Bertha belts Charlotte; NASCAR reschedules Cup and Xfinity races

NASCAR pulled the plug quickly on the Alsco Uniforms 500 as Tropical Depression Bertha soaked Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday. 

The Cup race, originally scheduled for 8:25 p.m., has been moved to 7 p.m. Thursday. Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron and Alex Bowman will start from the front row as the lineup was set by inverting the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. 

Bowman led a race-high 164 laps on Sunday but finished 19th when the race went into overtime. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, who is currently third in the standings, is looking forward to a second shot at the 1.5-mile track.

“We were strong on Sunday and don’t have the finish to show that,” Bowman said. “This team has put together some fast cars this season and I know that what we unload on Wednesday will be just as good. We have a notebook from Sunday’s race and hopefully, we can go back out and put on a good show for everyone at home.”

Coming off of his truck win Tuesday night, Bowman’s teammate Chase Elliott hopes to have the monkey off of his back when the Alsco Uniforms 500 finally goes green. After his incident with Kyle Busch at Darlington last Wednesday, when the No. 18 punted Elliott eight laps before the finish, as well as the pit strategy gone sour at Charlotte on Sunday that took the No. 24 Chevrolet from leader to runner-up, the second-generation racer is ready for his luck to change.

“The last two weeks have been really tough,” Elliott said. “I feel like we have put ourselves in really good positions as a team, we’ve made good decisions and we’ve made good adjustments on the cars throughout these races. Those are things you don’t always get right. I think that’s what is frustrating to me, it’s a hard thing to make all the right moves, the right decisions and get the car driving exactly like you want it. 

“When you have those days, those type of runs and those type of cars you want to make the most of it. I think that’s where the frustration is the worst for me, knowing that stuff isn’t forever. It’s not something you get right all the time. We’ve had two opportunities get away. I think that’s the hard thing to swallow. The silver lining is we’ve been running well, and that’s encouraging. We’ve just got to keep doing it. It’s still early in the season.”

Though Elliott is still searching for his first win of the season, the same can’t be said for Denny Hamlin, who won the Daytona 500 and last Wednesday's event at Darlington Raceway. However, Hamlin returns to Charlotte with understudies for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team after crew chief Chris Gabehart, car chief Brandon Griffeth and engineer Scott Simmons were suspended on Monday. During the warm-up laps for the Coke 600, two pieces of ballast fell from Hamlin’s car.

For violating Section (Minimum Safety Penalty Options), the JGR trio will be sidelined until June 10.  Sam McAulay, Eric Phillips and Scott Eldridge will serve as the subs in the crew chief, car chief and engineer roles, respectively.

Due to the postponement of Wednesday’s Cup race, NASCAR elected to reschedule the Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway to Monday. The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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