Chase Elliott captured his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen.
Elliott held off Martin Truex Jr. in a thrilling battle for the lead on Sunday finally scoring his first Cup win in career start number 99. Truex Jr. finally ran out of fuel near the end of the last lap allowing Elliott to cruise to the checkered flag.
“What a relief,” Elliott said after finishing second eight times in his Cup career before his first win. “Had some hard times to get here, made me learn a lot personally. Had a good group around me to keep pushing me and realizing we weren’t in those positions by accident.”
Like his NASCAR Hall of Fame father Bill, the younger Elliott’s first win came on a road course.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Bill Elliott said of his son’s performance. “Kept waiting on something to go wrong and he held it together, and lo and behold, Truex ran out of gas. A lot went our way today.”
Elliott led twice for 52 laps including the final 34.
Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones rounded out the top five.
Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, William Byron, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick complete the first ten finishers.
Truex Jr. and Elliott won the opening two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Michigan International Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Elliott Won: He literally drove the race of his life over the final 30 laps holding off Truex Jr. Several times the defending champion pulled his Toyota to the rear bumper of Elliott’s Chevy but every challenge was fended off. Elliott even admitted to knocking his car out of gear on the final lap to not spin out in Turn 1 because he was wheel hopping.
Who Had a Good Day: Despite running out of fuel, Truex Jr. scored his eighth top-two finish of 2018…Suarez has two career top-five Watkins Glen finishes in a pair of starts…Jones has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races…McMurray scored only his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
Who Had a Bad Day: Kyle Busch looked like he would be in command until the day’s final pit stop and a problem prevented his car from getting fuel. That caused him to have to give up the lead to pit again for fuel and ending his chance to win although he rallied back to finish third (Read More)…Denny Hamlin started from the pole and had a fast car but a major issue on pit road that saw one of his crew members get tangled up in an air hose cost the Joe Gibbs Racing driver several positions…Joey Logano’s day was over seemingly barely before the race started. Logano went off course in Turn 6 on just the second lap and sustained enough damage to send his car to the garage, which was a violation of the vehicle repair policy and he was out of the race…Aric Almirola had a similar incident to Logano’s in the Turn 6 area…Matt DiBenedetto exited the race on lap 53 with an engine problem.
What Else Happened: The intensity level of the race was very high and at the drop of the green flag that was evident with side-by-side racing for the lead just on lap two. As things settled down that intensity did return several times punctuated by a flurry of pit road strategies – and many mistakes – that impacted the complexion of the race.
Quotable: “We didn’t come here for a stage point we came here for a trophy,” Kyle Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens on the decision to pit while leading with with two laps left in Stage 1.
Notables: Elliott scored the 250th win for Hendrick Motorsports….Elliott is the fourth driver to get his first career Cup win at Watkins Glen…The win was only Chevrolet’s second of the season.