Chase Elliott claims second NASCAR Cup Series win of season in Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway

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LEBANON, Tenn. — Chase Elliott bounced back from a disappointing finish in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 by winning the second annual race Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway.

Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion and four-time most popular driver, finished 13th in last year's Ally 400 before being disqualified in a post-race inspection for having loose lug nuts.

On Sunday, Elliott took the lead from Kyle Busch on lap 264 of 300 and held on for his second win of the 2022 season.

"The biggest thing was we really struggled here last year, so to be able to come back and be as competitive as we were in the second half of the race, I am the most proud of that piece of the puzzle," Elliott said. "Just to kind of reset and be able to reevaluate and get back on track out here."

The race was delayed twice by weather, the second time for more than two hours because of lightning and rain. The race finished after 11 p.m. local time.

"The (delay) wasn't too bad; we've gotten kind of used to that since they implemented the lightning thing a few years ago," Elliott said.

Elliott waited until after the delay to make his push after struggling early. He passed three cars during a restart after the delay to get in the top 10, which got him into position to close in on Busch, who had taken the lead at lap 194.

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"We were super optimistic coming in. We had a pretty good car in practice Friday and then in qualifying Saturday," crew chief Alan Gustafson said. "Then we didn't start the race very good. We had a lot of work to do and started to work on the car. From there it was a tale of two races for us. When Chase passed that many cars after the restart, I said, 'OK, we've got a chance to be in the ballpark in this thing.' "

Elliott, who led 42 laps, won in May at Dover, which like Nashville Superspeedway is a concrete track. He overcame Ross Chastain on a restart with 53 laps to go in that race.

Elliott has been critical of the concrete surface in the past, claiming it often lacks the opportunity for much side-by-side racing. He once tweeted the race at the Nashville Superspeedway would be a "snooze fest."

Chase Elliott celebrates his win the Nashville Superspeedway.
Chase Elliott celebrates his win the Nashville Superspeedway.

He changed his tone a bit after Sunday's victory.

"I didn't think the race was terrible tonight," Elliott said. "At least we could get up off the bottom and move around, which I thought was encouraging. I was even more surprised that we still moved up after the sun went down. I thought at that point it was going to be really one lane and it really wasn't. You could still be in at least a couple different lanes. It was way more racy than I thought it would be."

It was the 15th career win for the Dawsonville, Georgia, native who leads the NASCAR points standings and got his start racing at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway where his father Bill raced in the 1970s and 80s.

"I wish we were at the Fairgrounds for the record," Elliott said. "I'm glad we're at least in the market and this is a cool town, it's a great place to be, it's a great place to race. It's a town that I think embraces us and we embrace the people that were here. I mean they stuck it out. The crowd was still pretty good, I thought, for it to be 11 o'clock at night and having started this thing six or seven hours ago."

Kurt Busch finished second, Ryan Blaney was third, 2021 winner Kyle Larson was fourth and Chastian was fifth. Denny Hamlin, who started on the pole and won the first two stages, finished sixth.

Kyle Busch finished 21st.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: NASCAR Cup Series: Chase Elliott wins Ally 400 at Nashville