NASCAR COTA: Elliott takes rain-shortened win in chaotic race

Chase Elliott made the most of a slick pit strategy to score his NASCAR Cup Series victory of season in a rain-shortened crash-strewn race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team went for a splash and dash stop near the beginning of the final stage and were likely to end up two laps short on fuel to make it to the finish.

Fortunately for the reigning Cup champion, heavy rain brought out the second red-flag of the race and NASCAR called its first race at the US Grand Prix Formula 1 venue complete after just 54 of the scheduled 68 laps.

Had the race remained green, Elliott would either have likely run out of fuel or been forced to pit under green for at least a splash of fuel and give up the lead.

The win was his first of the year, ensuring all four HMS drivers have now secured at least one win this season.

"I couldn't be more excited - I've never won a rain race before, so that's cool," Elliott said.

"I'm just super-proud of mine and their ability to continue to fight. When we started we weren't very good. I just kept pushing myself and we kept making changes throughout the day where I thought we were on pace with the other guys at the end.

"I'm looking forward to next week and trying to make it continue."

Asked about being short on fuel if the race went the distance, Elliott said, "I just kept pushing myself harder harder. There were some areas on the track that were very treacherous I felt like. The backstretch was puddling up and we were started to hydroplane and some other weird stuff.

"My only option was to just kind of send it through those spots and just hope for the best."

Race winner Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro LLumar

Race winner Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro LLumar

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

In 14 career road course starts in the Cup series, Elliott has now won six of them, including five of the past six.

With the win, Hendrick Motorsports has now matched Petty Enterprises on the all-time wins list in the Cup series with 268 victories.

Kyle Larson ended up second, Joey Logano third, Ross Chastain fourth and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top -10 were Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman, pole-winner Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch.

The race was filled with plenty of incident triggered by rain and poor visibility. 

On lap 17 of the race, Christopher Bell ran into the back of Ryan Blaney and spun out.

Kevin Harvick slowed down to avoid the incident but an unsighted Bubba Wallace continued unawares and ploughed into the back of Harvick's car, destroying both machines.

Just a few laps later, Martin Truex Jr ran into the back of Michael McDowell and sustained significant front-end damage. Cole Custer then slammed into the back of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, sending Truex's car airborne, while Custer's ignited into flames after a secondary impact with the barrier lining the straight.

Both were fortunately able to climb from their cars, unhurt, as the red flags arrived.

Results

Cla Driver Manufacturer Laps Gap
1 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 54  
2 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 54 15.656
3 United States Joey Logano Ford 54 27.331
4 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 54 33.696
5 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 54 47.118
6 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 54 52.740
7 United States Michael McDowell Ford 54 54.488
8 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 54 56.859
9 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 54 58.889
10 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 54 1'01.557
11 United States William Byron Chevrolet 54 1'03.370
12 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 54 1'15.418
13 United States Chris Buescher Ford 54 1'15.880
14 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 54 1'23.545
15 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 54 1'24.849
16 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 54 1'26.265
17 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 54 1'28.864
18 Anthony Alfredo Ford 54 1'31.221
19 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 54 1'42.037
20 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 54 1'46.867
21 United States Ty Dillon Toyota 54 1'49.225
22 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 54 1'50.201
23 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 54 1'59.723
24 United States Ryan Newman Ford 54 2'10.427
25 United States Austin Cindric Ford 54 2'14.703
26 United States Aric Almirola Ford 54 2'21.869
27 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 54 2'22.785
28 United States Garrett Smithley Ford 54 2'47.385
29 Australia James Davison Chevrolet 54 2'48.899
30 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 54 2'53.380
31 United Kingdom Kyle Tilley Ford 54 3'27.398
32 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 53 1 Lap
33 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 46 8 Laps
34 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 38 16 Laps
35 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 24 30 Laps
36 United States Cole Custer Ford 24 30 Laps
37 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 19 35 Laps
38 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 18 36 Laps
39 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 18 36 Laps
40 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 12 42 Laps

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