LEBANON, Tenn. — In two races postponed by the Lightning, Chase Elliott stole the show from a team of Toyota drivers who showed early dominance.
After a late warning slowed the race in Sunday’s Ally 400, Elliott stayed on the track and led the field to a restart with four laps remaining at the Nashville Superspeedway.
Elliott edged out runner-up Kurt Busch by 0.551 seconds to cross the finish line in his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
In shaping his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, his first in Nashville, and his 15th career victory, Elliott overcame a long pit stop on lap 120, which dropped him to 25th in the running order.
“I’m so proud of our team,” Elliott said. “We had a setback halfway through, but we were able to get the NAPA Chevrolet back on board and re-engaged. It’s been a long, fun day…I’m so proud of our team. We’ve had a really tough month, Half a month. It’s great to be back in the right direction.
“It’s always huge to win. It’s better to do it in a really cool city like Nashville. I’m looking forward to that guitar (trophy).”
Elliott beat three Toyota drivers — pole-place winner Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch — who ran a combined 300 laps of the 1.33-mile concrete track for a total of 250 laps.
More precisely, the Toyota driver beat himself on the 10th pit stop and the final warning on lap 293, the result of Josh Bilicki’s Chevrolet puncture.
While Elliott and Kurt Busch were cautious, Kyle Busch, Truex, and Hamlin all came to the pits with eight other drivers to change their tires. Of the three, only Hamlin improved over the final four laps, finishing sixth behind Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, and Ross Chastain.
Kyle Busch and Truex were stuck on the final lap to go home 21st and 22nd respectively.
Hamlin led 114 of the first 41 laps and the Lightning stopped the race at 1:28. After recovery and two warnings, Truex passed Hamlin on lap 66 and helped at the end of Stage 1.
Truex, who led six times in 82 laps, also won the second stage, but Elliott’s car came to life in the final third of the race. Elliott was one second ahead of Kyle Busch, with Hamlin and Truex trailing third and fourth when Bilicki’s engine failure resulted in a final warning with nine laps left.
Kurt Busch’s only regret about his runner-up finish was not being more aggressive on the final restart.