Chase Elliott led all but 10 laps in Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Watkins Glen International.
A trip to New York provided deja vu all over again for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
For the second straight season, Chase Elliott held off Martin Truex Jr. for a win at Watkins Glen International. Elliott’s persistence capped off a dominant day at the Go Bowling at The Glen as he secured his second victory of the 2019 season and his second straight in Schuyler County. This time last season, Elliott earned his first Cup win at WGI despite a furious late challenge from Truex.
Elliott’s fifth win at the Cup Series level couldn’t have come a better time. He had finished 20th or worse in five of the prior seven races and had tumbled from third to eighth in the standings. His spot in the NASCAR playoffs was secure thanks to an April win at Talladega, but he’s regained momentum as the fall’s playoffs approach.
Elliott joins Truex, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano as winners of multiple 2019 races. He also now appears on an elusive list of drivers that have earned multiple wins at WGI. Such a list also includes NASCAR legends like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, and Rusty Wallace.
The weekend began and ended with dominance from Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He won the pole on Saturday evening and would go on to lead all but 10 laps. Much like last season’s victory, Elliott got by with a little help from his father. 1988 Cup Series champion Bill Elliott once again served as his son’s spotter.
Truex finished in the runner-up spot, securing a finish in the top two at WGI for the third straight season. In yet another parallel to last season’s event, Joe Gibbs Toyotas took up three of the top five spots.
Hamlin would finish third and Erik Jones came in behind him. Both carried on impressive streaks of their own. Hamlin now has four consecutive top-five finishes (as well as three straight in the top three), while Jones has now finished no worse than fourth in four straight races.
The lone outlier was Kyle Busch, who finished 11th. Busch fought back for a decent finish after engaging in incidents with multiple drivers. After early contact with William Byron caused Busch’s No. 18 Toyota to spin coming out of the first turn, Busch bumped Byron into the “bus stop” loop on the straightaway between turns four and five.
Under a yellow flag at the end of the 20-lap first stage, Byron attempted to retaliate by tapping Busch’s bumper. Byron wound up only damaging his car, and the subsequent damage relegated him to a 21st-place finish.
William Byron went to express his displeasure with Kyle Busch…
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 4, 2019
Busch would later clash with the No. 43 Chevrolet of Bubba Wallace. The pair battled on the front stretch through the final 50-lap stage. Wallace ended the day in 27th.
Despite the conflicts, Busch managed to swipe the Cup Series points lead away from Logano, who came home 23rd.
Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five, securing his second such finish in three races. The top ten was completed with Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch.
Larson led the most laps after Elliott, briefly leading six at the start of the second 20-lap stage. Meanwhile, DiBenedetto enjoyed a career-best fourth top ten finish in his No. 95 Chevrolet. Each of those results has come over the past seven races.
Movement came at the bottom of the playoff standings as well. 19th-place finisher Jimmie Johnson is now tied with Ryan Newman (25th) for the 16th and final postseason berth. Each is 12 points behind 15th man Clint Bowyer.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next week for the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway (3:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN).