team and from myself. It is what it is. Just didn’t have enough and it wasn’t in the cards. I guess that’s what 30 is. I’m not mad. I’m happy for the team. I’m pumped for our season. It’s not over yet."
After making it all the way to the Championship 4 last year, Chastain saw his 2023 playoff campaign come to an end in Charlotte.
"We knew coming in that it was going to be tough," Chastain said. "We put together a heck of a day for us on road courses this year in this No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevy.
"Lately, we’ve just been lacking speed and I can’t get over the curbs. There’s a lot of reasons... I’m excited with the gains we’ve made."
With Wallace getting eliminated, there are now four Toyotas in the Round of 8 after fielding six full-time entries in the NASCAR Cup Series. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick remain in the championship fight.
The main reason Truex Jr. advanced is due to his Regular Season Championship and the playoff points he earned from it. In fact, Truex Jr.'s No. 19 Toyota failed to advance in the Owner's Championship as the No. 9 Chevrolet of Chase Elliott advanced.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has also failed to finish inside the top 15 for seven straight races. The last time he did that was in 2009, according to statistician Trey Ryan.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 27 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
MOST RECENT FINISH
Martin Truex Jr.
Week 28 of the GRID Ranking:
The next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 15. Coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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