Chase had an uneventful race when the NASCAR Cup Series returned to racing at Darlington Raceway Sunday, May 17th. He finished in fourth place as Kevin Harvick won.
Three days later the “bad luck” began for Chase. He was racing for the lead at the second race at Darlington Raceway Wednesday, May 20th. Kyle Busch misjudged the space behind Chase as he moved up the track. The two cars made contact sending Chase’s car sliding across the track and wrecking against the inside wall at the track. Rain came under the resulting caution ending the race early. The driver Chase was battling with before being wrecked, Denny Hamlin, was declared the winner of the rain shortened race. Chase was relegated to a 38th place finish.
Last Sunday (5/24) Chase was one of the cars to beat in a NASCAR crown jewel race, the Coca-Cola 600, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chase had raced to a fairly comfortable lead in the race. Chase’s teammate spun out with just two laps remaining bringing out a caution and erasing Chase’s lead and sending the race into a green-white-checkered overtime. Chase chose to pit for new tires while several cars behind him chose to stay on track. Brad Keselowski was the race leader on the re-start and was able to hold the lead for the needed two laps to claim the win. Chase was able to race forward to a third place finish in the race. He was then awarded the runner-up finish after Jimmie Johnson’s second place finish was disqualified for failing post-race inspection.
NASCAR Cup Series teams remained at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a second race scheduled for Wednesday, May 27th. Thanks to Tropical Storm Bertha that race was delayed for 24 hours. Last night (5/28) the race began and then was put under a one hour and fourteen minute red flag for rain. When the track was dried, racing resumed. Joey Logano was able to capture the stage one win. Alex Bowman scored the stage two win.
In stage three (the final stage of the race) it appeared Kevin Harvick was the car to beat. Kevin was one of seven divers to lead the race through lap 180 of the 208 lap race. In fact, Kevin led the most laps in the race with 63 laps out front. However, Chase Elliott was able to pass Kevin to take the lead on lap 181. It was the 15th time the lead changed during the race. It would be the last time as well.
Chase held the lead of the race just that one time, but it was for 28 laps to win the race. Denny Hamlin scored the runner-up finish with Ryan Blaney in third place. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth with Kurt Busch rounding out the top five. See the complete results of the race here.
Following the Charlotte Motor Speedway race Thursday night Kevin Harvick remains the leader in the point standings. Joey Logano also holds steady in second place. Chase Elliott’s win moves him up a spot to third pushing Alex Bowman back to fourth. Bard Keselowski remains in fifth place. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The teams have very little time to change their mentality to short track racing. The next race is this Sunday, May 31st at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500.
By: Buck Stevens