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Chase Elliott Scores Third Cup Series Victory

Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway
Sunday, October 21, 2018

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Chase Elliott wins at Kansas Speedway
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

It took 99 races for Chase Elliott to get his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Ten events later, the scion of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has three wins, the latest coming at Kansas Speedway in the Sunday's Round of 12 elimination race in the series Playoffs.

Elliott took charge in the Hollywood Casino 400 when Kevin Harvick was hit with a pit road speeding penalty on his last green-flag pit stop on Lap 214 of 267. After inheriting the lead when Brad Keselowski came to pit road on Lap 224, Elliott stayed out front the rest of the way.

Over the closing laps, runner-up Kyle Busch chopped Elliott's three-second lead to .300 seconds but could get no closer.

Elliott crossed the finish line .903 seconds ahead of Busch, as Kyle Larson—needing a victory to advance to the Round of 8—came up short with a desperation charge that carried him to third-place finish.

The victory was Elliott's second in three weeks, as the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet made a statement entering the next round of the Playoffs. To Elliott, the "overnight" success wasn't a surprise.

"I thought last year we had a pretty solid run at it and didn't win any, obviously, but had some really good runs," Elliott said. "Just so proud of my race team and the pit stops we had today. (Crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) made some great calls. 

"We just can't get complacent. This is a huge time of year. We have a lot of work to do and a long way to go."

Elliott was well aware Busch was gaining on him near the end of the race, but he was reluctant to run up against the outside wall, where Busch was gaining ground.

"I got really tight that last run, and especially the second half of the run, he was catching me, and he was making a lot of time right against the wall, and I was just afraid to get up there and put it in the fence and really ruin it," Elliott said.

"I felt comfortable running down just slightly. I could move up a little bit to make some time when I had to; I just really didn't want to do it if I didn't absolutely have to."

Fortunately for Elliott, Busch's effort stalled out in the final five laps.

"We had a great race there at the end," Busch said. "We were trying to chase down Chase. We were close. Got kind of there, then just the car died out, didn't have any more to go. I was afraid that was going to happen. Good day for us."

Chase Elliott beat Kyle Busch to the checkered flag at Kansas
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Elliott and Aric Almirola, who finished 10th on Sunday, already were guaranteed berths in the Round of 8, thanks to respective wins at Dover and Talladega. Harvick, who came home 12th after leading 76 laps, locked himself into the next round with a second-place result in Stage 1.

Pole winner Joey Logano led a race-high 100 laps and cemented his position in the next round with a Stage 1 victory and an eighth-place finish. Kyle Busch and reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. (fifth on Sunday) are still alive in the championship battle.

So, too, are Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch, as all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers advanced to the Round of 8. Bowyer finished 14th after the nose of his No. 14 Ford sustained damage on restart from contact with Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet.

Kurt Busch made the next round despite a tire violation on pit road that cost him a lap. Busch finished 18th but ended the day six points ahead of Ryan Blaney for the last spot in the Round of 8. Blaney was third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2 but slapped the wall on Lap 204, dropped to seventh at the checkers and finished six points behind Kurt Busch for the final berth.

"I'm really happy," Kurt Busch said. "It's exciting for us. It's our goal to win the championship. We're an elite eight team when we started Daytona and here we are—we did it. It was a rough day in the pits and on the track but we had enough points from the (Charlotte) Roval and our stage races.

"It was a rough day, and we need to put it quickly behind us. We're back on even ground. We're in the top eight, and Martinsville (next Sunday) is the path to the championship down in Homestead."

Eliminated with Blaney were Larson, sixth-place finisher Brad Keselowski and ninth-place Alex Bowman, whose only path to the Round of 8 would have been a Kansas victory.

Erik Jones, who was eliminated from the Playoffs in the first round, scored his second fourth-place result in the past three races.

RACE RESULTS

Pos Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Points Status
1 13 9 Chase Elliott (P) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 267 44 48 Running
2 7 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Halloween Toyota 267 0 48 Running
3 27 42 Kyle Larson (P)McDonald's Trick. Treat. Win! Chevrolet267 0 39 Running
4 6 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota 267 0 40 Running
5 12 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P)Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota267 0 33 Running
6 5 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Discount Tire Ford 267 26 31 Running
7 4 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford 267 9 47 Running
8 1 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 267 100 47 Running
9 10 88 Alex Bowman (P) Nationwide Chevrolet 267 0 30 Running
10 3 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford 267 0 32 Running
11 23 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet 267 0 26 Running
12 2 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Light Ford 267 76 44 Running
13 14 14 Clint Bowyer (P) Dekalb Ford 267 0 28 Running
14 9 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 266 0 23 Running
15 16 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 266 0 22 Running
16 21 37 Chris Buescher Bush's Chili Beans Chevrolet 266 0 21 Running
17 20 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Trick. Treat. Win! Chevrolet266 0 20 Running
18 11 41 Kurt Busch (P) Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford 266 0 19 Running
19 28 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 265 0 18 Running
20 15 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 265 1 17 Running
21 25 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 265 9 16 Running
22 22 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 264 0 20 Running
23 31 32 Matt DiBenedetto Plan B Sales Ford 264 0 14 Running
24 8 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 263 0 13 Running
25 30 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 263 0 12 Running
26 29 43 Bubba Wallace #Transportation Impact Chevrolet 263 2 11 Running
27 24 34 Michael McDowell Coburn Supply Company Ford 262 0 10 Running
28 26 95 Regan Smith Tommy Williams Drywall Chevrolet 259 0 9 Running
29 35 0 Landon Cassill Share Foundation Chevrolet 258 0 0 Running
30 19 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford 258 0 7 Running
31 36 23 JJ Yeley BK Racing Toyota 256 0 0 Running
32 18 21 Paul Menard Menards/NIBCO Ford 256 0 11 Running
33 38 51 BJ McLeod Jacob Companies Chevrolet 250 0 0 Running
34 34 72 Corey LaJoie Dragonchain Chevrolet 219 0 3 Running
35 37 99 Kyle WeathermanStarCom Fiber Chevrolet 216 0 2 Transmission
36 39 7Reed SorensonHarrah's North Kansas City Chevrolet 157 0 1 Vibration
37 33 96 Jeffrey EarnhardtXtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota 151 0 1 Transmission
38 17 24 William Byron # Unifirst Chevrolet 55 0 1 Engine
39 32 15 Ross Chastain Durkin Tactical Chevrolet 37 0 0 Accident
40 40 66 Timmy Hill Ternio Toyota 3 0 0 Engine



 

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