Elliott gets first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Watkins Glen

Chase Elliott holds off defending champion Martin Truex Jr. for his first victory

Dave Buchanan
August 05, 2018 - 6:04 pm

Photo: Dave Buchanan (@FastTrack550)

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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. The win comes in his 99th career Cup Series start. 

Elliott held off defending race winner, Martin Truex, Jr., in the closing laps. Both cars were tight on fuel milage late in the race, and Truex forced Elliott to run hard to the finish. Truex closed within in a couple car lengths of Elliott with 10 laps to go, but faded back in the final circuits. 

The 22-year-old Elliott from Dawsonville, Georgia inherited the lead on lap 56 when race leader Kyle Busch was forced to come back down pit road for more fuel. A mechanical issue with the refueling system on Busch's car on, what was supposed to be, their final stop of the race kept the car from being fully fueled. Busch was the early race favorite and led 31 laps before giving up the lead to Elliott.

Elliott led 52 out of 90 laps after starting the race in third. He took the lead for his first time on lap 27 after challenging Kyle Busch to start the second stage of the event. Elliott held the top spot through end of Stage 2. Busch regained the lead when the race restarted for the third and final stage when Elliott pushed high off of the first turn. 

Busch rallied to finish third after dropping to 31st following his second fuel stop. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez, rounded out the top-five. 

Chase Elliott is the son of 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott. The elder Elliott was part of his son's drive to victory lane as he served as one of the team's spotters. In an unique coincedence, both Elliotts got their first ever Cup wins on road courses, and both came after finishing second place eight times. 

The race got off to an exciting start with an early battle for the lead between teammates Denny Hamlin and Busch. Busch pressured the polesitter for a couple laps before taking the top spot. Joey Logano then went off track in the inner loop and wound up driving through the gravel pit. Logano brought his car to the garage, which ended his day due to NASCAR's damaged car policy. Crew cheif Todd Gordon admitted he wasn't aware NASCAR had put Logano on the damage clock when called for the car to go to the garage area. Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney made contact in Turn 7 on Lap 3. Almirola spun out and backed into the guardrail to bring out the first caution of the race.

The Go Bowling at The Glen marked the fourth-straight grandstand sellout for Watkins Glen International. The majority of the large crowd was behind Elliott, and roared as he took the checkered flag on the final lap.

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