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Chase Elliott ends drought at rain-delayed Dover

Sportsnaut
Apr 30, 2022; Dover, Delaware, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during qualifying for the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR Cup Series points leader Chase Elliott snapped a career-high 26-race winless streak Monday afternoon by taking the checkered flag at the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway in Delaware.

Resuming the 400-lap race that was interrupted by rain on Sunday, Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet passed Ross Chastain with just over 50 laps to go and finished 2.577 seconds ahead of runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The victory was the first for the Hendrick Motorsports driver since winning at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., last July 4. That was his second win of 2021, both on road courses.

Elliott’s last win on an oval was at Phoenix in the season finale on Nov. 8, 2020, to close out his championship-winning season — a span of 46 races.

Rounding out the top five were Chastain, Christopher Bell and defending Dover winner Alex Bowman in a race marred by 13 caution periods.

When the race restarted Monday after not even reaching the ending of Stage 1 Sunday, leader Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin took turns at the point, but both drivers ran into problems stemming from tire issues.

After seeing Hamlin win Stage 1 but having a loose tire get away during a pit stop, Larson looped his No. 5 Chevrolet as a tire went down, causing minor damage to his car.

Seeking a Cup victory for the third time on his birthday, Kyle Busch took the lead on Lap 212. He held the top spot when Hamlin’s Toyota suffered damage after hitting Cody Ware after the Ford driver spun off Turn 4 shortly before the second stage ended.

Involved in an incident shortly after the race restarted, Ryan Blaney rallied to beat Busch to the Stage 2 win, but Busch’s No. 18 was soon out front again.

With 100 laps left, Busch led Bowman by 1.486 seconds, but Busch lost the lead to Martin Truex Jr. by pitting just before the 11th caution period.

At the field’s rear on the restart, Bowman and Busch eventually bounced back to finish fifth and seventh, respectively.

–Field Level Media