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Chase Elliot gets first at Watkins Glen
09 August 2018, 11:58 | Anna Jefferson
NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott a winner for the first time in NASCAR’S Top series at Watkins Glen
When Chase Elliott took the checkered flag Sunday at Watkins Glen for his first Cup win, the vehicle behind him was being driven by Martin Truex Jr.
The final stage came down to a battle between Elliott and Truex. It was a two-car breakaway as the rest of the field was more than 11 seconds back.
Chase's win is team owner Rick Hendrick's 250th overall win and first of the 2018 season. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez, rounded out the top-five. Bell became the first series driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr.in 1999 to win three straight with a victory last week at Iowa. Jeff Gordon is the all-time leader with six in a row 1997-2000). That stage win was over Kyle Busch, who like Truex, is one of the members of the season's Big 3.
Busch dominated until early in the second stage when, on Lap 27, he was passed by Elliott for the lead. That gave Elliott the lead, which he held until the end.
Hamlin is mired in ninth in the standings, almost 300 points behind Busch, and has been consistently running just outside the top 10. "Jimmie (Johnson) has been one of my heroes for a long, long time". Joey Logano then went off track in the inner loop and wound up driving through the gravel pit. Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney made contact in Turn 7 on Lap 3. Almirola pitted along with AJ Allmendinger, who suffered front-end damage after contact with Logano. But Truex's No. 78 Toyota skidded, Elliott regrouped and pulled away, and Truex sputtered home, out of fuel. Chase was able to finally capture that elusive first victory in the Cup series.
Denny Hamlin started from the pole on the high-speed road course in New York's Finger Lakes region.
Elliott led 52 out of 90 laps after starting the race in third. All three of Truex's road course victories were won with strategy, including last year at The Glen and this year at Sonoma in California's wine country. The Glen has had only one repeat victor - Marcos Ambrose in 2011-12 - in the past 12 years.
Paul Menard was dealt a blow to his playoff chances before the race even started when his No. 21 Ford failed inspection Sunday morning and he was sent to the rear of the 37-car field.
Hamlin traversed the 2.45-mile layout at 125.534 miles per hour on Saturday to take the top spot in the No. 11 Toyota, just ahead of Busch.
Chase Elliott won the Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen International for his first career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series win. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson wound up using his auto to push Elliott to his first victory celebration.
Both of these statements are set to change on Saturday, August 25, as Elliott, 62, is set to return to NASCAR in the Xfinity Series race at Road America.
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