Chase Elliott takes first oval win in dramatic finish at Dover

shares
comments
Chase Elliott takes first oval win in dramatic finish at Dover
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Oct 7, 2018, 9:53 PM

Even Chase Elliott probably didn’t see this one coming.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express

Some late-race dramatics and a decision not to pit put Elliott in the lead and he held off Denny Hamlin in overtime to win Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

"This was a lot about perseverance. We had a penalty early and fell behind and luckily had a good enough car and good strategy to get back (to the front). What a day," Elliott said.

"I have to thank these guys and that guy in the white shirt (Rick Hendrick) because he's done so much for me. I wish my mom and dad were here but it's been a hell of a day."

Asked if he felt some redemption after losing this race a year ago in the final laps, Elliott said, "Definitely think it makes it sweeter, for sure. You don't appreciate it in those moments. But to come back here and have the day we had. We get to move on to the next round and I don't have to worry about Talladega next week."It's just a hell of a day."

Joey Logano ended up third, Erik Jones fourth and Kurt Busch completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Kevin Harvick – who won the first two stages in dominating fashion, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ninth and Daniel Suarez.

The win is Elliott’s second of the season and second of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career and he automatically advances to the third round of the playoffs regardless of his performance the next weeks at Talladega, Ala., and Kansas.

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, Harvick was the first off pit road and continued to hold the lead when the final stage went green on Lap 248. He was followed by Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Logano.

During pit stops, Kyle Larson was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart the stage from the rear of the field.

With 125 laps remaining in the race, Harvick held an almost 2-second advantage over Almirola with Clint Bowyer not far behind in third. Kurt Busch was running fourth and Brad Keselowski was in fifth.

Harvick’s lead increased to over three seconds with 100 laps left in the race as Bowyer moved back into second and Almirola dropped to third.

On Lap 319, several of the lead-lap cars began a cycle of green-flag pit stops. The stops proved costly to Harvick, who had to make a second stop when a lug nut knocked the valve stem off his left-rear tire.

In addition, Kyle Busch got penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road and had to make a pass-thru penalty.

Once the stops were completed on Lap 326, Almirola had moved into the lead, followed by Bowyer and Truex. Harvick had dropped to 14th and the first car one lap down. Kyle Busch fell to 17th, also one lap down.

On Lap 339, NASCAR threw a caution for debris on the backstretch and another on the access road to pit road. Harvick, being the first car one lap down, received the free pass back to the lead lap.

All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit and this time, Keselowski was the first off pit road after taking just two new tires and took over the lead on the restart on Lap 349. He was followed by Almirola, Bowyer and Kurt Busch.

Truex originally came off pit road fourth but was penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field. “It’s my fault,” Truex said over his team radio.

Almirola quickly grabbed the lead back in Turn 4 of the restart lap as Keselowski dropped to second and Kurt Busch moved into third.

With 47 laps left, Kurt Busch moved into the second position as Harvick made his way back into the Top 10.

Almirola held a more than 1.5-second lead over Kurt Busch with 40 laps remaining. Keselowski was in third and Elliott had moved to fourth.

With 20 laps left, Almirola’s lead over Kurt Busch remained at 1.6 seconds. Keselowski remained in third and Elliott fourth.

With 17 to go, Bowyer was forced to pit with what may appeared to be a loose wheel. He returned to the track in 20th and two laps down.

On Lap 392, Bowyer slammed into the Turn 3 wall to bring out a caution. Most of the lead-lap cars pit but Elliott, Keselowski and Truex remained on the track. Hamlin was the first off pit road followed by Alex Bowman, Almirola, Kurt Busch and Logano.

The race returned to green with four laps to go.

On the backstretch, Almirola hit the wall off Turn 2 and hit Keselowski. Bowman, Ryan Blaney and Truex also got collected in the incident. The race was immediately red-flagged to clear the track of debris.

When the race returned to green in overtime, Elliott remained in the lead followed by Hamlin, Logano, Jones and Kurt Busch.

Read Also:

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 404   11
2 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 404 0.265  
3 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 404 1.055 6
4 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 404 1.740  
5 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 404 1.803  
6 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 404 1.853 286
7 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 404 1.929  
8 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 404 2.011 21
9 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 404 2.049 7
10 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 404 2.505  
11 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 404 4.236  
12 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 404 4.306  
13 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 404 6.303 64
14 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 404 9.880 8
15 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 404 16.979  
16 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 403 1 lap  
17 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 403 1 lap  
18 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 402 2 laps  
19 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 402 2 laps  
20 6 United States Matt Kenseth  Ford 402 2 laps  
21 95 United States Regan Smith  Chevrolet 401 3 laps  
22 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 400 4 laps  
23 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 399 5 laps  
24 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 399 5 laps  
25 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 399 5 laps  
26 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 399 5 laps  
27 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 397 7 laps  
28 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 396 8 laps  
29 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 396 8 laps  
30 72 United States Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 394 10 laps  
31 96 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 394 10 laps  
32 23 United States J.J. Yeley  Toyota 392 12 laps  
33 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 390 14 laps  
34 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 389 15 laps  
35 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 388 16 laps 1
36 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 387 17 laps  
37 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 314 90 laps  
38 52 United States Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 308 96 laps  
39 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 35 369 laps  
Next NASCAR Cup article
Kevin Harvick holds off Bowyer for Stage 2 win at Dover

Previous article

Kevin Harvick holds off Bowyer for Stage 2 win at Dover

Next article

Almirola "frustrated and mad and angry" after Dover loss

Almirola "frustrated and mad and angry" after Dover loss
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Dover II
Drivers Chase Elliott
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Author Jim Utter
Article type Race report