Dover – Chase Elliott pulled away in overtime and earned an automatic berth into the next round of NASCAR playoffs with a win Sunday at Dover International Speedway.
Elliott was the surprise winner in a race that had been dominated by Stewart-Haas Racing drivers. But when a slew of issues took Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer late, Elliott was there in the No. 9 Chevrolet to pounce.
Elliott earned his first career Cup win this season at Watkins Glen and earned a bit of redemption from a tough finish in last fall’s Dover race. Elliott was passed by winner Kyle Busch with two laps left in the race and fell to 0 for 70 in his career.
Now, he has two wins and a Cup championship still in sight.
For most of the race, Kevin Harvick appeared to be in-line to sweep the Cup races at Dover. The driver of the 4 car won the first two stages. As the race neared its conclusion, a flying lug nut knocked the valve stem off Harvick’s left rear tire. It forced Harvick to pit under green and end his chance for the win.
Elliott was greeted in victory lane with a hug from team owner Rick Hendrick and retired star Jeff Gordon also was there to congratulate the winning driver. Elliott’s father, Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, was not at the race.
The top eight drivers after the next two races move on to the next round and Almirola, Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman are the bottom four after the first playoff race in the round of 12.