NASCAR Cup Series

Chase Elliott snaps oval drought with Dover win

3 Mins read
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Chase Elliott is regarded as one of the top road course racers in the NASCAR Cup Series, but also has a pretty solid oval résumé with six wins on such tracks entering the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway, the site of his maiden oval triumph in 2018. However, he had not won on an oval since the final race of the 2020 season at Phoenix to claim the chanpionship. Over a year and thirty-nine oval starts later, he returned to Dover and finally snapped that drought as he led the final fifty-three laps of a rain-delayed event to win for the first time in 2022.

Stages #1 and 2

Kyle Larson inherited the top spot from a pitting Denny Hamlin shortly before the race was red flagged on Sunday and pushed to Monday following seventy-eight laps for rain. He continued to lead when it resumed twenty hours later on lap 84, only for another pause four circuits later when Austin Cindric and Todd Gilliland spun. A good restart by Elliott propelled him past his Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Larson.

Hamlin reclaimed the lead on lap 113 and eventually the stage win ahead of Elliott, Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr., Larson, William Byron, pole winner Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. However, the leader’s race collapsed between segments when his left-front tyre came off as he was exiting pit road, which will result in a four-race suspension for crew chief Chris Gabehart and the crewmen who failed to tighten its lug nut.

With Hamlin penalised, Chastain assumed the lead alongside Bell, only for the latter to suffer the same fate as his Joe Gibbs Racing ally Hamlin as he pitted for a loose wheel. Larson crashed on lap 156 for the first caution of Stage #2, followed by Kurt Busch hitting the wall thirty laps later and Joey Logano on the ensuing restart.

Brief periods of Justin Haley and Bowman leading ended upon Kyle Busch, who was celebrating his thirty-seventh birthday, taking the spot on lap 212. As the end of the stage approached, Tyler Reddick and Ty Dillon suffered downed tyres that forced them to pit. With nine laps remaining, Cody Ware spun off turn four and Hamlin attempted to avoid him by ducking to the apron, but Ware’s car slid down the racing surface and contact occurred anyway.

Despite having older tyres, Blaney led for the green flag and until the stage’s conclusion. Busch, Bowman, Truex, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chastain, Erik Jones, Harrison Burton, Buescher, and Elliott rounded out the top ten.

Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Stage #3

Busch and Bowman led the field to the restart, and the former remained in front until a debris caution came out for A.J. Allmendinger losing his right-front wheel lap 325. Hamlin’s day worsened when he was caught speeding on pit road during following stops.

Contact between Daniel Suárez and Corey LaJoie led to the former’s spin and a lap 335 caution. Suárez’s Trackhouse Racing Team partner Chastain led before another yellow flag for Reddick’s crash on lap 343, from which Elliott cleared Chastain for first on the ensuing green.

Truex spun on the final lap to end the race under caution and secure Elliott his fourteenth career victory and second at Dover.

“Had some good circumstances finally,” said Elliott. “Really appreciate Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our entire team for just sticking with it. We’’e had some tough races over the last, I don’t know, four, five months. Just great to get NAPA back to Victory Lane, 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. […] 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.”

Race results

149Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet400Running
21547Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet400Running
371Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet400Running
41720Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota400Running
5648Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet400Running
635Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet400Running
71018Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota400Running
8117Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord400Running
9114Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord400Running
102543Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet400Running
111431Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet400Running
121819Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota400Running
132314Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord400Running
14899Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet400Running
153041Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord400Running
16923Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota399Running
172934Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord399Running
18217Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet399Running
192710Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord399Running
20206Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord399Running
21211Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota399Running
223324William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet399Running
23243Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet398Running
243521Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord398Running
251315Ryan Preece*Rick Ware RacingFord398Running
26512Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord397Running
273142Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet396Running
283438Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord396Running
292222Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord396Running
30268Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet390Running
311645Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota388Running
323677Josh Bilicki*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet381Running
331916A.J. Allmendinger*Kaulig RacingChevrolet321Brakes
342851Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord238DVP
353278B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord167Brakes
36122Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord91DVP
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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