Elliott claims first All-Star victory in the NASCAR Cup Series exhibition event on Wednesday, July 15th at Bristol Motor Speedway.
For the second time in thirty-two years, the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race moved the venue to a different track. The first switch happened in 1986 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The All-Star event, typically at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was moved to Bristol Motor Speedway this season.
The NASCAR All-Star race has an entertaining format with a $1 million prize that is sought after by all Cup Series drivers. The rare mid-week event kicks off with the All-Star open an earlier showdown race to fill in the final four spots of the All-Star Race lineup. The All-Star exhibition is a 140-lap race where the winner claims victory and a million dollars.
The All-Star Open is a short 85-lap showdown with three stages. The winner of each stage advances to the All-Star Race with the fourth driver to advance decided by a fan vote. Wednesday night’s stage winners were Aric Almirola, William Byron, and Matt DiBenedetto. Clint Bowyer claimed the most votes from the fans.
The All-Star Race is four stages, with the final stage a fifteen lap shoot out.
The First Stage
Alex Bowman brought the field to the green flag, but it was Ryan Blaney jumping out to the early lead. Blaney was followed closely by Kevin Harvick, and both drivers pulled away from the field. Harvick was not able to make a move for the lead, and Ryan Blaney drove away to win the first stage.
The Second Stage
Kevin Harvick wins the race off pit road and jumps to the lead to begin the second stage. An early caution occurs after Ryan Newman’s No. 6 car spins on the front stretch. On the following restart, Chase Elliott makes a move on the high side to pass Harvick for the lead. Chase Elliott goes unbothered the rest of the way to win the second stage.
The Third Stage
Chase Elliott moves through the third segment unscathed to win the third stage of the event. All the remains in the event is the 15-lap shootout to finish off the night.
The Fourth Stage
Elliott takes the lead to start the last stage with Kyle Busch in pursuit. Busch was unable to challenge for the lead, and for the first time in his Cup Series career, Chase Elliott wins the only NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Drivers winning their first All-Star event is similar to winning the first race of their career. Even though the exhibition is a non-points paying event, drivers aggressively chase the $1 million prize that comes with winning. Chase Elliott was in a position to win when the Cup Series was in Bristol a month ago and came up short. Coming into this race, Elliott was one of the favorites to win, and he sealed the deal. After taking control of the race in the second stage, Elliott never looked back.