WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen, holding off Martin Truex Jr in a scintillating finish. Bell became the first series driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr.in 1999 to win three straight with a victory last week at Iowa.
Hamlin, Elliott and Erik Jones pitted on lap 17 as teams revealed their strategies while Busch, who dominated the segment, and Truex stayed on track.
Eight times he had finished second during his Cup career. Elliott pulled out to a half-second lead while Truex was fighting to get back to the front after a restart mired him in 12th.
Midway through the segment, the Big 3 of Busch, Truex and Kevin Harvick were running in the top 10, but Elliott dominated in his No. 9 Chevy, beating Busch by 1.3 seconds.
Truex was shooting for his third straight road-course win, but ran out of fuel on the final lap as he was only a few auto lengths behind Elliott, who also ran out of fuel but on the cool down lap. "So thrilled, so emotional, so much relief, you know, working on three years hadn't won one". Elliott hasn't made a NASCAR national series start since the 2012 Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. "I'd come with my dad and now I'm bringing my kids", said Dane Schuster, alongside his sons, Jake and Tyler. Busch pitted the next time around to stay on the same strategy, but Truex stayed out to win his seventh stage of the season. His streak included three wins each at Watkins Glen and Sonoma.
Sunday will be a marathon for NASCAR and the teams because inspection this week was moved to prior to the race. Menard entered the race tied for 16th in points with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who started 23rd. Both Fords were sent to the rear of the 37-car field.
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UP NEXT: Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 12.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was the first auto through the morning inspection process.
Hamlin traversed the 2.45-mile layout at 125.534 miles per hour in qualifying on Saturday, just ahead of series points leader Kyle Busch. Justin Allgaier was third, followed by Justin Haley and Aric Almirola.
The trio was as dominant as always last week at Pocono when Busch and Harvick had to start at the back of the field after their cars failed postqualifying inspection. That gave Elliott the lead, which he held until the end.
Aug 5, 2018; Watkins Glen, NY, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) before the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
JOEY'S SHORT DAY: Joey Logano started on the third row and was gunning for his second Watkins Glen sweep. He won both the Xfinity and Cup races in 2015 and won the Xfinity race on Saturday. In what was the 99th start of his Cup career.