Chase Elliott was the clear favorite heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup series road course race. Elliott won the first road course race at Daytona last August. It was the first time the series ever raced on the 3.61-mile course and Elliott won the event. It was his fourth consecutive road course victory dating back to Watkins Glen in the fall of 2019.
For a good part of Sunday, it looked like it could be Elliotts race to lose. Starting from pole, Elliott won Stage 1 leading all but one lap.
He would finish sixth in Stage 2 and led a race high 44 of the 70 laps on the day.
His chance for a win however, fell apart late in the going. With the laps winding down, caution came out for a light rain shower on lap 56. Elliott was among a group that pitted for tires; he rejoined the field in 14th.
Elliott was fighting back and was running as high as fourth despite an off-course excursion through the grass coming out of the International Horseshoe. On lap 64 however, coming out of turn 6 and looking for third, Elliott made contact with Brad Keselowski and went for a solo spin. He ended the day with a 21st-place finish.
“When you have those late-race cautions like that and you have a mixed bag of who stays and who goes, it’s a bit of a gamble either way, I felt like,” Elliott said. “I thought (changing) tires was the right move. Tires won the race, so I think it was the right move. You get back in traffic and it just gets to be so chaotic, and then just depending on who gets through and who doesn’t kind of determines how it’s going to shake out.
“I hate it. I made too many mistakes. We went off track and it was just a bad deal. We had a fast NAPA Chevy and I appreciate the effort. I hate it for Corey. He ran me off there, so I thought he was going to take the lane again, so I went to cross him over and I think that time he was actually going to give me the lane. So, go figure. But we’ll try again next week.”