Chase Elliott came in clutch on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, winning the Xfinity 500 to advance to the Championship 4 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Elliott led 236 of 500 laps in the Round of 8 finale to secure his first appearance in the final round of the postseason by earning his fourth victory of the 2020 season and the 10th race win of his career.
Ryan Blaney finished second for the second time at Martinsville this season, followed by Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch to round out the top five.
“Oh my gosh, the biggest win ever for us,” Elliott said after the race. “Just so proud. … Couldn’t ask for a better night. It’s unreal.”
The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports driver will join Logano, Denny Hamlin and Keselowski in the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday. Keselowski finished fourth and Hamlin finished 11th to make it in on points. Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch were eliminated from the playoffs.
After winning the Regular Season Championship and earning nine race victories this year, Harvick struggled through the early stages of the race when things went from bad to worse after a left-rear tire went down on the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet on Lap 182. He went two laps down in the process.
Harvick looked like he was mounting a comeback when he rejoined the lead lap on Lap 400. Harvick was within one point of Hamlin to make the Championship 4 when he tried a last-ditch effort to pass Kyle Busch coming to the checkered flag, spinning out both himself and Busch in the process. Harvick crashed on the frontstretch before crossing the finish line in 17th.
Truex appeared poised to earn victory in the final stretch of the race, taking the lead on the last restart. Truex would lose the lead to Elliott with 43 laps remaining. Truex reported a loose right-front rear with 40 laps to go. He had to pit with 26 laps to go fix the issue. Truex was also eliminated from the playoffs after finishing 22nd.
Elliott earned the Stage 2 victory, while Hamlin finished first in Stage 1.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Nobody in the fantasy league was riding with William Clyde Elliott, II this week so this award will be tucked neatly back into the proverbial closet awaiting the checkered flag at Phoenix.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
The biggest scorer this weekend at Martinsville is Jim, aka Chiefy. Ol Chiefy was a stowaway inside the hot rod of Blazingly Bad Brad Keselowski for all 500 laps. For his loyalty and support, Bad Brad’s 4th place finish delivered 45 points to Chiefy.
Doing nearly as well as ol Chiefy this week was his better half, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star. The Vegas Super Star was all in for The Delivernator this weekend. Denny Hamlin’s 11th place finish, as well as his stage points put 44 points into her 3rd segment savings account.
Next is a cast of extremely unlikely players who have joined forces to support YRB at Martinsville. Those three players consists of Jeremy The Coach, Snoopy Dawn, and Dan The Numbers Cruncher. All three put all their marbles into the marble sack of Young Ryan Blaney, and he returned a cool 42 points to their fantasy league bucket.
All by his lonesome this week as the fourth highest scorer is our chief law enforcement office, Leon Your Benevolent and Most Humble Sheriff. The Sheriff racked up a cool 37 points while he was holding his nose and rooting for Kyle Busch!
Rounding out the top five scorers is the duo of our top two on the leaderboard, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit and Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head. Both ladies received 29 points when the checkered flag waved in Martinsville. Even though each lady received the same score, each player was rooting for a different driver on Sunday. La Bandita was all in for Martin Truex, Jr. while The Cheddar Head was betting the farm on Clint Bowyer.
Oddly enough the movement within the fantasy league was restricted to the bottom half of the scoring pylon this week, positions five through nine.
The biggest mover of the week consists of a duet that includes Carlton The Doorman and Carole, aka Rudy. Both players plummeted down the leaderboard three (3) places to now reside in 8th and 9th places, respectively.
Following the above mentioned duo is a threesome consisting of Edie the Las Vegas Super Star, Snoopy Dawn, as well as Leon your Most Humble Sheriff. All three players stepped up their game and moved up two (2) spots to sit in 5th, 6th, and 7th, respectively
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
Martinsville gave us scores all over the road map. So the one player who was only able to muster up a single digit for their score is the player that we honor this week as The Crappiest Pick of The Week. That player who harnessed this glorious award is Carole, aka Rudy. It appears that she is trying to make a running attempt to evict Linda The Cookie Mom from her comfortable positioning in The Outhouse. Try as Rudy might, she is still along way from the front steps of The Outhouse!
As mentioned in the previous paragraph Linda The Cookie Mom receives another all expense paid week in The Outhouse, which is located down at the end of Lonely Street, directly across the street from The Heatbreak Hotel!
Up next for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Championship 4 finale at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!