NASCAR at Texas results: Chase Elliott holds on for double overtime win in Autotrader Echopark Automotive 400

After getting to the front on a series of late restarts, Chase Elliott survived double overtime and hard charges from both Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain to win the Autotrader Echopark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Elliott's victory is his first since Talladega in the fall of 2022, ending a 42-race winless streak that dogged the 2020 Cup Series champion and NASCAR's reigning Most Popular Driver.

Elliott got the lead for the final time by getting a nose out in front of Hamlin with eight laps to go. He then held on over the final three restarts as both Hamlin and Chastain wound up crashing out of second behind him.

Autotrader Echopark Automotive 400 unofficial results

  1. #9 - Chase Elliott
  2. #6 - Brad Keselowski
  3. #24 - William Byron
  4. #45 - Tyler Reddick
  5. #99 - Daniel Suarez
  6. #14 - Chase Briscoe
  7. #3 - Austin Dillon
  8. #23 - Bubba Wallace
  9. #8 - Kyle Busch
  10. #77 - Carson Hocevar (R)

Elliott's 19th career win was a cathartic one, as it puts him back in the winner's circle for the first time after a difficult 2023 season that saw him miss multiple races due to an off-track injury, one race due to a suspension, and miss the playoffs for the first time in his career. And in the euphoria of it, Elliott chose to pay tribute to the legendary Alan Kulwicki by doing a Polish Victory Lap, driving backwards facing the crowd down the frontstretch, in a deliberate nod to the 1992 Cup champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer.

Elliott, whose father Bill lost the 1992 title to Kulwicki by just 10 points in one of NASCAR's greatest championship battles ever, was carrying the same Hooters sponsorship on his car that Kulwicki once had on his.

"It couldn't feel any better ... It's been a dream of mine to pay respect to the late Alan Kulwicki. And driving this car to a victory and being able to do a Polish Victory Lap, just really crazy how things came full-circle there in that moment," Elliott told Fox Sports. "It was pretty emotional for me. He beat Dad back in the day, and here we are sharing his sponsor and having an opportunity to win today.

"Just couldn't be more grateful for this journey and kind of the path that hasn't always been fun. But I certainly have enjoyed working with our guys. We've been working really hard and really well together. Like I said, it hasn't always been fun, but we've enjoyed the fight together."

In sharing his firsts, Elliott's first Cup win at Texas is also the first victory for a Hooters-sponsored car since Kulwicki earned the fifth and final win of his career at Pocono in June 1992. Kulwicki was tragically killed in a plane crash en route to Bristol Motor Speedway in April 1993.

Beware the bump

Elliott's path to victory was cleared in part thanks to a section of the upper groove in Turns 3 and 4 that played a major role in Sunday's race, with no development more sudden or more explicit than what it did to Denny Hamlin. A particularly jarring set of bumps in Turn 4 led to multiple cars bottoming out over them throughout the day, sending them spinning extremely quickly.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson, who brought out the first of 16 cautions on the day, was lucky to get away without hitting anything. Other drivers who spun in Turn 4, including Christopher Bell and Michael McDowell, wound up backing hard into the outside wall and saw their races come to a premature end for all practical purposes.

Calamity corner would finally end up deciding the race for the win when Denny Hamlin, trying to hang to the outside of Elliott on the first overtime attempt, lost it and backed into the fence.

As tough as Turns 3 and 4 proved to be -- others who spun in that area included Bubba Wallace, Chase Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek -- the other end of the track in Turns 1 and 2 proved just as treacherous. Drivers who spun out at the other end of Texas' asymmetrical configuration and sweeping, flatter turn included, among others, defending Cup champion Ryan Blaney, whose race was spoiled when he spun and hit the outside wall off the bumper of Ryan Preece.

Others who had trouble in Turns 1 and 2 included Josh Berry, Carson Hocevar, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a host of drivers on late-race restarts. In all, the 16 cautions that flew in Sunday's race tied the record for the most yellow flags in a Cup race in the track's history, matching a mark that had been set just two years ago in 2022.

