DOVER, DEL. — Chase Elliott held off No. 1 on the final restart to secure win No. 1 of 2022, which boosted him to the No. 1 seed as the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway concluded Monday.
Elliott raced closely with Ross Chastain on a Lap 340 restart and a Lap 348 restart, where he finally pulled ahead and led the final 53 laps to earn his first win of the season.
Elliott’s win broke a 38-race winless streak on ovals, dating back to Phoenix in Nov. 2020. Elliott won twice in 2021 but each win came on a road course –at COTA in May and at Road America in July.
Before Dover, Elliott held 17 playoff points – 15 for holding the regular-season points lead and two for stage wins – and the win gave him five more playoff points, putting him at 22 so far.
Elliott now holds the No. 1 seed by one point over William Byron, who holds 21 playoff points so far – eight for being third in the regular-season points, 10 for winning two races and three for stage wins.
Byron finished 22nd in the overall race after finishing seventh in stage one. He and Kyle Busch are tied for third in the regular-season standings.
TOP-10 FINISHERS: Chase Elliott (led 73 laps), Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ross Chastain (led 86 laps), Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman (led 2 laps), Kyle Larson (led 19 laps), Kyle Busch (led 103-laps, race-high), Chris Buescher (led 18 laps), Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones.
Stage One Winner: Denny Hamlin (finished 21st, led 67 laps; No. 9 seed)
Stage Two Winner: Ryan Blaney (finished 26th, led 8 laps; No. 4 seed)
Hamlin did not earn any stage points in stage two, nor did Blaney earn any points in stage one. Hamlin had a loose wheel after winning stage one, then drove back to the front and wrecked on Lap 243 while running fourth.
Blaney was involved in a wreck on Lap 88 but played an alternate strategy to earn the stage two win.
Erik Jones bumped Austin Dillon out of a seed, as Jones finished 10th overall and seventh in stage two – while Dillon finished 23rd with no stage points earned.
Dillon is now three points behind Jones but 10 points ahead of teammate Tyler Reddick. Reddick fell to 13 points out of a playoff spot as he failed to earn stage points Monday and wrecked on Lap 343.
As the RCR cars fell further from a playoff spot, Christopher Bell tightened his grip on a spot – but it wasn’t easy.
After finishing third in stage one on Lap 120, Bell lost a lap pitting on Lap 130 for a tire issue but he received the free pass on Lap 190.
Bell drove back to the front and finished fourth at Dover, which moved him to 10th in the regular-season standings – just two weeks after he moved to 15th in the standings and into a playoff seed.
Bell passed Aric Almirola for 10th in the standings and the one playoff spot for 10th, for now. Bell is one point ahead of Almirola for 10th. Bell and Almirola are currently locked into a playoff spot by 25 and 24 points, respectively.
PLAYOFF POINTS EXPLAINED
Each win is worth five playoff points, each stage win is worth one playoff point.
The top 10 drivers in regular-season points each earn playoff points for their points position at the end of the regular season: 1st – 15 points, 2nd – 10, 3rd – 8, 4th – 7, 5th – 6, 6th – 5, 7th – 4, 8th – 3, 9th – 2, 10th – 1.
Presumpive playoff seeding after Race No. 11, the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway:
|Playoff Seed||Driver||Playoff Points Total||Base Points||Points Position/Points||Points for Race Wins (5 Pts/Win)||Stage Wins (1 Pt/Win)|
|1||Chase Elliott||2022||2000||15 (1st)||5 (Dover)||2 (Martinsville – Stages 1 & 2)|
|2||William Byron||2021||2000||8 (3rd)||10 (Atlanta and Martinsville)||3 (Talladega – Stage 2, Atlanta – Stage 1, Phoenix – Stage 1)|
|3||Ross Chastain||2016||2000||5 (6th)||10 (COTA)||1 (Las Vegas – Stage 2)|
|4||Ryan Blaney||2014||2000||10 (2nd)||4 (Dover – Stage 2, Richmond – Stage 1, Atlanta – Stage 2, Phoenix – Stage 2)|
|5||Alex Bowman||2012||2000||6 (5th)||5 (Las Vegas)||1 (Las Vegas – Stage 1)|
|6||Kyle Busch||2012||2000||7 (4th)||5 (Bristol Dirt)|
|7||Kyle Larson||2009||2000||3 (8th)||5 (Auto Club)||1 (Bristol Dirt)|
|8||Martin Truex Jr.||2007||2000||4 (7th)||3 (Daytona 500 –Stages 1 & 2, Richmond – Stage 2)|
|9||Denny Hamlin||2007||2000||0 (23rd)||5 (Richmond)||2 (Dover – Stage 1, COTA – Stage 2)|
|10||Chase Briscoe||2006||2000||0 (13th)||5 (Phoenix)||1 (Bristol Dirt)|
|11||Austin Cindric||2005||2000||0 (18th)||5 (Daytona 500)|
|12||Joey Logano||2002||2000||2 (9th)|
|13||Christopher Bell||2001||2000||1 (10th)|
|14||Erik Jones||2000||2000||0 (14th)|
|15||Aric Almirola||2000||2000||0 (11th)|
|16||Kevin Harvick||2000||2000||0 (12th)|
NASCAR Cup Series regular-season points standings after Race No. 11, the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway:
- Chase Elliott 418 (1 win)
- Ryan Blaney 368 (-50 to Elliott; +109 to Austin Dillon for a playoff spot)
- William Byron 353 (2 wins)
- Kyle Busch 353 (1 win)
- Alex Bowman 349 (1 win)
- Ross Chastain 338 (2 wins)
- Martin Truex Jr. 336 (-82; +77)
- Kyle Larson 335 (1 win)
- Joey Logano 316 (+57)
- Christopher Bell 284 (+25)
- Aric Almirola 283 (+24)
- Kevin Harvick 280 (+21)
- Chase Briscoe 270 (1 win)
- Erik Jones 262 (+3)
- Austin Dillon 259 (-3 to Erik Jones for a playoff spot)
- Tyler Reddick 249 (-13)
- Daniel Suarez 241 (-21)
- Austin Cindric 239 (1 win)
- Chris Buescher 230 (-32)
- Kurt Busch 224 (-38)
- Bubba Wallace 214 (-48)
- Justin Haley 209 (-53)
- Denny Hamlin 204 (1 win)
30. Brad Keselowski 150* (-112 to Jones)
—-Must be Top 30 in points to be playoff-eligible with a win—-
31. Harrison Burton 146 (-4 to Keselowski; -116)
32. Cody Ware 91 (-59; -171)
bold denotes driver virtually locked into the playoffs with a win
italics denotes driver currently not locked into the playoffs
* Brad Keselowski had a 100-point penalty after Atlanta. Without the penalty, Keselowski would be 16th in the regular-season points, with 250 points – 12 points behind Erik Jones for a playoff spot.
WHO’S IN? WHO’S OUT?
Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott are virtually locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as each driver has won at least one race. Each driver must stay above 30th in points to get into the playoffs with a win.
Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell and Erik Jones are the non-winner drivers currently locked into the playoffs.
The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the May 8 Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET; TV: FS1; Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Ch.90).
Martin Truex Jr. won both stages and the race last May at Darlington, which garnered him seven playoff points.