Motorsports

Chase Elliott out-duels Blaney to win Talladega Cup race

After a late caution for a stalled car at the end of pit road, Blaney led the way with two laps to go and remained out front to begin the last of 188 laps.

As the field came off Turn 4, Blaney was on the inside with Michael McDowell behind him, while Elliott ran up top with Jones behind him.

Jones gave Elliott a shove to push him past Blaney for the lead and the two ended up racing side-by-side to the checkered flag with Elliott winning by 0.046 seconds.

Elliott becomes the first driver in the playoffs to win one of the playoff races this season and automatically advances to the semifinal round regardless of how he finishes in next weekend’s race at the Charlotte Roval.

The win is the fifth this season for Elliott – the most of any driver – and 18th of his career.

“How about these fans, man. Moments like that you need to cherish and you guys are what makes this special to me, so thank you,” Elliott said. “It was a wild last couple laps. I wasn’t super-crazy about being on the bottom (lane) and fortunately I got just clear enough off of (Turn) 2 to slide up in front of Erik.

“He gave me some great shoves. He’s a Team Chevy partner there. Just had a good enough run to get out front and then was able to stay far enough in front of Ryan at the line to get it done.

“These things are so hard to win and you have to enjoy them. I just appreciate everybody’s effort today. We’re getting ready to go to the Roval and try to grab another one.”

McDowell ended up third, Ross Chastain was fourth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Jones, Todd Gilliland, Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

With one race remaining in the second round, the four drivers lowest in points and in danger of elimination next week at Charlotte are Christopher Bell, William Byron, Briscoe and Cindric.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Elliott first off pit road. He led the way when the race returned to green on Lap 127 followed by Jones and Kyle Larson.

Chris Buescher quickly pushed Jones into the lead on the restart and then move out front himself on Lap 128.

A shove from Blaney helped Chastain move into the top spot on Lap 129.

With 50 laps remaining, Chastain remained out front followed by Blaney and Brad Keselowski.

A push from Keselowski moved Blaney back into the lead on Lap 153 as teams prepared to make their final pit stop in the race.

Several drivers hit pit road on Lap 162 to kick off the final round of stops. Both Keselowski and Kevin Harvick were penalized for speeding and both had to serve a pass-through penalty.

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 163, Blaney emerged as the leader followed by Chastain, Jones and Gilliland.

On Lap 169, Jones made a move around Blaney to get back out front. Blaney edged back out front on the following lap.

With 10 laps to go, Blaney remained in the lead and blocking to keep Chastain and Gilliland at bay.

Jones edged back out front on Lap 180 with Blaney right behind him. He then dove to the bottom lane and dropped in front of Gilliland.

With Jones still out front, NASCAR was forced to display a caution on Lap 183 for the stalled car of Daniel Hemric on the end of pit road.

When the race returned to green with two laps to go, Jones led the way followed by Blaney, McDowell, Chastain and Elliott.

Stage 2

Elliott used a slingshot pass to edge Justin Haley for the Stage 2 win as Tyler Reddick was forced to pit on the final lap after apparently running out of fuel.

Larson was third, Suarez fourth and Jones rounded out the top-five.

During the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap cars all pit with Larson first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 66, Larson was followed by Jones, Chastain and Blaney.

Blaney shoved Jones into the lead on the restart and then got around Jones for the lead himself on Lap 67.

Aric Almirola got a shove back out front on Lap 73.

Gilliland got a push into the lead on Lap 77 – his first time out front so far in the race. Jones returned to top spot on Lap 78. Almirola returned to the lead on Lap 79.

With 30 laps remaining in the stage, Almirola remained out front just ahead of Harvick and Gilliland in third.

Several Ford drivers hit pit road on Lap 98 to kick off a round of green-flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the stage.

Bell spun out entering pit road on Lap 99 but there was no caution. He was also penalized for speeding and had to serve a pass-through penalty.

 

Several Chevrolets pit on Lap 101.

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 104, Reddick led the way followed by Suarez, Larson and Elliott. Bell fell to 32nd.

Elliott gave Larson a big push to send him into the lead on Lap 111 as Haley ran third.

Reddick got back around into the lead on Lap 113. Larson edged back out front on Lap 118.

Stage 1

Blaney got a big push from Cindric and edged Hamlin by 0.009 seconds to claim the Stage 1 win.

Elliott was third, Cindric fourth and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.

Bell started on the pole but Almirola used the outside line and grabbed the lead on Lap 1.

A push from Jones sent Chastain into the lead on Lap 3. Almirola reclaimed the top spot on Lap 6 with help from Larson.

NASCAR displayed a caution on Lap 9 for debris on the backstretch, which appeared to be a right-side window net that had become dislodged from Ty Dillon’s No. 42 car.

Several lead-lap cars pit and Cindric was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.

On the restart on Lap 12, Chastain remained in the lead.

Jones got around Chastain to move into the lead on Lap 17, with Chastain and Almirola close behind him. Chastain got back around Jones on Lap 21.

On Lap 24, Harrison Burton got loose in Turn 1 and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got into the back of him, which sent Burton across the track and triggered a large wreck.

 

Among the drivers involved were Logano, Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Cindric and Justin Allgaier. Burton and Gibbs were unable to continue in the race.

The lead-lap cars pit with Busch the first off pit road. He led the way when the race resumed on Lap 30 followed by Suarez and Blaney.

With a shove from Elliott, Suarez powered into the lead shortly after the restart. Elliott then got around him to take the lead on Lap 31.

Almirola shoved Suarez back to the lead, then got around him to return to the front on Lap 35.

Byron gave Hamlin a push into the lead on Lap 36.

On Lap 45, Corey LaJoie wrecked in Turn 2 after cutting a right-front tire which brought out the third caution of the race.

The race resumed on Lap 50 with Hamlin still in the lead.

A shove from Elliott sent Cole Custer to the lead on Lap 51. Hamlin returned to the lead on Lap 53.

A daring move by Byron – where he faked going high and then went low – got him the lead on Lap 56. Hamlin, however, got back around him for the lead on Lap 57.

Four drivers – Bubba Wallace (engine change) and Gibbs, Reddick and B.J. McLeod (all unapproved adjustments) – had to start the race from the rear of the field.


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