Chase Elliott scored his first win of the season in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Elliott was ahead of the field when caution for a multi-car accident came out on the final lap and the race was official.
“What a day,” Elliott said. “We just had a plan and executed it really well. Obviously, could have gone both ways. Fortunately, everybody stayed together and stayed the course. Had some help on that last lap with the caution. “This is close to home for me. Kind of feels like a home race.”
Elliott led a total of 45 laps on his way to his fourth career series win. It was the first Chevrolet victory of the 2019 season.
Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman was second with Ryan Preece, Joey Logano and Daniel Hemric rounding out the top five.
“There was no plan coming off of Turn 4, but unfortunately we didn’t get there before the caution came out,” Bowman said of his second place finish.
Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Brendan Gaughan, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch completed the first 10 finishers.
Ty Dillon and Elliott won the day’s first two stages. 2019 Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Dover International Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Elliott Won: Elliott got pushed to the top spot in the day’s final restart after a red flag for an accident was lifted. He was able to lead the last four laps and was ahead when a multi-car accident broke out on the backstretch causing NASCAR to display the caution flag declaring Elliott the winner.
Who Had a Good Day: Bowman scored his career-best finish in his 127th Cup start…Preece had his career-best finish with his previous best finish, eighth in the Daytona 500…Logano has finished top five in the last four races at Talladega…Kyle Busch finished top 10 in every race this season, first time a driver had top 10s in the first 10 races of the season since Morgan Shepherd in 1990.
Who Had a Bad Day: Kevin Harvick was “credited” with a 38th-place finish thanks to being part of an early race incident that also involved Bubba Wallace, Michael McDowell, Matt Tifft, Denny Hamlin and others…Hamlin went to the garage on lap 80 with mechanical problems caused from his involvement in the accident…Jimmie Johnson went out of competition after he clipped the wall…With just seven laps to go Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto, Martin Truex Jr. and Justin Haley, who was making his Cup Series debut, were caught in a backstretch accident…The last lap of the race first saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the frontstretch wall but caution was not displayed and then another huge accident broke out on the backstretch with Jeffrey Earnhardt, William Byron and Kyle Larson, who rolled over several times, involved.
What Else Happened: A week of unknowns about how new rules changes would impact the on track product carried through into Sunday’s race when drivers spent the early stages figuring things out. Bigger spoilers and more horsepower created bigger runs and blocking, so prevalent in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, became even more necessary to maintain positions on the race track. The result was a race that saw a lot of changing of positions all through the pack with teammates and manufacturers working together to get to the front.
Quotable: “There’s a difference between aggression and stupidity and he covered it all,” McDowell about the incident with Wallace.
Notables: Chevrolet ended a seven race Ford Talladega winning streak…Hendrick Motorsports finished 1-2 for the fifth time at Talladega…Elliott scored the 253rd win for Hendrick.