Watkins Glen, NY – Leading 80 of the 90 laps in Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott picked up his second win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season and his second win in a row in the event.
Beginning from the pole position, Elliott swept all three stages to pick up the maximum 60 points on the day. He is now just three points behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch for seventh place in the driver standings.
“We had such a bad fast Camaro, and we stayed mistake-free,” Elliott said. “Martin was a little quicker those last two runs, but track position was key.”
The “Martin” he is referring to is, of course, Martin Truex Jr. In a race that looked very reminiscent of last year’s version, Elliott and Truex battled throughout the last quarter of the race and, ultimately, Elliott was able to hold him off once again.
“I tried to do all I could,” Truex said of his attempts to pass the No. 9. “Chase did an excellent job, just not making mistakes, and really all I could do was get to two car lengths.
“Unfortunate, but our Bass Pro Camry was really, really fast today.”
Truex’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was fast all weekend. He finished in the top-seven of both practice sessions and qualified fourth. Thanks to his teammate Kyle Busch’s spin on lap three, he quickly moved up a spot.
After finishing Stage 1 in third, Truex ran second to Elliott in each of the latter two stages. Earning 52 points on the day, he sits just 18 points back of another teammate, Denny Hamlin, for third-place in the standings.
Elliott’s classmate in the 2016 rookie class, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney was the highest-finishing Ford Mustang of the day in fifth-place.
However, he had to ruffle some feathers to get there.
Contact between Blaney and the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson on lap 63 sent Johnson into the tire barrier and cost the seven-time champion valuable points as he lives life on the playoff cutline.
Normally a very cool customer, Johnson was audibly upset post-race.
“I don’t know what the hell the problem is,” Johnson told NBCSN, who aired the race.
“He just drove through me and spun us out and it clearly has big implications on what we’re trying to do for the playoffs right now. Clearly not happy with his actions there.”
Sitting comfortably in tenth place in the standings, Blaney was much more ho-hum about the incident.
“Just racing. He had old tires. They just did gas only and he was pretty slow and I passed 10 guys off the bus stop all day and he hit the third curb pretty bad and it got him out of position and he was up and I had a good run. I was there. He left probably a lane and a quarter or so. I took it.”
Posting an average qualifying time of 70.34 seconds, Blaney did not advance to the second round of qualifying and began the race in 19th.
He worked himself up to ninth by the end of Stage 2 and gained four more spots in the final 50 laps to secure his seventh top-five of 2019. Still searching for his first win of the season, Blaney is seven points back of Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola for ninth in the standings.
True to form, Almirola was solid, but unspectacular on Sunday, finishing 12th.
NASCAR returns to the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, MI and Michigan International Speedway for the Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday, August 11.
SHR’s Kevin Harvick won the 2018 edition, leading 108 of the 400 laps.
Penske’s Joey Logano won the June race at MIS, the FireKeepers Casino 400, in a green-white-checkered finish holding off Kurt Busch.
You can catch the action on NBCSN with Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte beginning at 3:00PM ET.
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