Chase Elliott Wins NASCAR Playoff Race At Dover

Automatically Advances To Round Of 8 With 2nd Career Win.

Scott Stiller
October 08, 2018 - 12:16 am
Chase Elliott Celebrates Atop The No. 9 NAPA Chevy After Winning the NASCAR Cup Series Gander Outdoors 400 At Dover International Raceway

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports


Dover, DE (93.7 The Fan) - Chase Elliott held off Denny Hamlin in overtime to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Raceway on Sunday.

The victory was the second this season for Elliott and the second of his career.  The victory automatically advances Elliott to the round of 8 in NASCAR’s Playoffs.

“I think it's nice to be able to know you're going to move on,” said Elliott.  “But you can't get complacent in the fact that you are moving on, and you can't let those points just sit out there and not try to go get them because those bonus points you get for winning or winning a stage or winning a race or whatever, that's huge, and you need as many as you can get.  One or two points could be the difference in you making the round of four or not.  Just knowing that and not being complacent with the win and trying to go get another one or two before it starts I think is important”.

NASCAR needed overtime following two late caution periods.  The first was on Lap 392 for Clint Bowyer, who hit the wall.  The second came after the ensuing restart on Lap 397 when Aric Almirola got loose coming off turn two, bounced off the outside wall and collected several playoff contenders including Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, defending series Champion Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney.

Elliott’s victory was not without its own drama.  Elliott’s crew was penalized for an uncontrolled tire on pit road during a pit stop on Lap 123 and NASCAR forced him to restart from the back of the field. Elliott rallied however during the races third stage, where he worked his way back into the top 5 before the final two caution flags.

“We had a really good car,” said Alan Gustafson, Elliott’s Crew Chief.  “I don't think we had a chance to show it as much as we should have been able to kind of mired back there after the pit stop penalty”.

Gustafson elected not to pit during the caution for Bowyer since there were only 7-laps remaining in the race.  Hamlin and Joey Logano chose the track position too leaving Almirola to restart fourth.

“I was shocked that those other guys didn't stay out there with only seven laps to go,” said Elliott. “I thought staying out was the right thing to do if you have a few rows of cars behind you.  If that's the case, I think you can make it happen if you do all the other things right”.

“I really thought Chase was a sitting duck,” said Logano, who finished third.  “I didn’t think he could win on those older tires, but I guess that red flag cooled him off enough to where he took off and got that clean air, and the 11 (Hamlin) couldn’t do anything with him, which was surprising”.

Erik Jones and Kurt Busch rounded out the Top 5.

The next race is October 14, 2018 at Talladega Superspeedway.

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