Chase Elliott Dominates At Martinsville To Advance To The Championship 4by Hunter Thomas November 1, 2020 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Chase Elliott won the Xfinity 500 on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway and advanced to the Championship 4 of the NASCAR Playoffs.
Elliott entered the race needing to finish well in order to advance to the final round of the NASCAR Playoffs, and he did so in dominate fashion. The 24-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver led a race high of 236 laps and won by 6.577 seconds over Ryan Blaney.
“Oh, my gosh,” Elliott said. “This is the biggest win ever for us. I’m just so proud to be able to be backed into a corner like that and have to win tonight. I feel like that’s what we’ve been missing these past four or five years and perform when we don’t have a choice. And, to do that tonight; we couldn’t ask for a better night. This is unreal. Thanks to the fans for coming out. They’re here and I love to see it!”
Finishing behind Elliott and Blaney, was Joey Logano who advances to the Championship 4 due to his win at Kansas Speedway in the opening race of the Round of 8.
“We’re ready to go,” Logano said. “This is a great opportunity. We were able to lock ourselves in a couple weeks ago, be able to breathe for a minute, get through these last couple races. What a crazy race it was today for those guys trying to get their way in.
“Glad we were able to Keep some momentum up, get a good starting spot. I don’t know where we’re going to be for next week yet. Hopefully it’s a good starting spot. We’ll fire away and try to get our second championship.”
Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski will advance to the Championship 4 as well thanks to his fourth-place finish on Sunday. Keselowski
“Got four wins this year,” Keselowski said. “Making the Championship 4 is a big deal. Credit to Team Penske for that, for having two cars in it, Joey and myself. The way Blaney ran the tonight, shows he’s one of the best drivers out there, too. Could easily have been in the Championship 4 if some things would have gone his way.”
Despite winning seven races so far this season, Denny Hamlin just narrowly advanced to the Championship 4 after winning Stage 1 and finishing 11th. In the closing laps, Hamlin had to pass enough cars to keep the pressure on Kevin Harvick who didn’t advance.
“It was tough,” Hamlin said. “Our car was fading a little bit. I was also getting into some spots where I was getting roughed up by some teammates, not really ours, just some of the guys that are in the battle. I didn’t even want to be a part of it, so I would just get out of it and then I put myself in an interesting spot where the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was going for it a little bit and we were very fortunate he didn’t go for it any further than he did. We did just enough.”
Harvick, who won the Regular Season came just short of advancing to the Championship 4. In the final corner, Harvick made contact with Kyle Busch, and both drivers spun. Harvick crashed prior to the finish line and finished a disappointing 17th.
“Everybody kept battling there,” Harvick said. “I tried to run into the door of the 18 as a last-ditch effort there and spun him out. Sorry to put him in the middle of trying to gain a point, but not a great three weeks. It didn’t go our way. We fought for everything we had and it just came up short.”
Throughout the afternoon, there were 20 lead changes among 10 drivers.
There were also 12 cautions for 83 laps.
The final race of the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 season will be held at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 8. Live coverage of the Season Finale 500 will broadcast live on NBC and MRN at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images