You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel

Early on, it looked as though Sunday's race would be far less competitive than it ended up becoming, as Kyle Larson looked to be the class of the field and to have prohibitively the fastest car. Larson led 77 laps after starting from the pole, won the opening stage, and looked in for a Sunday drive until a pit road miscue wound up catching up to the No. 5 team.

While riding under caution following a spin by Carson Hocevar, Larson suddenly dropped off the pace with smoke trailing from his right rear wheel, which had not been properly attached on his last pit stop. The wheel came off as Larson dropped to the apron of Turn 1, leaving him to drive back to the pits on three wheels where he had to serve a two-lap penalty from NASCAR for the on-track loss of a loose wheel.

Due to the amount of cautions during the day, Larson was eventually able to get both of his laps back by virtue of the free pass, and by the end of Stage 2 he was back on the lead lap and seemingly set up to drive back to the front. But Larson's car was never the same back in traffic -- and likely with some damage from the underside of his car dragging on the racetrack -- and he would wind up finishing 21st after getting spun during a late restart.

Messing with Melon Man

The crash that ended the race on the final lap should not go unmentioned, as it both cost Ross Chastain another top-five finish and came off the bumper of the winningest driver of the 2024 season. After getting a run on Chastain just as the No. 1 appeared to lose some momentum on the exit of Turn 2, William Byron's car ran straight into the back of Chastain's, sending it spinning into the wall and down the racetrack.

According to Jeff Gluck of The Athletic, Chastain declined comment on the incident upon leaving the infield care center, while Byron said after a third-place finish that he had not meant for the accident to happen.

"I don't want to do that to anyone, but I was just far enough inside that I was there and I had a run and and it's the last lap," Byron told The Athletic. "We always race really well and so I don't want to do that to him."

Adding an interesting layer to the run-in was that Chastain's spin came off the bumper of a Hendrick Motorsports car, putting the shoe on the other foot after an incident that occurred over a year ago at Darlington. Chastain had collided with Kyle Larson racing for the win that day, which along with other incidents had earned him a somewhat stern rebuke from normally cordial car owner Rick Hendrick.

Race results rundown

  • With Kevin Harvick now retired and in the broadcast booth for Fox Sports, can we give the "Mr. Where Did He Come From" moniker to Daniel Suarez? Suarez, who had complained of an ill-handling car, had been running deep in the field until he gained track position thanks to a well-timed caution that came out before he had come to pit road during the final cycle of green flag stops. Suarez proceeded to keep that track position, earning a fifth-place finish on a day that looked like it wouldn't amount to anything.
  • No one in NASCAR needed a top-10 finish more than Austin Dillon, and he got one. Dillon and Richard Childress Racing teammate Kyle Busch were both among the cars that gained track position late in the race, and both ended up in the top 10 with Dillon finishing a season-best seventh. The top 10 run comes in only the second race since Justin Alexander replaced Keith Rodden as crew chief for the No. 3 team.
  • Despite a spin early in the race, Carson Hocevar was able to battle back to earn an eventual 10th-place finish, his first Cup top 10 and the best finish of his young career. Both rookie drivers in Spire Motorsports cars stood out in Sunday's race, as Zane Smith spent some time mid-race running up inside the top five.
  • In his second of five scheduled starts for Kaulig Racing -- and just a few days after the birth of his son Bear -- Ty Dillon earned a nice 16th-place finish in Kaulig's No. 16 car. Teammate Daniel Hemric was just behind Dillon in 20th, earning his fourth top-20 finish of the season and his first since he opened the year with three-straight such finishes.
  • Harrison Burton found the front again on Sunday, using a combination of strategy and a daring three-wide move on a restart to lead a total of seven laps, his first laps led in Cup since Daytona last August. However, Burton would wind up finishing 28th after a late race accident.
  • Jimmie Johnson didn't enjoy a completely clean day thanks to his spin, but he was finally able to get something that had eluded him since he returned to a schedule of limited Cup starts in 2023. Johnson finished on the lead lap for the first time with Legacy Motor Club and for the first time overall since the last race of his full-time career at Phoenix in 2020.

