NASCAR Cup Series in Nashville: Chase Elliott wins Ally 400 in race marred by weather issues
LEBANON, Tennessee — Typically, a night out in Nashville is planned well in advance, as the city’s entertainment district attracts country music hopefuls and tourists from all over. Chase Elliott, however, wasn’t exactly planning on being in Nashville late Sunday night until Mother Nature forced them to – but he made the most of it, and now he has a Gibson guitar for his troubles. .
After two lengthy weather delays that forced the second half of the Ally 400 to go Sunday night, Elliott came to life and survived a late-race warning to win at the Nashville Superspeedway for his second victory of the 2022 season. Elliott becomes the fifth repeat winner of the season, and his victory in Nashville marks his second this season on a concrete circuit. Elliott had previously won at Dover Motor Speedway in May.
Elliott had built a comfortable lead on the long green flag final race and looked set for a sure win until Josh Bilicki blew an engine with nine laps to go, setting up a late warning and a finish. frantic. Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson opted to stay away as his nearest competitors came down pit road, which proved to be the right decision on the final four laps to the flag. checkered.
Ally 400 results
- #9 – Chase Elliott
- Chapter 45 – Kurt Busch
- 12 – Ryan Blaney
- #5 – Kyle Larson
- #1 – Ross Chestnut
- #11 – Denny Hamlin
- #2 – Austin Cindric (R)
- #20 – Christopher Bell
- 22- Joey Logano
- #4 – Kevin Harvick
Here’s more of what turned into a long but satisfying day for Elliott.
Get ahead of Gibbs
Track position proved key in Nashville, and the Joe Gibbs Racing cars had plenty of it throughout the first 200 laps. Much of Sunday’s race was controlled by Gibbs Toyotas, as Martin Truex Jr. swept the first two stages while he, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch took turns at the front.
By comparison, it looked like it was going to be a miserable day for Hendrick Motorsports. A quick streak after the first weather delay saw William Byron lose pace and drive to the garage with a steering rack issue, while Alex Bowman spun and crashed into Turn 2 after being spun by Corey Joy. Elliott and Kyle Larson, meanwhile, were fairly quiet during the afternoon hours.
But the night turned out to be the right time for Elliott. After gaining track position by taking cooler tires while other riders stayed away, Elliott knocked down Busch to take the lead in a long race, starting the battle that would eventually decide the race. Elliott finally took control of the race over the final 50 laps, pulling away on the last long run and then hanging on at the finish.
Busch, Truex and Hamlin were all among the cars that came for fresh tires under the latest warning, but the move only paid dividends for Hamlin. While Hamlin used his tires to work his way up to sixth place, Busch and Truex got stuck in traffic and came home 21st and 22nd respectively.
Face the storm
Going into Sunday, Nashville was expected to be one of the most grueling races of the season. Temperatures were in the 90s before the race, and the extreme temperatures took their toll on the riders in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
It turned out that the heat wasn’t a major concern. Most of the afternoon of the race was spent under threatening skies and two major delays occurred. The first came when lightning in the area forced the race to a halt, and the second came when heavy rain and lightning hit the track just before the halfway mark.
By the time the storm ended, the heat had died down and the race was forced to take place at night. At this point, the heat was no longer an issue.
From finish order
- With his 15th career win, Elliott now ties Ernie Irvan for 55th on NASCAR’s all-time winning list. With two more wins, Elliott will move to a tie for 52nd which is currently held between NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner, Marvin Panch and Larson.
- The recovery of the night belonged to Ryan Blaney, as he came back from a spin on lap 205 to finish third. That finish put Blaney third in points, and he now sits 31 points behind Elliott for the lead in the regular season standings.
- With a seventh-place finish, Austin Cindric earned his first top 10 on an oval since winning the Daytona 500, and he also earned op-10 finishes in back-to-back races for the first time in his career. Cindric’s top 10 finish was well deserved, as he had to come back from an unscheduled pitstop that left him a lap down.
- Erik Jones apparently knows how to make things spectacular on pit road. After heavy machinery was pulled out to remove his tire in Kansas, a fire broke out as Jones’ car was refueled, singing the left rear panel of Jones’ car. Jones then finished 11th.
- Bubba Wallace scored his best result since Kansas coming in 12th, but Nashville presented another missed opportunity for Wallace and his crew. Wallace drove from 30th to sixth in the first half of the race, but other pit road errors and untimely caution during green flag stops pushed Wallace back into traffic on several occasions. Wallace stayed out under the final warning, allowing him to recover a result more indicative of where he ran throughout the race.
- After getting kicked off LaJoie’s bumper, Alex Bowman sarcastically joked that LaJoie was a “really good race car driver” on his radio before trading barbs with him on Twitter during the long delay. rain. Ironically, LaJoie ended up proving Bowman’s point: LaJoie scored a 20th-place finish, his first top 20 since Kansas.
- Chris Buescher occasionally raced in the top 10 during the second half of the race, but the final series of green-flag pit stops proved to be his undoing. Buescher’s right rear wheel fell off in Turn 4, prompting a warning and drawing what will be a four-stroke suspension for crew chief Scott Graves and two crew members.
The NASCAR Cup Series moves from the glitz and glamor of Music City to the humble dairy farms of Wisconsin, as the Cup Series heads to Road America for the Kik Trip 250 next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network. The race will also be available to stream on fuboTV (try it for free).