Chase Elliott tops Truex for memorable first Cup win
It finally happened. After 99 starts, eight second-place finishes and too many "
Elliott was fast from the start after qualifying third. The third-year Hendrick Motorsports driver led a race-high 52 laps, won a stage for the third week in a row, and didn't back down from Truex and Kyle Busch over the second half of the race.
And how's this for fun with numbers? Elliott's famous father Bill also got his first Cup win on a road course after eight second-place finishes. The elder Elliott was helping spot for his son Sunday, and after the race, Awesome Bill was overcome with emotion.
"I don't know how to describe it," Elliott said. "I kept waiting on something to go wrong and he held it together, and lo and behold, Truex ran out of gas (on the last lap). A lot went our way today."
The win was the 250th win in NASCAR's top division for Hendrick Motorsports and Elliott became the ninth driver to score his first career win for HMS, joining the likes of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Geoff Bodine.
How Elliott won the race: The old-fashioned way: he earned it. Elliott's drive over the final 15 laps was nothing short of stellar with Truex breathing down his neck, patiently waiting to pounce at Elliott's first mistake.
Except it never came. Not with Truex in reach, at least. After taking the white flag, Elliott nearly lost the race when he got into Turn 1 a little hot and began to
"I could get right to him. I chased him down from a ways back after that restart," Truex said. "I just tried all I could to chase him down, and I got there with plenty of time, it's just every time I'd start putting together some good corners and get close enough to him to even think about making a move, I'd get sideways behind him. He did a good job of putting his car exactly where it needed to be and not making a mistake."
Elliott, who is known for keeping a cool demeanor and sometimes being a little too hard on himself, was thankful to finally get the monkey off his back.
"A lot of relief, a lot of emotion in general, but definitely relief I would say would be one way to describe it," he said. "It's been — I've left these races pretty down over the past couple years at times and had some great opportunities, and I think that you just
"I learned a lot about myself the past couple years. I've learned a
Busch's bounce back: Things got real sideways during the final pit stops of the day. Kyle Busch came to pit road with the lead but a broken fuel can
By the end of the day, Busch drove through the pack all the way to a third-place finish and became NASCAR's all-time leader in laps led at road courses. As great as Busch's drive
"Every year we come here, we have a fast car and fail to execute," Busch said. "Last year we had a lug nut get stuck in the caliper, this year we had fueling problems. It never ceases to amaze me. Nothing surprises me anymore."
Denny Hamlin's day went south on pit road: Busch wasn't the only driver who had problems on pit road. During the final round of stops, Denny Hamlin came to pit road in the top five after running up front all day.
Hamlin, who led just two laps from the pole, had trouble exiting pit road with his crew losing a tire when he sped away from pit road with a pit gun caught on his car. One of Hamlin's crew members ended up being hit by the flying tire. Thankfully, no crew members were taken to the care center and finished the day without serious injury. Hamlin, who won at Watkins Glen in 2016, finished the day with a disappointing 13th-place finish.
Brad Keselowski suggested on Twitter after the race that the
Long day for the #2crew— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) August 5, 2018
Hoping everyone on the 11 car is ok, that last stop was brutal. It's weird having cars pit the outside of the car last. I should have backed up to make room.
Allmendinger's disappointment: Every time we head to Watkins Glen, AJ Allmendinger is considered a favorite, or at the very least a strong dark horse to win. After scoring his only Cup win to date at Watkins Glen four years ago, Allmendinger's results have been a letdown, and Sunday was no different.
After getting some damage on the first lap of the race, Allmendinger brought his car to pit road for repairs. Unfortunately for the Dinger, his eighth-place qualifying result was the high point of his day, as he was never in contention to win and brought the No. 47 home 15th. With Sunday likely being his last good chance to sneak into the playoffs, it'll take something out of the ordinary for the Dinger to make the postseason.
The most popular win of the season? Probably: Chase Elliott's first Cup win has been a long time coming. So it was no surprise that many of Elliott's competitors were quick to victory lane to congratulate him on the win, including Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney
Here are a few tweets that recap the popular moment that we'll be talking about for a long time:
Man!!!! How about the big homie getting that DUBBBB!!!— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) August 5, 2018
Congrats @chaseelliott! Pumped for you brotha!
He ain't making that debrief call tomorrow!??????
Way to go @chaseelliott !!! Congrats on ur first win brother. Hopefully the first of many, many more. Bring that trophy on home to Georgia!— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) August 5, 2018
Congratulations @chaseelliott! Been a long long time coming!! Kinda cool it took us both 99 races to win.— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) August 5, 2018
Bloomin' Monday: It was a relatively quiet day for Kevin Harvick, but a 10th-place finish is good enough for a free Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse! Race into your local Outback Monday and tell your server you're there for the Bloomin' Monday special and you'll have a free Bloomin' Onion on your table faster than Kevin Harvick can turn a lap at your favorite NASCAR track!
Next week: NASCAR makes its second trip to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the Consumers Energy 400. How will Chase Elliott respond from his first career win? Can he go back-to-back, or will the big three battle it out for the win? Catch all of the action on NBC Sports Network and MRN Radio. Plus, the Xfinity Series takes on its second straight road course at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.