May 25, 2024

Chase Elliott Ends NASCAR Cup Winless Streak In Double Overtime At Texas

Chase Elliott held off the field in a thrilling, wildly-popular double overtime victory in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday to earn his first victory in 42 starts – dating back to the 2022 season.

By no means was it an easy win for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion and the sport’s perennial Most Popular Driver, but that’s part of what made it so special to 28-year old Georgia-native. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet prevailed in three late race restarts – including two in overtime – to claim his first NASCAR Cup Series win on the 1.5-mile Texas high banks and first trophy since a Playoff victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October 2022.

“Oh man, it couldn’t feel any better,” said a smiling Elliott, who did a “reverse” victory lap around the track in homage to the late series champion Alan Kulwicki, whose car was also sponsored by the Hooters restaurant chain that Elliott’s car carried on Sunday.

“Couldn’t be any more grateful for this journey and the fact, it hasn’t always been fun but certainly I have enjoyed working with our guys,” he continued. “We’ve been working really hard and really well together and that’s always been fun. We’ve enjoyed the fight together.”

RFK Racing owner/driver Brad Keselowski finished a season-best runner-up in a race that lasted more than three and a half hours and had a track record 16 caution periods.

On a restart with two laps of regulation to go, Elliott and Denny Hamlin were vying for the lead side-by-side when Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got loose and into the wall, putting the race into a two-lap overtime shootout. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain started alongside Elliott but couldn’t pass him before another caution came out a lap into overtime, forcing another restart.

On that restart, Elliott got ahead of Chastain again and took the white flag signaling one lap to go, when Chastain was tagged from behind by Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron – officially ending the race. Chastain, who led 33 laps on the day was credited with a 32nd-place finish. Hamlin, who led 37 laps, ended up 30th.

Elliott conceded the afternoon was a full-on day of drama and high competition. There were 23 lead changes among 13 drivers – seven of whom led double digit laps.

“It was crazy,” he said, “And I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

nascar cup series autotrader echopark automotive 400

Jared C. Tilton//Getty Images

Elliott and Denny Hamlin were vying for the lead side-by-side when Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got loose and into the wall, putting the race into a two-lap overtime shootout.

Bryon, a three-race winner this season, was third, followed by 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Chastain’s Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suarez.

“We didn’t have a ton of speed, I was more frustrated than anything because I feel like we have a great team and we don’t have the speed to go with it and we’re doing all we can do to overcome that,” Keselowski said, adding. “So proud of the team for the pit stops, the strategy and the execution [today].”

Differing pit strategies and plenty of pit road issues played into the late race push to the checkered flag.

With 60 laps remaining Reddick pulled away to the biggest lead of the race – more than six seconds on the field, but a slow pit stop – trouble with the left rear tire – forced him into a game of catch-up. His top five was impressive considering the setback.

Similarly, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., who has led the championship standings this year, was running up front when he had trouble on pit road – forced to make two stops on the final pit stop cycle to correct a loose wheel. He finished 14th despite the woes.

nascar cup series autotrader echopark automotive 400

Jared C. Tilton//Getty Images

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, pits after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Cup Series AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 14, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas.

And the day’s most dominant driver, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson also had to rally from a setback. He started his No. 5 Hendrick Chevrolet from the pole position for the third consecutive week and led a race best 77 of the 276 laps early – winning the opening stage, only to have a right rear tire fall of his car during an early caution period.

He was penalized two laps for the tire situation – per the rulebook – and spent much of the remainder of the race trying to make up ground. He got back on the lead lap and was moving forward when he was caught in an accident with only eight laps remaining.

Larson ultimately finished 21st, but holds a 17-point edge over Truex atop the NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe finished sixth. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon earned his best finish of the season with a seventh-place run. 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace, RCR’s Kyle Busch and Spire Motorsports rookie Carson Hocevar rounded out the top 10.

NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday, April 14, 2024

1. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 276.

2. (22) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 276.

3. (6) William Byron, Chevrolet, 276.

4. (4) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 276.

5. (17) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 276.

6. (5) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 276.

7. (10) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 276.

8. (15) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 276.

9. (35) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 276.

10. (16) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 276.

11. (20) Joey Logano, Ford, 276.

12. (26) Ryan Preece, Ford, 276.

13. (2) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 276.

14. (9) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 276.

15. (19) Chris Buescher, Ford, 276.

16. (36) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 276.

17. (3) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 276.

18. (21) Noah Gragson, Ford, 276.

19. (27) Erik Jones, Toyota, 276.

20. (38) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 276.

21. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 276.

22. (23) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 276.

23. (31) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 276.

24. (32) Justin Haley, Ford, 276.

25. (8) Austin Cindric, Ford, 276.

26. (18) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 276.

27. (33) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 276.

28. (29) Harrison Burton, Ford, 276.

29. (37) Jimmie Johnson, Toyota, 276.

30. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 276.

31. (28) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 276.

32. (12) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, Accident, 275.

33. (7) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 268.

34. (30) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, Accident, 226.

35. (13) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 143.

36. (25) Josh Berry #, Ford, Accident, 136.

37. (14) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 100.

38. (34) Austin Hill(i), Chevrolet, Steering, 98.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 116.492 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 33 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags: 16 for 72 laps.

Lead Changes: 23 among 13 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Larson 1-35;T. Gibbs 36-40;C. Elliott 41-52;K. Larson 53-54;C. Bell 55;K. Larson 56-84;R. Blaney 85-87;*. Hill(i) 88;R. Blaney 89-99;K. Larson 100;R. Blaney 101-103;T. Gilliland 104-106;K. Larson 107-116;D. Hamlin 117-138;R. Chastain 139-167;B. Wallace 168-172;H. Burton 173-179;T. Reddick 180-213;R. Chastain 214-217;J. Logano 218-231;T. Reddick 232-234;C. Elliott 235-244;D. Hamlin 245-259;C. Elliott 260-276.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Larson 5 times for 77 laps; Chase Elliott 3 times for 39 laps; Denny Hamlin 2 times for 37 laps; Tyler Reddick 2 times for 37 laps; Ross Chastain 2 times for 33 laps; Ryan Blaney 3 times for 17 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 14 laps; Harrison Burton 1 time for 7 laps; Bubba Wallace 1 time for 5 laps; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 5 laps; Todd Gilliland 1 time for 3 laps; * Austin Hill(i) 1 time for 1 lap; Christopher Bell 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,20,11,45,14,12,9,34,24,23

Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,23,12,43,14,6,21,47,54,9