NASCAR Playoffs: Chase Elliott wins YellaWood 500 in Talladega
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 continued Sunday with the YellaWood 500 in iconic Talladega, Alabama, where Chase Elliott secured his fifth win of the season and punched his ticket to the Round of 8.
It was the fifth race of a 10-week stretch of competition that ends in Arizona in November, when just four drivers will compete in the highly anticipated NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.
The 12 drivers who were part of the playoff field in Sunday's race included Elliott, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suárez and Austin Cindric. The four drivers eliminated after the conclusion of the Round of 16 competition in Bristol were Tyler Reddick, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick.
Here are the top moments from Talladega Superspeedway:
Burton tried to take the lead but got a bad push from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. entering Turn 1. Burton got turned around in front of traffic, picking up Gragson and Gibbs, who had their race ended early after the collision.
Stage 1 in the books
The green flag was back out at Lap 29 with Busch and Suárez in the lead, but it was Blaney who surged ahead and won the first stage in a photo finish. He was followed by Hamlin, who checked in just 0.009 seconds after.
Larson took the lead over Erik Jones, Chastain, Blaney and Bell when the green flag returned at Lap 65, as the second stage got underway.
Battling in Stage 2
Reddick got shoved to the lead near the end of the second stage, but he ran out of fuel coming to pit road.
Chris Buescher got a huge shove from Byron that pushed him to the front of the field, but the new leader's time on top was short-lived. Hamlin took the lead for the fifth time on Lap 132 in the third and final stage.
Coming up on 10 laps to go, the top seven cars were running single file on the inside line …
… and Jones took the lead for the 10th time with just eight laps remaining.
Elliott got a massive shove from Jones on the outside line, while Blaney got a push from Michael McDowell.
In the end, Elliott had the momentum he needed to cruise to victory, holding off Blaney en route to picking up his fifth win of the season and his second at Talladega.