Chase Elliott wins at Watkins Glen, his 1st Cup victory
Chase Elliott wins at Watkins Glen, his 1st Cup victory
09 August, 2018, 23:59
Elliott led the final 32 laps of the race, holding off a hard-charging Martin Truex Jr, who ultimately ran out of gas.
The 22-year old driver for Hendrick Motorsports in his 99th start in the Monster Energy Series a runner-up eight times in his career, wasn't the bridesmaid this week, as he drove an outstanding race on his way to his first career victory. This time, Elliott, who had several brushes with Hamlin in the first stage, quickly got past Hamlin and began putting pressure on Busch.
On a stop on lap 54, leader Kyle Busch's gasman had a problem with a can, preventing him from filling the vehicle.
Elliott held off defending race victor, Martin Truex, Jr., in the closing laps.
Elliott is the fourth driver to earn his first career win at Watkins Glen International. GMS has been using several drivers in its No. 23 vehicle since Spencer Gallagher's suspension in May for failing a NASCAR drug test. Gallagher was reinstated last month, but the team has been using a variety of drivers, including Elliott's son, Chase Elliott, in the auto.
Martin Truex Jr., seeking a third straight road course win, pressured Elliott over the final 17 laps but finished second.
Finishing third was Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Midway through the segment, the Big 3 of Busch, Truex and Kevin Harvick were running in the top 10, but Elliott dominated and beat Busch by 1.3 seconds. Joey Logano then went off track in the inner loop and wound up driving through the gravel pit.
Busch took charge on the restart, pulling away to a lead of almost three seconds over Truex, with Hamlin third and Chase Elliott fourth.
On the next lap, Aric Almirola was spun out by Ryan Blaney, bringing out the first caution. He won both the Xfinity and Cup races in 2015 and won the Xfinity race on Saturday. "So thrilled, so emotional, so much relief, you know, working on three years hadn't won one".
Paul Menard was dealt a blow to his playoff chances before the race even started when his No. 21 Ford failed inspection Sunday morning and he was sent to the rear of the 37-car field. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson wound up using his auto to push Elliott to his first victory celebration. Elliott hasn't made a NASCAR national series start since the 2012 Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
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