NASCAR at Watkins Glen results, standings: Chase Elliott wins first career race

After eight career runner-up finishes, Chase Elliott is finally a winner in the NASCAR Cup Series. The 22-year-old took home his first checkered flag in his 99th start at Watkins Glen International on Sunday.

Elliott and Kyle Busch had the strongest cars on the track, however Busch encountered a fuel issue early in the Final Stage, setting up a one-one-one battle with Martin Truex Jr. for the win. Despite a strong push from the defending race winner, Elliott was able to hold off Truex in the final laps.

The No. 9 driver becomes the second-youngest driver to win a race this season. Erik Jones, who is a few months younger than Elliott, became the youngest driver to win this year when he took the checkered flag at Daytona in July. It's also the 250th win for Hendrick Motorsports and snaps a 36-race winless streak for the team.

With the win, Elliott secures his spot in the NASCAR Playoffs for a third straight season. However, this is the first time he has made it by way of a trip to Victory Lane as opposed to clinching on merit.

Elliott ran out of fuel just after the checkered flag flew. However, he was able to get a push from his seven-time champion teammate Jimmie Johnson to Victory Lane. 

It was a busy week for the Elliott family, with father and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott announcing on Saturday that he'd be returning to the Xfinity Series for a race at Road America later this season. Bill Elliott is 62 and hasn't started a NASCAR race since 2012. Ironically, both father and son each had eight runner-up finishes before their first career wins and both earned their first trip to Victory Lane on road courses.

Truex won Stage 1 after Kyle Busch pit from the lead with three to go on a strategy call. Jimmie Johnson finished the stage second followed by William Byron, Michael McDowell and Brad Keselowski to round out the top five. Its the seventh stage win of the season for Truex, who collects an additional playoff point, bringing his total to 27.

Elliott passed Busch for the lead and won Stage 2. It was the third stage win in as many weeks for him. Elliott only had three stage wins total last season. Busch finished the stage second followed by Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Truex in the top five.

Go Bowling at The Glen results

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Daniel Suarez
  5. Erik Jones
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Jamie McMurray
  8. William Byron
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Kevin Harvick
  11. Clint Bowyer
  12. Ryan Blaney
  13. Denny Hamlin
  14. Alex Bowman
  15. AJ Allmendinger
  16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  17. Brad Keselowski
  18. Michael McDowell
  19. Ryan Newman
  20. Chris Buescher
  21. Kasey Kahne
  22. Aric Almirola
  23. Ty Dillon
  24. Parker Kligerman
  25. Bubba Wallace
  26. David Ragan
  27. Austin Dillon
  28. Paul Menard
  29. Matt Kenseth
  30. Jimmie Johnson
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Ross Chastain
  33. Matt DiBenedetto
  34. Cole Whitt
  35. Spencer Gallagher
  36. Josh Bilicki
  37. Joey Logano

NASCAR Cup Series regular-season standings and playoff points

POSITIONDRIVERCAR #POINTSBEHINDWINSPLAYOFF POINTS

1.

Kyle Busch

18

934

LEADER

6

35

2.

Kevin Harvick

18

864

-70

6

33

3.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

813

-121

4

27

4.

Kurt Busch

41

705

-229

0

2

5.

Clint Bowyer

14

703

-231

2

10

6.

Joey Logano

22

691

-243

1

7

7.

Brad Keselowski

2

670

-264

0

4

8.

Kyle Larson

42

660

-274

0

0

9.

Denny Hamlin

11

650

-284

0

2

10.

Ryan Blaney

12

639

-295

0

4

11.

Chase Elliott

9

619

-315

1

8

12.

Aric Almirola

10

602

-332

0

1

13.

Erik Jones

20

572

-362

1

5

14.

Jimmie Johnson

48

563

-371

0

0

15.

Alex Bowman

88

523

-411

0

0

16.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

461

-473

0

2

17.

Paul Menard

21

451

-483

0

1
18.Daniel Suarez
19434-50000
19.Ryan Newman31431-50300
20.William Byron24427-50700
21. Austin Dillon3412-52215

Stage 1: Busch dominates while Truex gets the playoff point

Denny Hamlin started on the pole and led the first lap before surrendering the lead to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Joey Logano went spinning into the sand on the second lap, but no caution came out. Regardless, Logano was put on the damaged vehicle policy and after taking his car to the garage for repairs he was ruled out for the race.

