Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Truex chasing title as NASCAR’s current king of the road

Getty Images Getty Images
Cary Erickson | 09 August, 2018, 02:47

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen, holding off Martin Truex Jr in a scintillating finish.

A hard-charging Martin Truex Jr. came up a little short, finishing second to first-time victor Chase Elliott in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series road race at Watkins Glen International.

The only two drivers who have won three straight on road courses are Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. This time, Elliott, who had several brushes with Hamlin in the first stage, quickly got past Hamlin and began putting pressure on Busch.

Elliott led Truex by 1.1 seconds with 19 laps left, Jones was third over 10 seconds behind and Busch 18 seconds back in eighth in what turned into a two-car struggle.

Positions 3-10 went to: Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, William Byron, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Rookie Christopher Bell, who leads the points standings and was chasing a record-tying fourth consecutive win, finished ninth in a race on a track he had never raced on.

Elliott could have added that the last three victories for the No. 9 auto have come at Watkins Glen - the previous two by road course ace Marcos Ambrose in 2011 and 2012.

NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, who has not competed in a NASCAR national series event in more than six years, will drive for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series race August 25 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Moments later, Joey Logano slid off course on lap two and dropped to the rear of the field, then headed to the garage with a broken radiator, his day done. "If we're this close on a road course, I know we can do it on an oval, so we'll keep working on it". Busch pitted the next time around to stay on the same strategy, but Truex stayed out to win his seventh stage of the season.

Hurricane John devours Tropical Storm Ileana in the Pacific
Meanwhile, Hurricane Hector is also swirling in the Pacific as an impressively organized Category 4 hurricane. Higher than usual tides will combine with the large surf to cause coastal inundation.

Like Sonoma, Watkins Glen can be unpredictable.

Sunday will be a marathon for NASCAR and the teams because inspection this week was moved to prior to the race. During that pitstop, Busch had a problem, and that allowed #9 Chase Elliott to take back the lead on the restart, and Busch had to restart in 26th.

Busch's shot at the win ended when his team failed to give him a full load of fuel during a yellow flag pit stop with 37 laps to go.

The next race is Sunday Aug. 12 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

"You do what you can do, " said Keselowski, a three-time runner-up at The Glen, "if it takes strategy to win, you play strategy". The first caution of the race came out on lap three as #10 Aric Almirola was sent spinning coming out of turn seven.

But it was hard to escape the feeling that NASCAR views Elliott's win Sunday as a breakthrough of sorts for the sport in addition to one for Elliott.

The triumph comes in Elliott's 99th career race.

JOEY'S SHORT DAY: Joey Logano started on the third row and was gunning for his second Watkins Glen sweep.