Chase Elliott charged as hard as he could at the end of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, but came up one spot short of the victory.
Elliott finished second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson and was over 2s behind at the line. He did so after having to start at the rear of the field after inspection issues that left him without crew chief Alan Gustafson, and then an unscheduled pit stop on lap 30 for flat-spotting his tires going into Turn 1.
“Yeah, I made too many mistakes to get the win, unfortunately, and made it too late in the race,” Elliott said. “Super proud of our team. Been kind of an uphill battle all day, but everybody was just super prepared coming into the day, and our NAPA team just did a really good job of fighting it.”
The reigning series champion was vying for his third straight win at Watkins Glen, but ended up with his fourth road course finish among the top two spots. Having to come from behind twice, Elliott did not lead a lap Sunday afternoon, the first time he’s failed to lead a road course race since 2018.
Elliott’s charge began after the final round of green-flag pits stops. Cycling out fourth after making his last stop on lap 60, Elliott was nearly 10s behind Larson. Elliott was third with 15 laps to go and moved to second with nine laps to go, at that time over 5s behind Larson.
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Lap traffic did come into play in the final five laps, but it was not enough for Elliott. Elliott and Larson have finished first and second four times this season, with three of those wins going in Larson’s favor.
“If I hadn’t have let them down there, I think we would have had a shot at it, but congrats to Kyle, Cliff (Daniels), all the guys on the 5,” said Elliott. “Happy for everybody at HMS. Hendrick Motorsports has been working extremely hard, and not only do the people deserve to win, but Mr. Hendrick deserves to win. Really happy for him, and I’ll try to clean some things up and make less mistakes next time. Maybe it’ll work out.”