Elliott wins All-Star race in the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway in a rare mid-week event on July 15th – the first All-Star event at the Tennessee track.
The sport’s reigning Most Popular Driver, Chase Elliott earned his first NASCAR All-Star Race win Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway – holding off the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch in the closing laps.
Elliott was able to lead 60 of the 140 laps en route to a $1.1 million paycheck. He and his father Bill Elliott join the father and son combination of Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the sport’s midseason All-Star exhibition event. Interestingly, Bill Elliott won the race when it was held in Atlanta, and Chase Elliott’s victory at the half-mile Bristol, Tennessee. short-track remain as the only two times the event was held at a track other than Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet took a convincing lead at times in the second half of Wednesday night’s 140-lap event, but ultimately he had to hold off a hard-charging Busch who is still looking to hoist his first race trophy of the 2020 season. The winning difference between them was a mere 0.418-seconds.
The season’s point standings leader Kevin Harvick finished third, followed by Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and 2020 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. Ryan Blaney, who led a race-best 72 laps, finished sixth. His Penske teammate Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-ten.
Most Popular Driver gets Popular All-Star Victory
Elliott’s win was hugely popular even to the limited number of fans who were allowed to attend the race in person, and they celebrated by showering the 24-year old with cheers.
“Oh my gosh, there’s no feeling like it, nothing like it,” a smiling Elliott said after climbing of his Chevrolet. “Bristol is an electric atmosphere unlike any place we go to. We’re going to celebrate this one for sure.”
“There’s nothing like Bristol. There’s nothing like the lights here. There’s nothing like racing here. I’ve never won here – what a race to do it. Just really proud of our team tonight and rebounding. We’ve had a really tough couple of weeks and just felt like we had kind of gotten off base and I felt like I was struggling.
“Just tried to hit the reset button this week, and came out and put on a great performance – great car. Just can’t thank all our partners enough, everybody that makes this happen. All those No. 9 hats and t-shirts up in the stands – love to see it.”
NASCAR Implements Changes
NASCAR tried a couple of innovative and seemingly well-received ideas at the non-points race, including fitting the cars with lights that provided an under-glow and also a new format for re-starts that allowed drivers to pick whichever lane they preferred – outside or inside.
Ultimately, however, the race still came down to just old-fashioned horsepower and age-old strategy among the 20 drivers who earned positions in the race.
“We’re trying hard and we’re running okay, but it seemed like we were mired in tenth place for much of that race tonight and the last couple of adjustments really helped us,” Busch said. “Adam (Stevens) did a great job helping the car and making it better.
“I got a good restart and went from 12th all the way up to fifth [in the final 15-lap stage] so that was a huge bonus for us getting that track position. Overall, just got to keep fighting. I think that’s like four, five six second places this year, what do you do? You just have to keep going.”
The All-Star Open Stage Winners
Almirola’s ninth-place finish was the best among those drivers who qualified for the NASCAR All-Star Race by winning a stage in the NASCAR All-Star Open at the track earlier Wednesday. William Byron also advanced with a stage win in the Open, and Matt DiBenedetto took home the checkered flag in the NASCAR All-Star Open – his first time winning the non-points paying event. Clint Bowyer earned a position on the grid by winning the Fan Vote.
The NASCAR Cup Series resumes its regular season on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. The coverage begins for the event at 2 pm. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR Cup Series Race – NASCAR All-Star Race
Bristol Motor Speedway
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
1. (13) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 140.
2. (10) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 140.
3. (5) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 140.
4. (9) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 140.
5. (15) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 140.
6. (3) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 140.
7. (12) Joey Logano, Ford, 140.
8. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 140.
9. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 140.
10. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 140.
11. (16) Erik Jones, Toyota, 140.
12. (18) William Byron, Chevrolet, 140.
13. (19) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 140.
14. (4) Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, 140.
15. (20) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 140.
16. (8) Cole Custer #, Ford, 140.
17. (14) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 140.
18. (6) Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 140.
19. (11) Ryan Newman, Ford, 140.
20. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 140.
The All-Star Race Stats
Average Speed of Race Winner: 65.68 mph.
Time of Race: One Hr, Eight Mins, Ten Secs. The Margin of Victory: 0.418 Seconds.
Caution Flags: Five for 13 laps.
Lead Changes: Six among four drivers.
Lap Leaders: M. Truex Jr. 0;A. Bowman 1-2;R. Blaney 3-55;K. Harvick 56-61;C. Elliott 62-90;R. Blaney 91-109;C. Elliott 110-140.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ryan Blaney two times for 72 laps; Chase Elliott two times for 60 laps; Kevin Harvick one time for six laps; Alex Bowman one time for two laps.
Stage 1 Top-Ten: 12,4,9,88,20,10,22,2,18,6
Stage 2 Top-Ten: 9,4,12,2,88,14,11,22,10,18
Stage 3 Top-Ten: 9,12,2,18,4,11,20,22,88,14
NASCAR Cup Series Race – NASCAR All-Star Open
Bristol Motor Speedway
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
1. (10) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 85.
2. (9) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 85.
3. (11) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 85.
4. (8) Chris Buescher, Ford, 85.
5. (20) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 85.
6. (4) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 85.
7. (1) Michael McDowell, Ford, 85.
8. (19) John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 85.
9. (21) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 85.
10. (5) Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 85.
11. (3) Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 85.
12. (18) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 85.
13. (12) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 85.
14. (13) JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 85.
15. (15) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 85.
16. (14) Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 85.
17. (16) Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 83.
18. (17) Joey Gase(i), Ford, Handling, 76.
19. (7) William Byron, Chevrolet, Stage 2 Winner, 70.
20. (2) Aric Almirola, Ford, Stage 1 Winner, 35.
21. (6) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Accident, 17.
The All-Star Open Stats
Average Speed of Race Winner: 57.388 mph.
Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 47 Mins, 22 Secs. The Margin of Victory: 0.789 Seconds.
Caution Flags: Four for 18 laps.
Lead Changes: Three among four drivers.
Lap Leaders: M. McDowell 1-10;A. Almirola 11-35;W. Byron 36-70;M. DiBenedetto 71-85.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): William Byron one time for 35 laps; Aric Almirola one time for 25 laps; Matt DiBenedetto one time for 15 laps; Michael McDowell one time for ten laps.
Stage 1 Top-Ten: 10,24,13,47,17,14,32,96,21,3
Stage 2 Top-Ten: 32,8,15,27,53,24,21,3,14,95
2020 Fan Vote Winner: Clint Bowyer