A year after he scored his first career NASCAR Cup series win, Chase Elliott repeated the feat Sunday. Last year Elliott led 52 of 90 laps and held off Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps. Sunday, Elliott was the class of the field leading from pole and leading a race high 80 of the 90 laps, sweeping both stages and again holding off Truex for the win.
“What a day, man,” Elliott said. “Such a fast NAPA Camaro, and these guys called a great race. Just stayed mistake‑free, and Martin was a little quicker I felt like those last two runs, but the track position was king.”
Last year Truex ran out of fuel one turn from the end; Sunday he dogged Elliott across the line with Elliott winning by .454 seconds. It was the fifth career win for Elliott, all of those victories coming in the last 12 months.
“I tried to do all I could,” Truex said. “Chase did an excellent job, just not making mistakes, and really all I could do was get to two car lengths, one and a half at the closest in braking, and just try to force a mistake. But he hit his marks. His car was really fast in the key areas that you need to be, leaving a few of the key corners.”
Denny Hamlin finished a distant third with Erik Jones fourth and Ryan Blaney who started in the back of the field rallying for finish fifth.
While Elliott was having a clean race out front, several other drivers struggled. Chief among them Kyle Busch who started third and whose troubles started on the first corner of the first lap when he spun underneath William Byron. Busch quickly recovered and rejoined the field 11th. He fought back to fifth at the end of Stage 1 but under the ensuing caution an obviously upset Byron retaliated by ramming the back of Busch’s Toyota. The damage was slight to Busch, but Byron’s Chevy suffered major damage. Busch pitted but was penalized for speeding and came out 27th; Byron just behind in 28th.
On lap 38, Busch made contact with Bubba Wallace in the bus stop sending Wallace into the wall in the carousel. He fought his way back inside the top 10, but on lap 62, Wallace squeezed him down the track exiting turn 7. The two bumped and banged off each other down the frontstretch the tussle ending with Busch spinning into turn 1. That effectively ended any hope Busch had of winning, though he did survive to finish 11th.
In his first race with a new crew chief, Jimmie Johnson started ninth and ran inside the top 10 most of the day searching for a decent finish to earn a spot inside the top 16 in points for the Playoffs. On lap 62 however, entering the bus stop, Ryan Blaney got under Johnson with Johnson ending up spinning into the wall in the carousal. He would rally to finish 19th and combined with a poor result from his nearest competitor in the standings, Ryan Newman who finished 25th, Johnson leaves Watkins Glen tied for 16th in points but winning a tiebreaker due to finishes.
Matt DiBenedetto was sixth, Kevin Harvick seventh with Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch rounding out the top 10.
Elliott joins five only other drivers who have won back-to-back at Watkins Glen and the laps lead was the second most led at Watkins Glen just behind Tony Stewart who led 83 in 2005.
After finishing the last seven races outside the top 10 for Elliott Sunday’s dominate performance puts him among the playoff favorites with just four races remining before the 10-race playoff stretch.
“I think Chase has shown that he can win at any track,” his team owner Rick Hendrick said. “He’s really good with equipment, doesn’t tear up anything. I think if we can get the car good enough for Chase, he can win a championship, and he can win it this year. So we’ll just have to keep tuning on the car and giving him good stuff like they did today.
“I think Chase is going to be a contender for a lot of years to come.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway next Sunday.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Go Bowling at The Glen
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, New York
Sunday, August 4, 2019
1. (1) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 90.
2. (4) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 90.
3. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 90.
4. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 90.
5. (19) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 90.
6. (20) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 90.
7. (15) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 90.
8. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 90.
9. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 90.
10. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 90.
11. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 90.
12. (9) Aric Almirola, Ford, 90.
13. (16) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 90.
14. (17) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 90.
15. (12) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 90.
16. (11) Michael McDowell, Ford, 90.
17. (18) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 90.
18. (22) Paul Menard, Ford, 90.
19. (8) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 90.
20. (13) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 90.
21. (2) William Byron, Chevrolet, 90.
22. (31) David Ragan, Ford, 90.
23. (21) Joey Logano, Ford, 90.
24. (26) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 90.
25. (25) Ryan Newman, Ford, 90.
26. (24) Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 90.
27. (32) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 90.
28. (30) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 90.
29. (34) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 90.
30. (27) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 89.
31. (28) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 89.
32. (36) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 89.
33. (35) Cody Ware(i), Chevrolet, 89.
34. (33) Corey LaJoie, Ford, Engine, 85.
35. (23) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 84.
36. (29) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 72.
37. (37) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Steering, 65.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 98.523 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 14 Mins, 17 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.454 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 4 for 13 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Elliott 1-22;K. Larson 23-28;C. Elliott 29-58;M. Truex Jr 59;P. Menard 60-62;C. Elliott 63-90.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Chase Elliott 3 times for 80 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 6 laps; Paul Menard 1 time for 3 laps; Martin Truex Jr 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 9,11,19,18,24,48,42,20,1,10
Stage #2 Top Ten: 9,19,4,14,11,2,88,20,12,48