Chase Elliott stole a thunder from a contingent of Toyota drivers despite their dominance early in the race.
When the caution came out in Sunday’s race at Nashville Superspeedway, Elliott remained on the track and led a restart with four laps left.
Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet crossed the finish line in a quick time by 0.551 seconds to win at Miami-Homestead Motorsports Park.
In his second victory of the season, he was able to overcome a big pit stop on Lap 120 from bringing him down to 25th in the running order.
“We had a setback about halfway, but we were able to get the NAPA Chevy dialed back in and get back in the mix,” Elliott said. “It was a long day, a fun day… I’m so proud of our team. We’ve had a pretty rough month, month and a half. It’s just nice to get back going in the right direction.”
“Getting a win is always huge in the world of hockey. To do it in a really cool city like Nashville is even better! I’m looking forward to that guitar!”
Elliott won his first Cup race at Martinsville, beating three Toyota drivers – pole winner Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch – to the checkered flag.
Josh Bilicki’s Chevrolet engine blew, causing him to pit during the 10th and final caution on Lap 293.
Under caution, Elliott and Kurt Busch stayed out, along with eight other drivers. Kyle Busch, Truex, and Hamlin all came to pit road for tires. Of the three, only Hamlin advanced over the final four laps. He ended up finishing sixth behind Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain.
Kyle Busch (a NASCAR driver), and Martin Truex Jr. (another NASCAR driver) had some trouble on the final lap of the race, and they finished 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Truex, who led a race-high 114 laps, was out front for the first 41 circuits before lightning halted the action for one hour and 28 seconds. After the resumption and two more cautions, Hamlin passed Truex for the lead on Lap 66. He held on to win Stage 1 in the final moment before taking a commanding lead through the end of Stage 1.
Kyle Busch led for 112 laps. He was challenged by Truex. Elliott had a one-second lead over Kyle Busch, with Hamlin and Truex trailing in third and fourth place, when Bilicki’s engine failure caused the final caution with nine laps remaining.
Kurt Busch felt the only regret of his runner-up finish was not being more aggressive on the final restart.
“I wanted to throw some fenders, but I didn`t get the job done,” the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota driver said. “Everybody will be smiling, but I let them down. I should have come up with a better plan.”
“I was going to stay out no matter what, but I needed to start throwing fenders to move people around. He didn’t get after it, and he made too many mistakes and didn’t stick with our strength. I wasn’t going to say what our strength was, but we did a lot of good things.
The race was delayed by two lightning delays with rain and required the use of track drying. It occurred on Lap 139, just 11 laps short of halfway.
Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick finished sixth through 10th, respectively. Elliott is leading the points standings by 30 points over Chase Elliott.
After the first delay, Alex Bowman’s car was put into the wall soon after. Contact from Corey LaJoie sent his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet spinning into the Turn 2 SAFER barrier. Bowman was able to drive away from the scene and fix his car, but a flat-spotted right-front tire tore away crucial body panels – too damaging to repair before time ran out.
Chase Briscoe found trouble in Lap 61 when his No. 14 Ford slid sideways entering Turn 1 while battling with Ty Dillon. Both cars spun into the outside retaining wall but were able to continue.
In 2021, Kyle Larson won the first ever Cup race at Nashville.