Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Elliott seizes control in overtime as NASCAR rivals falter

Jonathan Ferrey  Getty Images Jonathan Ferrey Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 10 October, 2018, 23:22

"I won't be making a visit to that just because I don't gamble", Blaney said.

Chase Elliott pulled away to win in overtime Sunday at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway for an automatic berth into the next round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs. "The way the rulebook looks today, I think the teams and the drivers understand what it looks like, and I think we'll clarify for '19 with more specific language in it". Elliott's father, Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, was not at the race.

Right in front of him was his first victory of the season and a guaranteed transfer into the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. But Bowyer had to a pit with a flat tire on Lap 382, after racing side-by-side with Ryan Newman, Harvick had his issue on pit road, and Almirola lost his winning chances when Bowyer hit the wall late in the race.

Rank - Driver - Car, Team, Manufacturer - [Last Rank (Trend)]1st - Kevin Harvick - #4, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford - [1st (0)] 2nd - Kyle Busch - #18, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota - [2nd (0)] 3rd - Chase Elliott - #9, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet - [8th (+5)] 4th - Joey Logano - #22, Team Penske, Ford - [9th (+5)] 5th - Martin Truex Jr.

"It's really hard when you have someone that's so successful but they've been tied to one brand for a long time", Hendrick said.

"We've had so many opportunities and been so close and had the auto to win and been in position, and I don't know, it just seems to not come through", a disconsolate Almirola said after the race.

Johnson's bid for a record eighth NASCAR Cup title ended last week when he was eliminated from the playoffs. His No. 48 Chevrolet was forced to the garage during the pace laps because of mechanical woes and he finished 36th.

Sports betting has come to DE and the track is set to throw open the betting windows and allow wagers on most of this weekend's track activity. NASCAR does not prohibit its drivers or team members from betting on the race. On that restart, I tried to at least go where they weren't to the top, and the 11 (runner-up Denny Hamlin) moved up to kind of block me, and I just got really tight off of (Turn) 2, and I bounced off the fence and got into Brad (Keselowski) and tore up a lot of race cars along the back straightaway.

"I thought so", he said.

The series heads to Talladega where Keselowski is the defending race victor. Almirola was leading Sunday's Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway with eight laps left.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 122.404 miles per hour.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 18 minutes, 2 seconds.

Lead Changes: 15 among 8 drivers.

Harvick leaves Dover with a five-point lead over Kyle Busch. 75-81;K. Harvick 82-126;J. Logano 127-128;K. Harvick 129-189;B.

Stewart-Haas Racing holds four of the 12 playoff spots with Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola. Keselowski 342-348;A. Almirola 349-393;C. Elliott 394-404. The top eight drivers after the next two races move on to the next round and Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman are stuck below the cutoff with two races left in the round of 12.