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Road king: Chase Elliott wins at Daytona for third straight on road

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Chase Elliott was already NASCAR royalty. Now he’s additionally the game’s road king.

Elliott received the Cup Series’ first road course race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, holding off hard-charging Denny Hamlin following a late restart and notching his third consecutive victory away from ovals.

“I had a phenomenal car. I don’t think I did anything special today,” Elliott stated.

NASCAR’s hottest driver, the son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, additionally received on road programs at Charlotte and at Watkins Glen final 12 months. He obtained a harder problem than many anticipated down the stretch in his newest roadie.

The 24-year-old driver had a 10-second lead with 10 laps to go and was pulling away when Kyle Busch blew a tire and introduced out a warning that gave his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., an opportunity.

But Elliott stayed out entrance on the ultimate restart. Hamlin obtained to his rear bumper on the final lap, however couldn’t do sufficient to mount any important stress.

“I kept him honest there,” Hamlin stated. “He had such good drive off (the corners) I couldn’t do anything with him.”

Hamlin completed second, adopted by Truex and seven-time collection champion Jimmie Johnson.

Elliott, Hamlin and Truex had the automobiles to beat all afternoon. Truex’s probabilities took an enormous hit close to the tip of the second phase. He was caught dashing on pit road and compelled to start out the final stanza at the again of the pack. Hamlin additionally obtained caught behind slower automobiles early within the last stage.

Making up that sort of floor on a 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course was an almost not possible job, particularly contemplating Elliott was turning mistake-free laps at the entrance of the sector.

But that late warning gave each a shot, albeit an unlikely one given Elliott’s road repertoire.

Another high contender, factors chief Kevin Harvick, obtained rotated whereas braking into the “international horseshoe” and by no means recovered. Harvick completed seventeenth.

Kaz Grala was seventh in his Cup debut. Grala stepped into the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing after Austin Dillon examined constructive for COVID-19. Dillon wants two destructive exams 24 hours aside earlier than being cleared to return.

“This is far beyond my wildest dreams for this event,” Grala stated.

Ryan Newman was nineteenth in his return to the scene of his most harrowing cra-sh.

Newman delivered a particular message to security staff minutes earlier than the race began. Newman spoke over his radio to the management tower, a clip that was later performed through the NBC broadcast.

“Hey everyone, just want to say a big thank you,” Newman stated. “This is a big day for me. I owe a variety of it due to all of the issues that you simply guys did again in February. It’s enabled me to … come again into this racetrack and do what I like.

“Thank you for your support, not only for me personally but all the things you do for all us drivers. It goes a long way, and I want to say thank you from the deepest of my heart. Thank you.”

Newman needed to be lower from his No. 6 Ford after wrecking whereas main the ultimate lap of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.

Newman was one of many few Cup drivers with expertise on Daytona’s road course. He received an IROC race on the format in 2004. Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell additionally had restricted expertise right here.

None of them, although, had pushed this actual course since NASCAR added a chicane coming off the oval’s Turn 4, a tornado designed to sluggish speeds heading towards the start-finish line and create one other potential passing zone.

The Cup drivers, as anticipated, dealt with the chicane higher than these in every other collection. They coated the 65-lape race with few cautions.

“These drivers are really, really good,” Hamlin stated. “They are pros.”

Heat and humidity proved to be larger points. Drivers known as for ice luggage and bottles of water beneath warning. And when the race was purple flagged for close by lightning, drivers welcomed the practically 45-minute break.

Johnson climbed out of his automobile and instantly unzipped his fireplace go well with, exposing an elaborate cooling system over his T-shirt. Michael McDowell began chugging water. Elliott grabbed a towel and wiped away sweat.

All of them headed towards their haulers to chill down.

J.J. Yeley climbed out of his No. 27 a number of laps earlier than the purple flag and collapsed on the pavement. He was helped onto a golf cart and brought to the medical heart for analysis and therapy.

Daniel Suarez had two crew members additionally depart the pits to get therapy.

“When we get out of the car, that feels like air conditioning,” stated Truex, including that NASCAR ought to enable groups to create extra air move by eradicating right-side home windows at road programs.

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