Chase Elliott makes history in the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235 by winning the series’ first-ever race on the Daytona Road Course at Daytona International Speedway.
Adding a wrinkle to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, NASCAR decided to race at the Daytona Road Course instead of racing at Watkins Glen because of COVID 19 limitations. For the first time, the NASCAR Cup Series raced the infield road course within the superspeedway oval.
The First Stage
Kevin Harvick leads the field to the green flag with all drivers tiptoeing through the first turn into the infield. Denny Hamlin takes the quick pass with Kyle Busch following behind. Busch then takes the lead but locked up the tires heading into the front stretch chicane, forcing him to pit a few laps later for flat spots on his tires.
Hamlin retook the lead but was passed by Martin Truex Jr. on lap ten. Many drivers opted to pit right before the stage ended, including the race leader, Truex Jr. Chase Elliott then took control of the lead and was able to win the first stage.
The Second Stage
Joey Logano takes the green flag to begin the second stage. He did not pit at all and came down pit road after leading a few laps into the second stage.
Martin Truex Jr cycles back into the lead to take control of the stage. Once again, many drivers made their way onto pit road with a few laps left in the stage. Martin Truex Jr. was one of the drivers but was busted for speeding while exiting pit road. Truex Jr. was forced to start at the tail of the field in the third stage. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin cycled into the top spot and wins the second stage.
The Third Stage
Chase Elliott moved back into the lead and absolutely dominated the final stage of the race. After a quick delay due to lightning in the area, the race moved into the longest green-flag run of the afternoon.
The field began to trickle down pit road with about seventeen laps remaining in the race. Elliott came off pit road with an 11-second lead over Denny Hamlin. Chase Elliott had all but won when a late caution came out after Kyle Busch spun around.
On the following restart, Chase jumped out front with Hamlin just behind. Denny Hamlin made a few aggressive moves heading into the chicanes, but it would not be enough. Chase Elliott makes history to win the first-ever race on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The victory is his second points win of the season
Chase Elliott was one of the favorites coming into Sunday’s race and now has three consecutive wins at road courses. For someone with little experience and starting his journey through the NASCAR levels the feat is amazing. He has performed exceptionally well at road courses and now Chase Elliott makes history by winning the inaugural Cup race on the Daytona Road Course. For Elliott to become a factor heading into the playoffs, he will need to regain his speed on the 1.5-mile tracks.
Looking at the playoff schedule, there are four tracks that Elliott could perform well and find a way into the final four at Phoenix. In the first round, the Bristol night race is the cutoff race and a track where Elliott is usually near the front.
In the second round, the Cup Series will race at Talladega where Elliott won earlier this year. Also, the Charlotte Roval where Elliott is the defending race winner from last year.
Then in the third round, is the race at Martinsville which is the cut-off for the final four in their championship run at Phoenix. Chase Elliott fans have this race circled every year, as Elliott had his win ripped away by Denny Hamlin a few years back.
For his championship hopes to line up well for Chase Elliott, he will need to be very fast in the playoff races and hold his own on the intermediate tracks. It will not be easy for Elliott, but when it comes to winning any championship, is it ever easy?