Chase Elliott wins Texas thriller in double-overtime to snap winless streak

Chase Elliott held off the field in a thrilling, wildly popular double-overtime victory in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday evening to earn his first victory in 42 starts — dating back to the 2022 season.

By no means was it an easy win for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion and the sport‘s six-time-defending Most Popular Driver, but that‘s part of what made it so special to the 28-year-old Georgia native. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet prevailed in three late-race restarts — including two in overtime — to claim his first NASCAR Cup Series win on the 1.5-mile Texas high banks and first trophy since a playoff victory at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2022.

“Oh man, it couldn‘t feel any better,” said a smiling Elliott, who did a “reverse” victory lap around the track in homage to the late series champion Alan Kulwicki, whose car was also sponsored by the Hooters restaurant chain that Elliott‘s car carried on Sunday.

MORE: Race results | At-track photos

“Couldn‘t be any more grateful for this journey and the fact it hasn‘t always been fun, but certainly, I have enjoyed working with our guys,” he continued. “We‘ve been working really hard and really well together and that‘s always been fun. We‘ve enjoyed the fight together.”

RFK Racing co-owner/driver Brad Keselowski finished a season-best runner-up in a race that lasted more than three and a half hours and had a track-record 16 caution periods.

On a restart with two laps to go in regulation, Elliott and Denny Hamlin were vying for the lead side-by-side when Hamlin‘s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got loose and into the wall, putting the race into a two-lap overtime shootout. Trackhouse Racing‘s Ross Chastain started alongside Elliott but couldn‘t pass him before another caution came out a lap into overtime, forcing another restart.

On that restart, Elliott got ahead of Chastain again and took the white flag signaling one lap to go, when Chastain was tagged from behind by Hendrick Motorsports‘ William Byron — officially ending the race. Chastain, who led 33 laps on the day, was credited with a 32nd-place finish. Hamlin, who led 37 laps, ended up 30th.

WATCH: Elliott reacts to memorable Texas victory

Elliott conceded the afternoon was a full-on day of drama and high competition. There were 23 lead changes among 13 drivers — seven of whom led double-digit laps.

“It was crazy,” he said. “And I couldn‘t be more proud of our team.”

Chase Elliott celebrates his NASCAR Cup Series win at Texas in Victory Lane.
Chase Elliott celebrates his NASCAR Cup Series win at Texas in Victory Lane.

Byron, a three-race winner this season, was third, followed by 23XI Racing‘s Tyler Reddick and Chastain‘s Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suárez.

“We didn‘t have a ton of speed, I was more frustrated than anything because I feel like we have a great team and we don‘t have the speed to go with it and we‘re doing all we can do to overcome that,” Keselowski said, adding: “So proud of the team for the pit stops, the strategy and the execution [Sunday].”

Differing pit strategies and plenty of pit-road issues played into the late race push to the checkered flag.

With 60 laps remaining, Reddick pulled away to the biggest lead of the race — more than six seconds on the field. But a slow pit stop — trouble with the left-rear tire — forced him into a game of catch-up. His top five was impressive, considering the setback.

Similarly, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., who had led the championship standings earlier this year, was running up front when he had trouble on pit road — forced to make two stops on the final pit cycle to correct a loose wheel. He finished 14th despite the woes.

The day‘s most dominant driver, Hendrick Motorsports‘ Kyle Larson, also had to rally from a setback. He started his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet from the pole position for the third consecutive week and led a race-best 77 of the 276 laps early and won the opening stage, only to have a right-rear tire fall off his car during an early caution period.

He was penalized two laps for the situation per the rulebook and spent much of the remainder of the race trying to make up ground. He got back on the lead lap by the end of Stage 2 and was moving forward when he was caught in an accident with only eight laps remaining.

Larson ultimately finished 21st but holds a 17-point edge over Truex atop the NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Chase Briscoe finished sixth. Richard Childress Racing‘s Austin Dillon earned his best finish of the season with a seventh-place run. 23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace, RCR‘s Kyle Busch and Spire Motorsports rookie Carson Hocevar rounded out the top 10.

Seven-time Cup champion and Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Johnson returned to action Sunday but spun at Lap 50 to bring out the first caution period of Sunday’s race. Some 50 laps later, Christopher Bell lost control of his No. 20 Toyota and backed hard into the outside wall. Alex Bowman and John Hunter Nemechek collided further back when Bowman attempted to slow to avoid Bell’s incident.

A Lap 142 restart pinned Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell on the front row together, and the duo stayed side-by-side all the way to Turn 4. But that’s where McDowell’s race ended. McDowell’s No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford snapped loose through the bumps in Turn 4 and crashed hard into the retaining barrier left-rear corner first, ending McDowell’s day.

The NASCAR Cup Series moves east for next Sunday‘s GEICO 500 at the famed Talladega Superspeedway (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.

NOTE: Post-race technical inspection concluded without issue, confirming Elliott as the race winner. No vehicles will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center.

Contributing: Staff reports