Chase Elliott holds off Martin Truex Jr. for first-career Cup Series win

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/truck/drivers/3311" data-ylk="slk:Chase Elliott">Chase Elliott</a> is a Cup Series winner. (Getty)
Chase Elliott is a Cup Series winner. (Getty)

Finally. Chase Elliott has a Cup Series win.

Elliott held off defending Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. over the race’s final 15 laps to score his first-career Cup Series victory Sunday at Watkins Glen. It comes in his third full-time season of Cup competition and in his 99th career Cup Series start.

Elliott sprinted away from Truex after Truex bobbled in the bus stop on the penultimate lap. But Elliott made a mistake of his own in turn 1 on the final lap and went way wide. That allowed Truex to get to his bumper but Truex ran out of fuel with two turns to go at the seven-turn road course and Ellitt was able to cruise to the win.

Elliott said after the race that his car had started to wheel hop entering turn 1 on the final lap. Wheel hop is when the rear tires lock up on braking and lose traction. The back end of the car vibrates and a driver can easily lose control. Elliott had the presence of mind to prevent that from happening and went wide enough to keep the lead over Truex.

“I started to wheel hop and I knocked it out of gear to not spin out,” Elliott said. “And luckily had a big enough gap to where he couldn’t get me.”

Truex ran out of gas a year after he won at Watkins Glen because of fuel mileage. He stretched his fuel just short of the limit in 2017 and crossed the threshold in 2018.

“I got sideways in the inner loop and got in the grass and lost five car lengths,” Truex said of the next-to-last lap. “That’s how far back I was there. If I hadn’t have slipped there I would have been able to take advantage for sure — got by him. But I still would have run out of gas so he would have won regardless.”

The win means Elliott is locked into NASCAR’s playoffs. He probably would have been there anyway, but he doesn’t have to worry about getting in on points now. It’s also the first win for Hendrick Motorsports since Kasey Kahne won at Indianapolis over a year ago and the 250th win for the team. It’s also the first time a Chevy driver has won a race since Austin Dillon won the season-opening Daytona 500.

And the win probably solidifies his status as NASCAR’s newest most popular driver. Even though he didn’t need much help in that category. Elliott, the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer and 16-time most popular driver Bill Elliott, was set to take over that mantle from the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. And now he’s probably got a few more fans after that win.

Bill Elliott was born in Dawsonville, Georgia. And the Dawsonville Pool Room would sound a siren every time he won. The tradition continued on Sunday with Chase’s first Cup win.

Kyle Busch probably had the best car throughout the race but a problem on his final schedule pit stop of the day ruined his chances for the win. The fuel cans didn’t engage properly and Busch’s fuel tank didn’t get full. So he had to stop again and lose all his track position. He was leading at the time of those pit stops.

Busch somehow drove through the field and finished third.

Here are the full results from Watkins Glen.

1. Chase Elliott
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kyle Busch
4. Daniel Suarez
5. Erik Jones
6. Kyle Larson
7. Jamie McMurray
8. William Byron
9. Kurt Busch
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Alex Bowman
15. AJ Allmendinger
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Brad Keselowski
18. Michael McDowell
19. Ryan Newman
20. Chris Buescher
21. Kasey Kahne
22. Aric Almirola
23. Ty Dillon
24. Parker Kligerman
25. Bubba Wallace
26. David Ragan
27. Austin Dillon
28. Paul Menard
29. Matt Kenseth
30. Jimmie Johnson
31. Landon Cassill
32. Ross Chastain
33. Matt DiBenedetto
34. Cole Whitt
35. Spencer Gallagher
36. Josh Bilicki
37. Joey Logano

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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