for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2017 Schedule

Chase Elliott Advances With Dover Victory

Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway
Sunday, October 7, 2018

Advertisement

Chase Elliott advances to the next round of the playoffs with his win at Dover
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

What looked like a Stewart-Haas Racing victory parade for much of Sunday afternoon ended in a wild overtime scramble, with Chase Elliott taking the checkered flag in the Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway. 

On considerably older tires, Elliott pulled ahead cleared runner-up Denny Hamlin through Turns 1 and 2 after a restart on Lap 403 and powered his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet across the finish line .265 second ahead of Hamlin’s Toyota. 

With the victory—his second of the season and the second of his career—Elliott punched his ticket into the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, extricating himself from the bottom four in the postseason standings. 

"This was a lot about perseverance," said Elliott, who recovered from a penalty for an uncontrolled tire incurred during a yellow-flag pit stop on Lap 123. "We had a penalty early and fell behind and luckily had a good enough car and good strategy to get back (to the front). What a day!" 

The win was a satisfying turnaround from the same race last year, when Elliott had victory in his sights, only to be tracked down and passed by Kyle Busch on the next-to-last lap.  

"Definitely think it makes it sweeter, for sure," Elliott said. "You don't appreciate it in those moments, but to come back here and have the day we had...  

"We get to move on to the next round, and I don't have to worry about Talladega next week. It's just a hell of a day." 

The move that won the race was crew chief Alan Gustafson’s decision to keep Elliott on the track with tires that were more than 50 laps old, when most of the other lead-lap cars opted to pit on Lap 393 after Clint Bowyer’s Ford slammed into the Turn 4 wall one lap earlier. 

Chase Elliott takes the checkered flag at Dover
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Elliott led the field to a restart on Lap 397, but on the backstretch during that circuit, Aric Almirola nicked the outside wall and started a chain-reaction collision that also damaged the cars of fellow Playoff drivers Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney. 

NASCAR red-flagged the race, and Elliott outran Hamlin in an overtime that extended the event four laps beyond its scheduled distance. The only laps Elliott led were the last 11. 

Kevin Harvick, on the other hand, was out front for 286 of the 404 laps in a No. 4 Ford that was the clear class of the field. Harvick swept the first two stages, as he had done during his June victory at the Monster Mile and appeared headed for another perfect afternoon, but the 2014 series champion had to return to pit road under green for an extra tire change after a flying lug nut knocked the valve stem off Harvick’s left rear tire. 

Harvick regained the lap he lost under a debris caution called on Lap 339, but he couldn’t work his way back to the front before the race ended.  

Joey Logano dodged the Almirola wreck and finished third, followed by Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Harvick. Austin Dillon ran seventh, one spot ahead of Kyle Busch, who snared his top 10 despite dealing with a malfunctioning track bar adjuster throughout the afternoon. 

"You use it (the track bar) a lot here because of the tire wear and tire build-up," Busch said. "Cars get loose over courses of the run. Not having that and not knowing where it was (set), I had no clue where it was throughout the whole day. We came in here poised to not run very well, and that’s how we did." 

For a long stretch after a restart on Lap 248, the four Stewart-Haas drivers—Harvick, Almirola, Bowyer and Kurt Busch—ran 1-2-3-4. But Bowyer had to a pit with a flat tire on Lap 382, after racing side-by-side with Ryan Newman, Harvick had his issue on pit road, and Almirola lost his winning chances when Bowyer hit the wall late in the race. 

Harvick leaves Dover with a five-point lead over Kyle Busch. After the Oct. 21 race at Kansas, the Playoff field will be trimmed from 12 drivers to eight.

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Race Winner

YOU ARE SHAKING YOUR HEAD ALMOST IN DISBELIEF. YOU TOLD YOUR GUYS, THANKS FOR NOT GIVING UP ALL DAY LONG. HOW MUCH OF THIS WIN IS ABOUT PERSEVERANCE?

