Chase Elliott has done it again at The Glen.
Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. delivered a sense of deja vu in today’s Go Bowling at The Glen, as once again they were the two dominant players. Starting from the pole, Elliott won both stages, led a race-high 80 of 91 laps, and once again had to fend off Truex for the victory.
Last year, Elliott prevailed for his first career win at Watkins Glen after a wild battle with Truex over the final laps. Sunday afternoon’s similarly impressive victory was the fifth of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career and second of the season.
“What a day,” said Elliott in his frontstretch interview. “Man, such a fast NAPA Camaro — and these guys called a great race. I just stayed mistake-free. Martin was a little quicker, I felt like, on those last two runs; but the track position was king, and I didn’t mess up into (Turn) 1 this time, so that was good.
“Huge thanks to everyone who makes this happen.”
Elliott and Truex quickly separated themselves from the field off the final restart on Lap 65. Making contact in Turn 1, and through the esses, Elliott kept the lead and then gapped Truex by a few car lengths.
As Elliott held a comfortable lead throughout the final run, Truex fought what he called a “wall of air” to try and get to the back bumper of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. But Truex was only able to follow in Elliott’s tire tracks lap after lap, the closest he could get was 0.3 seconds.
“I tried to do all I could,” said the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver. “Chase — he did an excellent job, just did not make mistakes; and really all I could do was get to two car lengths — one and a half the closest in braking — and just try to force a mistake. But he hit his marks, his car was really fast in the key areas that he needed to be … I just couldn’t get a run on him, and just was kind of stuck there.
“Unfortunate. Our Bass Pro Camry was really, really fast today. We passed quite a few cars there that were fast and finished up front; just couldn’t pass that last one.”
Denny Hamlin finished third but was over 11 seconds behind the top two. Then came Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney to round out the top five.
Completing the top 10 were Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch. Finishing 11th was Kyle Busch, who had an eventful day.
Busch spun on Lap 2 in Turn 1 as he looked underneath William Byron for the second position. He would later move Byron out of the way for position going into the inner loop, which prompted Byron to hit Busch in the rear bumper under caution.
On the ensuing pit stop, Busch was busted for speeding and sent to the rear of the field. In the third stage, Busch and Darrell Wallace Jr. made repeated contact coming down the frontstretch before Wallace eventually spun Busch.
Other notables: Jimmie Johnson was 19th in his first race with new crew chief Cliff Daniels after running inside the top 10 early in the day. But Johnson was spun late by Ryan Blaney.
Clint Bowyer finished 20th, Byron finished 21st, Joey Logano was 23rd and Wallace wound up 28th.
There were five lead changes among four drivers and four cautions Sunday afternoon.