Chase Elliott wins first 2022 Cup race after dominating in Dover

Chase Elliott wins first 2022 Cup race after dominating in Dover

Chase Elliott won the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway on Monday, ending his winless streak in 2022.

Chase Elliott ended a 26-race winless streak on Monday at Dover Motor Speedway, as the 2020 NASCAR champion pulled away down the stretch to win the Cup Series race.

Elliott won his 14th career Cup race and earned Hendrick Motorsports another victory on the mile concrete course, leading the final 53 laps. Elliott was the 22nd Hendrick driver to win at Dover, following teammate Alex Bowman’s victory a year earlier.

Last season, Hendrick swept the first four positions, but four different teams finished in the top four slots in Monday’s race, which was delayed a day due to rain.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second for JTG Daugherty Racing, giving him his first top-five finish of the season. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain finished third, while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell finished fourth.

Kyle Larson came in sixth place as Larson recovered from a flat tyre in the second stage that sent him sliding off Turn 4 and causing damage to the hood.

After leading a race-high 103 laps, Kyle Busch finished seventh. Busch lost track position after being forced to take the wave around on lap 324 due to an unexpected caution caused by a wheel coming off AJ Allmendinger’s car. Busch and Bowman had already pitted and were never able to re-enter the race.

Chris Buescher, who started on pole, finished seventh. Buescher led for the opening 18 laps before the race was postponed till Monday due to weather.

Kevin Harvick came in ninth place, while Erik Jones rounded out the top ten.

Elliott, who is currently leading the points standings, climbed onto the ledge of his No. 9 Chevrolet and gestured to a large audience gathered at Dover for a weekday race.

“We just had some good circumstances, finally, we’ve had some tough races over the last four, five months,” Elliot said.

“This one means a lot in so many different ways. Hope to see this big crowd here next year.”

Martin Truex Jr. spun out on the final lap while battling for a top-five finish after Chastain looked to box him out. After the race, Chastain and Truex made verbal exchanges on pit road.

“We were talking about where we were going to go fishing next week,” Chastain said. “I’m racing with champions and I got beat.”

The kind of day that Stenhouse and JTG Daugherty Racing had on Monday was exactly what they needed. Stenhouse didn’t lead a lap, although he was consistently in the top ten throughout the afternoon, earning points in the second stage by finishing fifth. Stenhouse has collected the most points (41) in a race this season at Dover.

“Man, it’s been a rough start to the season,” Stenhouse said. “Really good to put this all together.”

“My pit crew did a great job keeping us up front all day. This feels good. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum on.”

Stenhouse’s second top-10 finish of the season came at Dover. He came into the weekend with a 31st-place finish in the standings after eight 27th-place finishes and four DNFs.

The race was red-flagged on Sunday, with Kyle Larson and Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports in first and second place. Elliott took control late in the race, giving Hendrick the distinction of having all four drivers win a race this season. Elliott was on his way to victory after three top-10 performances in a row at Martinsville, Bristol dirt, and Talladega.

“Those guys, they’ve been deserving of one for a while,” Elliott said.

“Glad we could get across the line first. We’ll enjoy it for a few days and go to work next week.”

Denny Hamlin took the lead after the first stage but finished 21st overall. Under the caution for the stage break, Hamlin’s left front wheel broke off, sending him to the back of the race. On lap 242, he got it back to fourth place and was running competitive lap times when he was hit by Cody Ware’s skid off Turn 4.

Hamlin dove low to avoid Ware spinning out of the bend and down the track. However, the right rear wheel of Ware’s car caught the right side of Hamlin’s and ripped it apart.

Ryan Blaney, the winner of Stage 2, finished 26th. He’d stayed out under caution to inherit the race lead before pitting at the end of the stage, and he was one of three drivers to pit at the end of the stage.

Larson also spun on the frontstretch and blew his Chevrolet’s front and rear right tyres. A tyre was also lost by AJ Allmendinger.

Dover’s only NASCAR weekend of the season has come to a conclusion. The track used to host two NASCAR weekends a year, but one of them was moved to Nashville Superspeedway last season. In 1969 and 1970, Dover staged one racing weekend, followed by two races every season from 1971 until 2020.

The Cup Series will compete at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on Sunday. Truex is the defending champion of the race. During Darlington’s annual Throwback Weekend, Toyota will commemorate its 1,500th NASCAR race.

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