It was an aggressive race from the start with Aric Almirola bringing out the first caution just three laps in. The No. 10 made contact with Ryan Blaney before spinning and making hard contact with the wall.

Kyle Busch held the lead on the restart with Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott not far behind. David Ragan and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went on to make contact and spin, but no caution came out. Stenhouse did have to come into the pits for damage repairs.

Busch pit from the lead toward the end of the stage, forfeiting a playoff point in favor of an attempt at the race win. Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Elliott and Erik Jones were among others in the top 10 that pit before the end of Stage 1 as well. Truex stayed out and went on to collect his seventh stage win of the season

Stage 1 results

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (10 points plus 1 playoff point)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (9 points)
  3. William Byron (8 points)
  4. Michael McDowell (7 points)
  5. Brad Keselowski (6 points)
  6. Ryan Newman (5 points)
  7. Alex Bowman (4 points)
  8. Chris Buescher (3 points)
  9. Paul Menard (2 points)
  10. Matt Kenseth (1 point)

Stage 2: Chase Elliott makes his move

Since he pit before the end of Stage 1, Kyle Busch was able to restart Stage 2 from the lead ahead of Hamlin. On the restart, Busch shot out ahead of the field while Elliott moved into second place.

Elliott continued to put the pressure on Busch, riding his back bumper and trying every move to get around him before eventually making the pass for the lead with 13 to go in the stage. The Most Popular Driver Award frontrunner, Elliott, was met with an eruption from the crowd when he took the lead away from the controversial driver Busch.

Unlike Busch in Stage 1, Elliott stayed out at the end of Stage 2, holding off the No. 18 to win his third stage of the season. 

Stage 2 results

  1. Chase Elliott (10 points plus 1 playoff point)
  2. Kyle Busch (9 points)
  3. Denny Hamlin (8 points)
  4. Erik Jones (7 points)
  5. Martin Truex Jr. (6 points)
  6. Jamie McMurray (5 points)
  7. Kevin Harvick (4 points)
  8. Kyle Larson (3 points)
  9. Ryan Blaney (2 points)
  10. Daniel Suarez (1 point)

Final Stage: Elliott and Truex battle to the end

Johnson drove through too many pit boxes between stages and was sent to the rear of the field for the start of the Final Stage. Elliott restarted on the lead, but got loose coming off Turn 1 which opened the door for Kyle Busch to reclaim the top spot.

Ryan Newman went spinning on Lap 47, but was able to right the ship quickly without a caution coming out. Busch continued to lead with Elliott applying pressure, however the No. 9 team instructed their driver to conserve fuel as opposed to pushing Busch for the lead.

Just before green flag pit stops were set to start, Matt DiBenedetto broke down in the middle of the track to draw a caution flag. This allowed everybody in the field, including Elliott, to come down pit road for fuel. Kevin Harvick nearly hit pit road before the caution came out, which would have put him in prime position to restart from the lead but he missed out by mere seconds.

There were a ton of penalties given out under yellow. Almirola, Ty Dillon, Hamlin and Bubba Wallace were all penalized for separate infractions. However no one was dealt a bigger blow than Kyle Busch, who wasn't able to get any fuel in his car and had to come back down again.

Additionally during the pit stops, members of the Hamlin and Elliott were each struck by their own cars on exit. Each crew member was able to get up under their own power without major injury.

Elliott restarted from the lead after Busch's mishap with Truex entering the fold in second. The No. 9 driver would go on to hold that lead comfortably until Truex closed in with less than 15 to go. 

Ross Chastain and Johnson each hit the wall with less than 11 to go, but were able to get their cars adjusted before any yellow flag was thrown. This allowed Truex and Elliott to continue battling for the lead. The same thing happened with Austin Dillon with seven to go, as the No. 3 went spinning but no caution came out as the leaders passed him on the infield grass.

Without a caution, Elliott and Truex were able to battle at the end. Truex made a critical mistake coming to the white flag before running out of fuel. This allowed Elliott to drive on for his first career win. 

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