The Charlotte Roval is not my favorite race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule because I personally think the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval is one of the best tracks to race on the NASCAR Cup Series Circuit. Why ruin something if it's already perfect? Although not my favorite race, it was entertaining. My favorite driver proved that he is a marketing genius. We got to see a potentially retiring driver win a race. We have exciting news regarding the future of NASCAR, and the playoffs are heating up.
Speaking of things heating up, Stenhouse's car literally caught on fire this past weekend. Part of me jokingly wants to believe that it was staged because after the race, he posted a video of his Totinos Camero on fire with the caption, "Left our Pizza Rolls in the oven a bit too long this weekend." Talk about excellent sponsorship activation. Because Stenhouse was taken out of the race on lap 97, he finished the day in 34th in front of Andy Lally, Erik Jones, and Denny Hamlin.
Speaking of drivers from JTG Daugherty Racing, former JTG Daugherty Driver of the #47 car, AJ Allmendinger, won the third race of his career and Kaulig Racing's second win as a team. He managed to fend off juggernauts William Byron and Kyle Busch, who needed a win to move on in the playoffs, to finish with a win. There have been mumbles after this race that AJ Allmendinger may retire at the end of this season, and this win is his ride off in the sunset moment.
As one driver leaves, another takes his place. Sort of. Though not replacing Allmendinger, it was announced that Carson Hocevar will drive full-time in the Cup Series in 2024 in the Spire Motorsports #77 Chevy Camero, taking over for Ty Dillon. This is very exciting as I believe Hocevar will have a long and successful Cup Career, and I predict he will win a few Championships if put in the right situation. Spire is loading up to become a successful organization. With Corey Lajoie and Hocevar taking charge in the Cup Series, and the purchase of Kyle Busch Motorsports, the resources for Hocevar are there to bring success to both himself and the team.
With the Charlotte Roval being the last race in the Round of 12, eight drivers remain and will compete in the Round of Eight in the next three races at Vegas, Homestead, and Martinsville. Keselowski, Chastain, Wallace, and Busch were eliminated this past weekend, and Byron, Truex, Hamlin, Larson, Buescher, Bell, Reddick, and Blaney moved on.
As a Bubba Wallace fan, I hate to see him eliminated in the Round of 12. Earlier this year, he had made comments that he should be replaced. Bubba has a lot of room for growth, but 23XI is a young team, and Riddick and Bubba are the two best drivers for them to succeed. Wallace does not need to be replaced. He is a very talented driver who needs to work on his mental game in big moments. With time and experience, this will improve. Don't be surprised if we see Wallace with a few wins under his belt and in the Round of 8 in the coming seasons.
Though Stenhouse didn't finish the race, the Roval was still entertaining to me. I'm happy to see Allmendiger get a win under his belt, especially since he may retire at the conclusion of this season. Carson Hocevar will be a fun and exciting addition to the Cup Series full-time contenders list. We move on to Vegas for the Semi-Finals of the playoffs with an exciting field, and Bubba Wallace doesn't need to be replaced.