Next race

It's off to the biggest and fastest speedway on Earth as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the GEICO 500 next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on Fox.

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0-for-42, and now 1-for-42! NASCAR's Most Popular Driver is back in Victory Lane as Chase Elliott wins at Texas Motor Speedway in double overtime!

Caution came out to end the race as Ross Chastain got turned by William Byron while those two were racing for second.

1 - #9 - Chase Elliott
2 - #6 - Brad Keselowski
3 - #24 - William Byron
4 - #45 - Tyler Reddick
5 - #99 - Daniel Suarez
6 - #14 - Chase Briscoe
7 - #3 - Austin Dillon
8 - #23 - Bubba Wallace
9 - #8 - Kyle Busch
10 - #77 - Carson Hocevar (R)

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A big run by Ross Chastain on the exit of Turn 2, but Elliott drives it into Turns 3 and 4 and clears him! White flag!

 
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Chase Elliott is being told to save as much fuel as he can under this caution. It's been 61 laps since Elliott came to pit road, and that's really pushing it with all these extra laps in overtime.

Elliott chooses the inside line again while Chastain chooses the outside for double overtime.

 
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April 14, 2024, 11:13 PM
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ANOTHER CRASH! This time it's Harrison Burton and Kaz Grala in Turns 1 and 2!

That means another restart for Chase Elliott to try and hang onto the lead, and we're going to do this as many times as we need to until the leader takes the white flag.

 
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April 14, 2024, 11:11 PM
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Here we go again: Chase Elliott chooses the inside at the choose zone with Ross Chastain up on the outside.

We know that Ross Chastain is going to do what it takes to win here, but there's something working against him here. William Byron is lining up behind him in fourth, and William Byron is Elliott's teammate at Hendrick. We'll see what happens on this restart and if Byron lays off of Chastain's bumper instead of potentially pushing him by his teammate.

 
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Hamlinm hanging tough on the OUTSIDE NO HE'S NOT!!!!!!!!! HAMLIN SPINS AND CRASHES ON THE OUTSIDE OF CHASE ELLIOTT IN TURNS 3 AND 4 BEFORE THE WHITE FLAG!!!

Caution came out BEFORE the white flag, and Chase Elliott is still out in front of this race!

 
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Decision time at choose zone. It's going to be Elliott and Chastain on the bottom and Hamlin and Keselowski up top. Inverse of the last restart.

Green flag is going to come with two laps to go. Time to settle things in Texas -- assuming we don't get a caution and an overtime restart to deal with.

 
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High stakes and high drama at the front of the field as we prepare for a Texas shootout for the win. Chase Elliott is looking to end a 42-race winless streak dating back to Talladega in the fall of 2022. Brad Keselowski in third is looking to end a 106-race winless streak dating back to Talladega in the spring of 2021. Denny Hamlin is trying to end a winless streak all of...two races dating back to Richmond two weeks ago.

Looks like the restart is going to come with two laps to go.

 
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April 14, 2024, 11:02 PM
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A spin in Turns 1 and 2! Kyle Larson goes around to bring the caution out just as Chase Elliott looked like he was out in front of Denny Hamlin!

The race leader is going to depend on who was ahead at the last scoring loop they crossed. For now, it looks like Elliott was out front.

 
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Most important moment of the day at the choose zone: Denny Hamlin takes the inside, Chase Elliott takes the outside. Brad Keselowski is second on the inside line, the same place where Elliott got that last restart that got him the lead.

Restart is going to come with 8 laps to go with Hamlin, Elliott, Keselowski, Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez -- where did he come from!?!!? - in the picture.

 
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