WATKINS GLEN, NY – So, what do you do after winning the Pole, Stage 1 and Stage 2 in the Go Bowling 400 at Watkins Glen International? Easy, you back up your 2018 win and do it again, which is exactly what Chase Elliott and his No. 6 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet did on Sunday.
Elliott clearly dominated as he led 80, of 90, laps and survived a closing laps battle with second-place finisher Martin Truex, Jr.. Elliott is only the second driver to lead that many laps here and is the fifth to win back-to-back Cup races at The Glen.
“That was awesome,” said the son of Awesome Bill from Dawsonville Bill Elliott. “What a day, one of the best Camaros I’ve driven and the crew called a great race. Track position was king today and we remained right where we needed.
“I can’t thank all the people who helped me get here. We were perfect on pit stops all day. Sorry I ran out of gas again,” he said to the crowd as he was parked under the starting stand. He did three different burnouts in front of three different sections of fans around the track before running out.
Last year, he ran out of fuel on the cool down lap after winning and had to get a push to Victory Lane from teammate Jimmie Johnson.
Speaking of Johnson, he had a good run going until getting turned around by Ryan Blaney exiting the Carousel mid-race. He rallied to gain back some positions and is tied for 16th with Ryan Newman for the final Playoff cutoff point spot.
The race had its share of excitement as Kyle Busch got into with William Byron in the first stage causing damage to both their cars. Then, Busch got into it with Bubba Wallace going down the fronstretch in Stage 2. Wallace wasn’t having it and turned him around as they entered Turn 1.
There was talk Busch got also got into it with himself after the race, but he left without talking to any media members.
Rounding out the top five after Elliott and Truex was Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney. Of note, the underdog team of Leavine Family Racing and their No. 95 Toyota driven by Matt DiBenedetto finished sixth for their fourth top-10 of 2019.
This coming weekend, the Cup Series heads to the fast track of Michigan International Speedway.
Cindric Wins First Xfinity race, Allmendinger DQ’d
Kyle Busch may have won the pole and led the early stages of the race, but in the end it was Team Penske driver Austin Cindric claiming the checkers. This was his first career-Xfinity Series victory and thus locks him into a Playoff position to contend for the championship.
Cindric, who started second, remained in the top five and top 10 positions while Busch won Stage 1 and led 22 laps. However, a mechanical issue took him out of contention and ended his day early.
This left the battle for the lead to Cindric and road-course ace A.J. Allmendinger. While he led a race-high 24 laps, it was Cindric’s pit strategy that put him in position for victory after leading only eight circuits.
On lap 69, of 82, his crew chief called him to pit road for fuel and four new Goodyear tires. This put him on fresher tires from Allmendinger, whose team elected to stay out and race to the end.
With two to go, Cindric and Allmendinger exchanged paint and positions until Cindric took the lead for good as the two took the white flag. After the race, the No. 10 Chevrolet of Allmendinger was found illegal because the rear end was too low.
Rounding out the top-five finishers was Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Blaney.