Full Circle: Chase Elliott captures the redemption win at the Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte

If Sunday night’s race was the Coca-Cola 597, Chase Elliott would have been cruising to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway. However, with two laps to go, a caution and the decision to pit took away the win from the 24-year old Dawsonville, GA native. Fast forward to Thursday night, as the laps winded down, Chase Elliott was once again in the lead. Déjà vu began to set in but this time instead of a yellow flag, Elliott picked up the checkered flag in the Alsco Uniforms 500 for his 7th career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Elliott had taken the lead from Kevin Harvick with 28 laps to go. Harvick led 63 of the 208 laps, most of all drivers, and seemingly had the fastest car all night. However, with about 30 laps to go, the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford began to fade and eventually finished in 10th place. Harvick remains the only driver in the Cup Series to finish every race in the Top-10 in 8 races in 2020 and remains the series point leader.

Elliott told media in a post-race teleconference, “I think the race going long played into our favor as compared to what Kevin had to work with.”

It has been a whirlwind of a journey for the Hendrick Motorsports. He may have been holding up the “#1” finger in victory lane Thursday night but 8 days prior, he was showing the other “#1” finger at Kyle Busch after getting wrecked off the nose of the #18 at Darlington. Elliott had been chasing down Denny Hamlin for the win while on much fresher tires, but Busch had “misjudged the gap” and took Elliott out of the race in one swipe.

Then in the very next Cup Series race, Chase Elliott was in perfect position to win the race up until the final caution. Alan Gustafson made the call to pit and the rest of the field reacted by staying out, taking the win away from the #9 team once again.

“At the end of the day, he has to make decisions on the spot,” Elliott said about his crew chief Gustafson, “I feel like we were in a lose-lose position there on Sunday.”

As with any roller coaster of emotions, the ride always lifts after it dives down. Tuesday night, Chase Elliott claimed the Truck Series bounty on Kyle Busch, and lightheartedly stole the bow, bringing the week-long events full circle to an extent. The one thing still missing was a Cup Series trophy and with luck, Elliott found it at Charlotte Thursday night.

“Just had some good fortune and things went our way.” Elliott said.

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Despite being the shortest in number of laps, the first stage took longer than normal, or perfectly normal, for the 2020 season so far. The stage included a wreck on lap one, a competition caution, and an hour long rain delay. Ford beat the Chevrolet’s to the stage end while the Toyota’s were snubbed of any stage points. Joey Logano led the field to the green-and-white checkered flag to mark the end of the stage earning his 12th playoff point of 2020.

Stage 1 Top-10: 22, 12, 21, 4, 88, 47, 3, 1, 9, 17.

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

For the fourth time this season, Alex Bowman won a stage and collected the playoff point that comes along with it. Rookies John Hunter Nemechek and Christopher Bell showed strong runs by also collecting stage points. Kevin Harvick had pitted from the lead during a caution in the middle of the stage, handing the lead over to the 88 of Bowman. Both Harvick and Chase Elliott raced their way back through the pack to finish the stage in the Top-5.

Stage 2 Top-10: 88, 12, 22, 9, 4, 1, 3, 38, 95, 43

The next stop for the NASCAR Cup Series is Bristol, TN just three days away on Sunday, May 31 at 3:30p ET on FS1. Kyle Busch won last year’s spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway and has won 3 of the last 5 Bristol Cup races overall. Due to the Charlotte race being postponed to Thursday night, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol, originally slated for Saturday, has been moved to Monday night.

Full Alsco Uniforms 500 Results:

Pos # Driver Car Laps Status
1 9 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 208 Running
2 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 208 Running
3 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 208 Running
4 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 208 Running
5 1 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 208 Running
6 22 Joey Logano Ford 208 Running
7 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 208 Running
8 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 208 Running
9 19 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 208 Running
10 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 208 Running
11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 208 Running
12 24 William Byron Chevrolet 208 Running
13 38 John Hunter Nemechek # Ford 208 Running
14 8 Tyler Reddick # Chevrolet 208 Running
15 21 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 208 Running
16 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 208 Running
17 6 Ryan Newman Ford 208 Running
18 41 Cole Custer # Ford 208 Running
19 32 Corey LaJoie Ford 208 Running
20 10 Aric Almirola Ford 208 Running
21 95 Christopher Bell # Toyota 208 Running
22 17 Chris Buescher Ford 208 Running
23 42 Matt Kenseth Chevrolet 207 Running
24 37 Ryan Preece Chevrolet 207 Running
25 34 Michael McDowell Ford 207 Running
26 20 Erik Jones Toyota 207 Running
27 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 207 Running
28 96 Daniel Suarez Toyota 207 Running
29 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 207 Running
30 27 Gray Gaulding Ford 206 Running
31 88 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 206 Running
32 00 Quin Houff # Chevrolet 205 Running
33 66 Timmy Hill (i) Toyota 205 Running
34 77 JJ Yeley (i) Chevrolet 204 Running
35 78 BJ McLeod (i) Ford 203 Running
36 7 Josh Bilicki (i) Chevrolet 200 Running
37 43 Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 165 Accident
38 15 Brennan Poole # Chevrolet 86 Accident
39 51 Joey Gase (i) Ford 8 DVP
40 53 Garrett Smithley (i) Chevrolet 0 Accident

Author: Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey (@TomBaileyScoop) grew up in the backyard of Chicagoland Speedway, making a passion for all motorsports inevitable. Tom is entering his first full year of racing coverage in 2020 as the owner and founder of InfieldScoop.com. You can contact him at [email protected]

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