WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — One year removed from his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, Chase Elliott pulled it off once again at the same track.
Elliott held off a menacing Martin Truex, Jr. in the final stage to claim the victory at Watkins Glen International, his second of the 2019 season.
“We just stayed mistake free and Martin (Truex Jr.) was a little quicker I felt like those last few runs,” Elliott said. “The track position was key and I didn’t mess up into Turn 1 this time, so that was good.”
Elliott now has five career victories and adds on seven points to his playoff point total after sweeping every stage. He led 80 of the 90 laps on the day.
Elliott had what could be considered a perfect race weekend at Watkins Glen.
The No. 9 team had the fastest practice lap during Saturday practice, won the pole position on Saturday evening, and went on to max out his points at 60 in sweeping the stages.
In Stage 1, fireworks came early when Kyle Busch spun after contact with William Byron while racing in the Top 5.
Busch spun around and kept going, returning to the race still within the Top 10.
By the end of the stage, Busch had caught back up to Byron. Heading into the inner loop, Busch laid his bumper onto Byron, sending the No. 24 car through the bus stop grass.
The caution flew for the end of the first stage, and as Byron caught back up to Busch heading up the esses, the two made contact once again, severely damaging the front nose of Byron’s Camaro.
Byron was trying to send the message back to Busch, but the contact ended up costing Byron a chance at victory.
In the second stage, Elliott was the man to beat again, as he reclaimed the lead from Kyle Larson, on a different strategy, on lap 29. The stage ended under caution as Bubba Wallace spun in to the tires in the inner loop.
There was more drama and implications in the middle of the final stage. Almost simultaneously, tempers began to flare at opposite ends of the track.
In the outer loop, Jimmie Johnson was sent into the outside tire barrier off of the nose of Ryan Blaney. The damage and repair relegated Johnson to limp home to a 19th place finish.
Meanwhile, Wallace and Busch tangled heading down the entirety of the frontstretch. Wallace and Busch traded blows until finally, Wallace turned the No. 18 Camry into the runoff area in Turn 1.
Post race, Johnson met Blaney on pit road, and the two exchanged differing opinions.
On the other side, Wallace spoke to the media about his side, and Busch took off in a golf cart with little to say.
Back to the action, with the spice at a maximum, the tensions began to rise at the laps started ticking away.
During the final restart, Elliott and Truex, Jr. made contact, causing concern for both teams. Both cars would be ok.
Elliott had the clean air advantage, but Truex, Jr. kept the gap close.
Truex, Jr. never relented, but Elliott persevered, claiming his fifth career MENCS victory.
.@ChaseElliott has done it again!
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) August 4, 2019
Kyle Busch now leads the points by 13 over Joey Logano, who had a rough outing at Watkins Glen, finishing 23rd.
The series heads to Michigan for the second time in 2019, where Logano was victorious back in June.
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