Chase Elliott Repeats At Watkins Glen For Fifth NASCAR Cup Series Victoryby Hunter Thomas August 4, 2019 0 comments
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – A year ago, Chase Elliott captured his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International. On Sunday at the New York road course, Elliott absolutely dominated The Glen to win his fifth series race.
The 23-year-old driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet sat on the pole and led all but 10 laps of Sunday’s 90-lap Go Bowling at The Glen. In the closing laps, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. meticulously chased Elliott down. Truex mimicked Elliott’s path. On the final lap, Truex caught Elliott, but he wasn’t quite fast enough to bump him or get alongside. Elliott held on to win his second victory of the 2019 season.
“That was frigging awesome,” Elliott said on the frontstretch in front of the fans. “I’ve never been so far from home and felt like I was at my house, so thank you. Y’all are awesome. What a day, man. Such a fast NAPA Camaro, and these guys called a great race. Just stayed mistake‑free, and Martin was a little quicker I felt like those last two runs, but the track position was king, and didn’t mess up into 1 this time, so that was good, so just a huge thanks to everybody that makes that happen.”
Truex came up just short of what would’ve been his fifth win of the year, but on a positive note, the finish marked his second consecutive top-five finish and his 14th top-10 effort this season. Truex appeared to be able to keep up with Elliott except through the bus stop where he seemed to lose a little ground each lap.
“I tried to do all I could,” Truex said. “Chase did an excellent job, just not making mistakes, and really all I could do was get to two car lengths, one and a half at 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 you need to be, leaving a few of the key corners.”
Truex’s teammates, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones finished third and fourth. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five. Matt DiBenedetto finished sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch.
The Go Bowling at The Glen saw four caution for 13 laps. Several drivers weren’t happy with each other following the conclusion of the race.
On Lap 40, the caution came out after Kyle Busch send Bubba Wallace spinning into the outside tire barriers in Turn 5. About 20 laps later, Wallace returned the favor and internationally spun Busch in Turn 1 to bring out the caution on lap 63. Busch rebounded to finish 11th, while Wallace finished 28th.
Blaney got into the back of Johnson exiting the bus stop on the same lap Wallace got his revenge. Johnson was unable to save his car from hitting the outside tire barrier. Following the race, Johnson confronted Blaney on pit road.
“It was just racing,” Blaney said. “He had old tires. They just did gas only and he was pretty slow and I passed 10 guys off the bus stop all day. He hit the third curb pretty bad and got in that position and he was up and I had a good run. I was there. He left probably a lane-and-a-quarter or so, and I took it. At first he didn’t turn down like I thought he knew I was there, and then he kept coming. I tried to check up and it was just too late. I mean, obviously, I didn’t mean to spin him out. I don’t want to do that. It’s obviously an accident, but he was upset and I can’t blame him for being upset about it.”
Johnson, who is battling for a spot in the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs didn’t see the accident quite the same way as Blaney did.
“He just drove through me in the carousel,” said Johnson who finished 19th. “I tried to hear what he was trying to say…but his lips were quivering so bad when he came to speak. I don’t know if he was nervous or scared or both…I don’t know what the problem is. He just drove through me…and spun me out. And clearly that has big implications with what we are trying to do for the Playoffs tight now, so clearly not happy with his actions”.
Kyle Busch now leads Joey Logano in the standings by 13 points.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will visit Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 11 for the Consumers Energy 400. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images