NASCAR Cup Series Race at Nashville Goes to Elliott

Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN — June 26, 2022

After a two-week break, the NASCAR Cup Series returns today with the Ally 400 from Nashville Superspeedway.

Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez became the 12th different NASCAR Cup Series winner this season with his victory two weeks ago at Sonoma Raceway. He also became the first driver from Mexico to win a NASCAR Cup Series race and the fifth different foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race; joining Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada), and Mario Andretti (Italy).

With a dozen different drivers visiting Victory Lane this season, that number ties the 2000 and 2012 seasons for second-most winners through 16 races in the Modern Era (1972-2022); behind only the 2003 season with 13 different winners.

Since the inception of the Playoffs in 2004, the most different winners the Cup Series has seen during the 26-race regular season were 15 different winners in 2011. Suárez also became the fourth different driver this season to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series event; joining Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (Phoenix), and his Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain (COTA). The record in the Modern Era (1972-2022) for the most first-time Cup Series winners in a single season is five and it has happened three times – 2001, 2002, and 2011.

New Broadcast Network

This week’s race marks the beginning of NBC’s coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. The network and its broadcast partners will televise the remainder of the regular season and the NASCAR Playoffs that culminate in Phoenix in November.

Following the 16th race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, all but one full-time series driver has scored stage points this season – Corey LaJoie is the only driver without a single stage point. Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott has scored the most stage points with 136 of his total 536 points this season coming from stage points (25.3%).

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney has won the most stages this season through 16 races with four stage wins.

With Daniel Suárez becoming the 12th different driver to win this season and earn a spot in the Playoffs, that leaves just four positions open in the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series postseason field with 10 races left to go in the regular season.

The four drivers currently in the Playoff hot seats that all drivers outside the postseason cutoff are coveting are Ryan Blaney (+95 points from the Playoff cutoff), Martin Truex Jr. (+65), Christopher Bell (+28), and Aric Almirola (+7).

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola is currently in the most precarious position of the four drivers inside the Playoff cut-off because he is in the 16th and final transfer position on points. But if a driver below him in the standings wins over the next 10 races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs. Almirola currently has a seven-point advantage on his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick who is 17th – the first spot outside the Playoffs cutoff.

Here is how the points ladder stacks up with some big names currently sitting outside of the top 16.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
13 Ryan Blaney 511 0 4 4 95
14 Martin Truex Jr. 481 0 3 3 65
15 Christopher Bell 444 0 0 0 28
16 Aric Almirola 423 0 0 0 7
17 Kevin Harvick 416 0 0 0 -7
18 Tyler Reddick 381 0 2 2 -42
19 Austin Dillon 376 0 0 0 -47
20 Erik Jones 368 0 0 0 -55
21 Michael McDowell 330 0 0 0 -93
22 Chris Buescher 318 0 0 0 -105
23 Justin Haley 310 0 0 0 -113
24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 288 0 0 0 -135
25 Bubba Wallace 284 0 1 1 -139
26 Ty Dillon 270 0 0 0 -153
27 Cole Custer 262 0 0 0 -161
28 Harrison Burton # 241 0 0 0 -182
29 Todd Gilliland # 239 0 0 0 -184
30 Brad Keselowski 227 0 0 -10 -196

Currently in on Points

Today’s Race

The weather could be a factor in today’s race. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s and there is a threat of rain. The 1.333-mile race track will require drivers to complete 300 laps to reach the 400-mile mark(actual distance of 399 miles) with Stages set for 90/95/115 laps.

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2021 series champion, Kyle Larson, is the defending Cup Series winner at Nashville Superspeedway.

Denny Hamlin starts on the pole today, with Team Penske’s Joey Logano beside him in the front row. Larson starts third with his teammate Chase Elliott in row two. The latest Cup Winner, Daniel Suarez, starts fifth.

Stage One

Denny Hamlin(11) drove off into the lead at the drop of the green flag and led for the first 41 laps of the race. The red flag was displayed due to a lightning strike in the area as rain closed in on the speedway. A split in the clouds sent the storm east and west of the track sparing a long rain delay for the drying equipment to operate.

Denny Hamlin exits pit road during the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway / NASCAR Photo

NASCAR policy requires a half-hour delay from the last lightning strike before racing can resume. The top five at the stoppage were Hamlin, Daniel Suarez(99), Ross Chastain(1), Christopher Bell(20), and Kyle Larson(5).

The stoppage lasted one hour and 28 seconds, with the caution displayed cars returned to the track to warm the engines and tires back up. Drivers then came to pit road for service prior to the race restarting.

William Byron(24) complained of an ill-handling machine and retired to the garage just after the green flag waved. A lap later his teammate, Alex Bowman(48), got tagged in the rear bumper by Corey LaJoie(7). Bowman spun and had the right front tire go down. Limping back to the pits the tire came apart and tore up the fender destroying the aero on the race car.

