NASCAR: Chase Elliott closes the deal at Charlotte for first win of 2020

After back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series races with tough blows that cost him victories, Chase Elliott has secured his first victory of the 2020 season.

Things finally went the #9 team’s way at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott secured his first victory of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season in the Alsco Uniforms 500.

Elliott’s victory in this 208-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Concord, North Carolina came after he was dealt late blows in both of the last two races that knocked him out of positions to win.

At Darlington Raceway last Wednesday night, Elliott was on newer tires and poised to take the lead from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin when Kyle Busch, one of Hamlin’s teammates, spun  him into the wall while trying to get in line behind him in second place. This ended up taking place on the race’s final green flag lap, as the rain came down just moments later and ended the race.

Then at Charlotte Motor Speedway this past Sunday, Elliott had a sizable lead over Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski with just over two laps remaining when the caution flag flew. The #9 team’s decision to bring Elliott into the pits dropped him back to 11th place, and he could only rally to finished in second behind Keselowski on new tires following the overtime restart.

Following tonight’s stoppage in action due to rain and lightning in the area, Elliott took the checkered flag by 2.208 seconds over Hamlin in second place in his #11 Toyota to secure his seventh career victory. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney finished in third for the second consecutive race in his #12 Ford.

Elliott, who started in 19th place, took the lead from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick with 28 laps remaining. These 28 laps were the only 28 laps he led. Harvick’s #4 Ford appeared to be well on its way to its second win in the last four races, but it was not set up for the long run which ended the race. As a result, he fell back to 10th.

JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove an impressive race en route to a fourth place finish in his #47 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch rounded out the top five in fifth in his #1 Chevrolet.

Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Keselowski finished in sixth and seventh place in their #22 Ford and #2 Ford, respectively. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon finished in eighth in his #3 Chevrolet ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. in ninth in his #19 Toyota.

The race featured 15 lead changes among eight drivers. Harvick led more laps than anybody else with 63 laps led. The other race leaders aside of Harvick and Elliott were Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron, Logano, Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell.

Byron started the race from the pole position but never fully recovered from contact in the pits with Go Fas Racing’s Corey LaJoie. He finished in 12th place in his #24 Chevrolet.

Logano won stage one and Bowman won stage two. Bowman was well-positioned to challenge Harvick for the win when he hit the turn four wall toward the beginning of the race’s third and final stage. He finished in 31st place, one lap off the lead lap.

Of the 40 drivers who competed in the race, 36 finished and 22 did so on the lead lap. The race featured seven caution flag periods, including a competition caution, one to end stage one and another to end stage two. The last 59 laps were caution-free.

Here are the full race results of the 2020 Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Race results
1st – Chase Elliott
2nd – Denny Hamlin
3rd – Ryan Blaney
4th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5th – Kurt Busch
6th – Joey Logano
7th – Brad Keselowski
8th – Austin Dillon
9th – Martin Truex Jr.
10th – Kevin Harvick
11th – Jimmie Johnson
12th – William Byron
13th – John Hunter Nemechek
14th – Tyler Reddick
15th – Matt DiBenedetto
16th – Clint Bowyer
17th – Ryan Newman
18th – Cole Custer
19th – Corey LaJoie
20th – Aric Almirola
21st – Christopher Bell
22nd – Chris Buescher
23rd – Matt Kenseth
24th – Ryan Preece
25th – Michael McDowell
26th – Erik Jones
27th – Ty Dillon
28th – Daniel Suarez
29th – Kyle Busch
30th – Gray Gaulding
31st – Alex Bowman
32nd – Quin Houff
33rd – Timmy Hill
34th – J.J. Yeley
35th – B.J. McLeod
36th – Josh Bilicki
37th – Bubba Wallace
38th – Brennan Poole
39th – Joey Gase
40th – Garrett Smithley

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

The next race on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday, May 31 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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