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Chase Elliott Snaps 42-Race Winless Streak with Victory at Texas Motor Speedway

Photo by Tim Parks, HHP for Chevy Racing

After facing a great deal of adversity in the last 18 months, Chase Elliott has returned to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series, capturing the victory in Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

In doing so, the Dawsonville, Georgia-native earned his 19th victory at NASCAR’s top-level, snapping a 42-race winless streak that dates back to October 2022 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Elliott led the field for 39 circuits around the 1.5-mile facility on Sunday, the second-most behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson. Starting outside the top-20, it took a major swing early in the race by Alan Gustafson – keeping the No. 9 Chevrolet on the racetrack hoping for a caution – to get some much-needed track position.

That move kept the 28-year-old driver in the game all afternoon, although the Hooters Chevrolet would take a backseat to the chaos that unfolded in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday until the very end of the race, when Elliott made a three-wide move on Tyler Reddick and Denny Hamlin to get the top spot with 42 laps remaining.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver eventually got back around the No. 9 Chevrolet, but the battle wasn’t completly over, when Elliott returned to the race-lead with less than 10 laps remaining in regulation. Though, once he gained control of the race, the cautions started to fly, and thus came restart after restart including a pair of NASCAR Overtime shootouts.

Initially, it was Denny Hamlin that Elliott had to fight for the victory, until the driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry XSE crashed from the outside lane on a restart, then it was Ross Chastain who became his biggest challenger.

On the final restart of the race, Elliott was able to gap Ross Chastain coming to the white flag, and secured the victory once the Trackhouse Racing driver got spun around at the exit of Turn 2 by William Byron, who was closing quickly on the inside lane.

“It was just crazy,” Elliott said about Sunday’s race. “This place is so sketchy. I haven’t seen a replay of Denny [Hamlin] and us. I didn’t feel like I did anything super crazy there any more than anybody’s ever done to me. Just had to run forward. I want to look at it. I didn’t feel like I did anything to crash him. I think just the circumstances. But nonetheless, apologies to him if so.”

The victory also snaps a long winless streak for primary sponsor Hooters in the NASCAR Cup Series, one that dates back to June 14th, 1992 at Pocono Raceway, when Alan Kulwicki won the 1992 Champion Spark Plug 500 — more than three years before Elliott was born.

“Hooters has been a partner of ours for a number of years now,” Elliott said post-race. “It’s been a dream of mine to pay respect to the late Alan Kulwicki. Driving this car to a victory and do a Polish victory lap, just really crazy how things came full circle there in that moment. It was pretty emotional for me. He beat dad back in the day. Here we are sharing his sponsor and having an opportunity to win today.”

After a dismal start to the afternoon, Brad Keselowski was credited with a runner-up finish, after his No. 6 BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang came to life on fresh tires in the race’s closing stages. William Byron, who turned Ross Chastain battling for second on the final lap, was credited with a third-place run.

Tyler Reddick finished fourth, while Atlanta winner Daniel Suarez was credited with a fifth-place finish in his No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro. Chase Briscoe earned a much-needed sixth-place run for Stewart-Haas Racing, while Bubba Wallace came home in seventh.

Richard Childress Racing placed both of its entries inside the top-10 for the first time since last July at Richmond Raceway, with Austin Dillon coming home in eighth-place and Kyle Busch finishing ninth, despite being in a backup car following a wreck in practice on Saturday.

Rookie of The Year contender Carson Hocevar scored his first-ever top-10 result in the NASCAR Cup Series driving the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports, finishing 10th.

Kyle Larson led a race-high 77 laps in Sunday’s 400-miler from Texas Motor Speedway, but faced a major setback in the middle portion of the event when his right-rear tire came detached from the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro. That resulted in a two-lap penalty, and slight damage, both of which impacted the driver’s chances of dominating the afternoon.

Despite a finish of 21st-place, Larson maintains the points lead in the NASCAR Cup Series over Martin Truex, Jr. who still sits 17 points behind the leader. Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and William Byron round out the top-five in point standings.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Talladega Superspeedway, where the field is guaranteed to look just as jumbled up as it did at times throughout Sunday’s race at Texas. Coverage of that event will be on FOX.

Race Results: NCS Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway

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