Chase Elliott is winless in 2022 no more, prevailing on Monday in the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway.
Elliott led the final 53 laps after he was able to power by Ross Chastain on the bottom off the lap 348 restart. The Hendrick Motorsports driver had been battling Chastain for multiple laps before the caution, and the pair were side-by-side when the yellow flag flew. Chastain was deemed the leader, but Elliott wasted no time in doing away with him when the race restarted for the final time.
“We had some good circumstances finally,” Elliott said. “I really appreciate Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our entire No. 9 Chevrolet team for just sticking with it. We’ve had some tough races over the last, I don’t know, four, five months. Just great to get Hendrick Motorsports back to Victory Lane.
“Just so proud. This one means a lot in a lot of different ways. Just appreciate all the effort. But thanks to all the fans for coming out. You’re always awesome. Hope to see this big crowd here next year. A huge thanks to everybody involved. It’s been a fun day, and we’re certainly going to enjoy it. Like I told them after the race – those guys, they’ve been deserving of one for a while. Glad we could get across the line first. We’ll enjoy it for a few days and go to work next week.”
The victory is Elliott’s second win at Dover (having previously won there in 2018) and the first time he won on an oval since his 2020 championship season.
Elliott led a total of 73 laps.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, and Chastain faded to a third-place finish. Christopher Bell finished fourth, and Alex Bowman finished fifth.
Kyle Larson finished sixth. Larson rebounded from a flat tire that sent him spinning off Turn 4 in the second stage and damage to the hood.
Kyle Busch finished seventh after leading a race-high 103 laps. Busch lost his track position when having to take the wave around because of an untimely caution on lap 324, which was caused by a wheel coming off AJ Allmendinger’s car. Busch and Bowman had already pitted and never made it back into contention.
Pole-sitter Chris Buescher finished eighth. Buescher led the first 18 laps before the bulk of the race was pushed to Monday because of rain.
Kevin Harvick finished ninth, and Erik Jones completed the top 10.
Denny Hamlin won the first stage but finished 21st. The left front wheel came off Hamlin’s car under the caution for the stage break, which sent Hamlin to the rear of the field. He made it back to the fourth position and was running competitive lap times when he was collected in Cody Ware’s spin off Turn 4 on lap 242.
Ware spun off the corner and down the track, and Hamlin went low to try to avoid him. However, the rear of Ware’s car caught the right side of Hamlin’s and ripped it apart by the right rear wheel.
Stage 2 winner Ryan Blaney finished 26th. He’d stayed out under caution before the end of the stage to inherit the race lead and then was one of three drivers to pit at the end of the stage.
There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers, and 13 cautions.