After going back to green flag racing, another accident involving Ty Dillon(42) and Chase Briscoe(14) brought out the yellow flag again. Dillon suffered minimal damage as they spun in turn two and was able to continue. Repairs to Briscoe’s car took him out of contention for the win. On the restart after caution number four, Martin Truex Jr.(19) raced Hamlin into turn one and took over the top spot to become the new leader of the race.

Truex and Hamlin drove away from the rest of the field as the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers battled for the Stage win. Truex held on to take the green and white checkered flag and the 10 bonus points awarded to the Stage winner.

Stage One Results

1 19 Martin Truex Jr. 10
2 11 Denny Hamlin 9
3 12 Ryan Blaney* 8
4 20 Christopher Bell 7
5 4 Kevin Harvick* 6
6 5 Kyle Larson 5
7 23 Bubba Wallace 4
8 9 Chase Elliott 3
9 18 Kyle Busch 2
10 45 Kurt Busch 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Stage Two

On the Stage ending pit stops, Joey Logano(22) took only two tires and exited the pits in the lead, just ahead of Truex, Ryan Blaney(12), Kevin Harvick(4), and Bell. Logano led into turn one, but by the time they entered turn three off the backstretch, Truex was back in front and Blaney had passed his teammate to take over second.

Kyle Busch was the man on the move early in Stage two, moving up to third and closing on the leaders when the caution flag came out on lap 117 for rain drops hitting the track. Radar showed the moisture came from the trailing edge of the clouds that passed earlier. Clear skies behind the brief shower gave teams the confidence to use the caution period to come to pit road for service.

Truex, Blaney, and Kyle Busch exited one-two-three to await the resumption of racing when the rain passes. Back to green, Truex and Blaney drove side-by-side for several laps. The battle slowed the leaders down enough for Hamlin to catch both cars and take the top spot.

Truex tried to recapture the lead but ultimately had to slide in behind Hamlin as Kyle Busch was once again moving towards the front taking over the third position. Just as the storm clouds were exiting the area another lightning strike brought the field to pit road for another delay on lap 138.

Crews covered the cars as the little pop-up shower turned into a cloudburst soaking the speedway.

Cars sit covered on the grid during a weather delay in the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway / NASCAR Photo

Stage Two Results

1 19 Martin Truex Jr. 10
2 11 Denny Hamlin 9
3 18 Kyle Busch 8
4 9 Chase Elliott 7
5 45 Kurt Busch 6
6 5 Kyle Larson 5
7 1 Ross Chastain 4
8 4 Kevin Harvick* 3
9 12 Ryan Blaney* 2
10 10 Michael McDowell* 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

After a lengthy rain delay, the race was restarted. Chase Elliott grabbed his 2nd win of the season solidifying his hold of the top spot in the season standings.

Playoff Standings

1 Chase Elliott 586 In Win (2)
2 Ross Chastain 556 In Win (2)
3 Joey Logano 534* In Win (2)
4 William Byron 468 In Win (2)
5 Denny Hamlin 374 In Win (2)
6 Kyle Busch 539 In Win
7 Kyle Larson 519 In Win
8 Alex Bowman 461 In Win
9 Kurt Busch 397 In Win
10 Austin Cindric 392* In Win
11 Chase Briscoe 389* In Win
12 Daniel Suarez 388 In Win
13 Ryan Blaney 555* +112
14 Martin Truex Jr. 516 +73
15 Christopher Bell 480 +37
16 Kevin Harvick 452* +9
NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Cut Line
17 Aric Almirola 443* -9
18 Tyler Reddick 400 -52
19 Austin Dillon 399 -53
20 Erik Jones 394 -58

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Results of the Ally 400 from Nashville Superspeedway

1 9 Chase Elliott 300
2 45 Kurt Busch 300
3 12 Ryan Blaney 300
4 5 Kyle Larson 300
5 1 Ross Chastain 300
6 11 Denny Hamlin 300
7 2 Austin Cindric 300
8 20 Christopher Bell 300
9 22 Joey Logano 300
10 4 Kevin Harvick 300
11 43 Erik Jones 300
12 23 Bubba Wallace 300
13 34 Michael McDowell 300
14 3 Austin Dillon 300
15 99 Daniel Suarez 300
16 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 300
17 10 Aric Almirola 300
18 8 Tyler Reddick 300
19 16 AJ Allmendinger 300
20 7 Corey LaJoie 300
21 18 Kyle Busch 300
22 19 Martin Truex Jr. 300
23 31 Justin Haley 300
24 38 Todd Gilliland 300
25 21 Harrison Burton 300
26 41 Cole Custer 300
27 51 Cody Ware 298
28 15 J.J. Yeley 298
29 6 Brad Keselowski 298
30 17 Chris Buescher 297
31 42 Ty Dillon 297
32 78 B.J. McLeod 295
33 77 Josh Bilicki 285
34 14 Chase Briscoe 269
35 24 William Byron 262
36 48 Alex Bowman 49