Chase Elliott holds off Martin Truex Jr. for second straight Watkins Glen win
Chase Elliott fended off all advances from Martin Truex Jr. Sunday to win the Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International in dominating fashion.
Elliott successfully defended his 2018 win on the road course, which also saw Elliott go head-to-head with Truex in the closing laps.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver led 80 of 90 laps from the pole and swept every stage of the race as Truex pursued him, beginning with a restart with four laps left in the second stage.
It’s Elliott’s second win of the year following his victory at Talladega.
“That was freaking awesome,” Elliott told NBCSN. “I’ve never been so far from and felt like I was at my house. ... Just stayed mistake free. Martin was a little quicker I felt like those last two runs. But track position was king, and I didn’t mess up into (Turn) 1 this time, so that was good, so just a huge thanks to everybody that makes that happen.”
With the win, Elliott ended a seven-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.
The top five was completed by Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.
Truex has finished in the top two in five of the last six road course races.
“I tried to do all I could,” Truex told NBCSN. “Chase did an excellent job, just not making mistakes, and really all I could do was get to two car lengths, one-and-a-half at the closest in braking, and just try to force a mistake. But he hit his marks. His car was really fast in the key areas that you need to be, leaving a few of the key corners.
“I just couldn’t get a run on him and we just were kind of stuck there.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Elliott
STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Matt DiBenedetto placed sixth for his fourth top 10 of the year. All have come in the last seven races ... Erik Jones has finished in the top five in the last four races ... Denny Hamlin has finished in the top five in the last four races.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: William Byron placed 21st after a series of events between him and Kyle Busch that ended with Byron intentionally ramming the back of Busch’s car during the Stage 1 break and damaging his own car … Bubba Wallace placed 28th after he spun and backed into a tire barrier in Turn 5 with two laps left in the second stage. He then got into a spat with Busch, resulting in him dumping Busch on the frontstretch. Busch finished 11th … Daniel Hemric finished 35th after contact with Ty Dillon caused him to spin and back into a wall in the inner loop with 38 laps to go … Jimmie Johnson placed 19th after contact with Ryan Blaney sent him into the Turn 5 tire barrier.
NOTABLE: Hendrick Motorsports now has eight Watkins Glen wins, the most after breaking a tie with Joe Gibbs Racing.
QUOTE OF THE RACE: “He just drove through me in the Carousel over there. I was trying to hear what he had to say but his lips were quivering so bad he can’t even speak. I guess he’s nervous or scared, maybe both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is. ... He claims it was racing, I can’t wait to go racing. Everybody stay tuned.” - Jimmie Johnson to NBCSN on his wreck with Ryan Blaney.
WHAT’S NEXT: Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway at 3 p.m. ET Aug. 11 on NBCSN.