Chase Elliott cut into Chris Buescher's championship lead after leading the most laps and winning the race at Richmond International Raceway.
It was a long time coming – too long for Chase Elliott.
But it’s not too late.
Elliott held off Kyle Busch to win Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, his first win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season and snapped a 39-race winless streak.
Closing the gap
The win helped propel Elliott into second in the series standings, 21 points behind leader Chris Buescher. With eight races still remaining this season, Elliott still has the opportunity to repeat as the series champion.
“It feels so good to get back in Victory Lane,” said Elliott, whose last win came last July at Chicagoland. “These guys right here won the race tonight – we just had phenomenal pit stops.
“This is amazing. I wish my mom and dad were here tonight – they’re not here this weekend. I want to say hi to them back home.”
Elliott is the 19-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and his wife, Cindy.
“I don’t think we changed a lot in how we ran the race. I mean we always want to come and give it our best shot to win,” Chase said. “Ernie (Cope, crew chief) brought a great car. This means so much to me.”
JR Motorsports gets back on track
Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he thinks the organization is finding its groove after a slow start to the season.
“It’s been a difficult season for Chase and them but I think they’re starting to get their legs,” he said. “I think they can make a run (at the championship) and make a run at these guys.”
Busch, the all-time series leader in wins, tried valiantly to get close enough to Elliott in the closing laps but came up just short.
“We just didn’t have quite enough,” Busch said. “My car wasn’t good on the long runs.”
Brian Scott finished third, Joey Logano was fourth and Erik Jones was fifth. Buescher, the series points leader, ended up 10th.
Josh Berry, making his first Xfinity start of the season, finished seventh, putting all three JR Motorsports entries in the top-10. Elliott and Berry’s teammate, Regan Smith, finished sixth.
Berry, a two-time late model champion for JRM, was making just his third career series start. Berry finished 12th and 25th in two races with JRM last season.
“Josh showed his capability and showed what he could do in a good car,” Earnhardt said. “I’m ready to race Josh every week. We just need to find a partner to come on board.”