“Oh, a lot! We had a (speeding) penalty there, early, and fell behind. Luckily, I had a good enough car and a good strategy to get back. Man, what a day. Just thanks to those guys, man. And that man right there in that white shirt (Rick Hendrick). He has done so much for me. I wish my mom and dad were here, but man; it’s been a hell of a day.”

HOW ABOUT THE REDEMPTION HERE IN DOVER?  LAST YEAR YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD THIS RACE WON WITH A COUPLE OF LAPS TO GO

“It definitely makes it sweeter, for sure. You don’t appreciate it in those moments. But, to come back here and have the day we had, and to move on to the next round; I don’t have to worry about Talladega next week. Man it’s a great day. Thank you.”

WHERE DID ALL THAT SPEED COME FROM?

“Just perseverance and good adjustments throughout the day. It was just a great effort. I appreciate everybody and all my partners, NAPA, Valvoline, Hooters, SunEnergy1, Chevrolet, Mountain Dew, and Kelley Blue Book. It’s been an up-and-down year, I feel like. To have this race slip away last year makes the day that much more sweet.”

THE CALL WAS TO LEAVE YOU OUT ON OLD TIRES. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT?

“I just feel like I’ve messed it up so many times. I was like hey, here’s your opportunity to make it right and to do it right. I don’t know. Today just felt different. Like in those positions, I just felt more confident and just excited about the opportunity instead of unsure of what was going to happen. It’s just amazing and I just love the opportunity that Mr. Hendrick has given me. I’m glad he was able to be here today for our second win of the year.”

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Points Status
1 9 9 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 404 11 48 Running
2 15 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 404 0 38 Running
3 6 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 404 2 50 Running
4 16 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota 404 0 33 Running
5 7 41 Kurt Busch (P) Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 404 0 40 Running
6 2 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Outdoors Ford 404 251 51 Running
7 14 3 Austin Dillon AAA Chevrolet 404 0 30 Running
8 1 18 Kyle Busch (P) Interstate Batteries Toyota 404 21 41 Running
9 21 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 404 7 28 Running
10 19 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 404 0 27 Running
11 8 12 Ryan Blaney (P) PPG Ford 404 0 30 Running
12 10 42 Kyle Larson (P) Credit One Bank Chevrolet 404 0 25 Running
13 11 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford 404 64 32 Running
14 4 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Wurth Ford 404 8 29 Running
15 3 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P)5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota4040 31 Running
16 18 21 Paul Menard Menards/Tarkett Ford 403 0 21 Running
17 17 31 Ryan Newman Waste Masters Solutions Chevrolet403 0 20 Running
18 20 1 Jamie McMurray GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 402 0 19 Running
19 22 24 William Byron # Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet 402 0 18 Running
20 28 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford 402 0 17 Running
21 25 95 Regan Smith Dumont JETS Chevrolet 401 0 16 Running
22 24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 400 0 15 Running
23 29 43 Bubba Wallace #World Wide Technology Chevrolet 399 0 14 Running
24 26 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 399 0 13 Running
25 23 37 Chris Buescher Scott Products Chevrolet 399 0 12 Running
26 27 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 399 0 11 Running
27 31 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 397 0 10 Running
28 12 88 Alex Bowman (P) Axalta Chevrolet 396 0 9 Accident
29 30 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 396 0 8 Running
30 33 72 Corey LaJoie Factor One Source Chevrolet 394 0 7 Running
31 37 96 Jeffrey Earnhardt Xtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota 394 0 6 Running
32 35 23 JJ Yeley Toyota 392 0 0 Running
33 34 0 Landon Cassill StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 390 0 0 Running
34 36 51 BJ McLeod Jacob Companies Ford 389 0 0 Running
35 5 14 Clint Bowyer (P)Haas VF1/Rush Truck Centers Ford 388 1 18 Accident
36 13 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 387 0 1 Running
37 32 15 Ross Chastain Use Your Melon Drive Sober Chevrolet 314 0 0 Rear Gear
38 39 52 Harrison Rhodes The Medicine Shoppe Chevrolet 308 0 1 Brakes
39 38 66 Timmy Hill Ternio Toyota 35 0 0 Transmission



Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article