NASCAR’s Cup Series points leader Chase Elliott raced at COTA much like like he has performed all season: steady and consistent, but without much chance for a win. A proven commodity on road courses in his career, Elliott had to scrape together a veteran’s performance en route to his first Top 5 finish of the 2022 season.
It was almost an early exit for Elliott, though, as the points leader found himself in the race’s first real incident when he knocked Kyle Busch around in Turn 12. At the time, Busch was running in 13th place. The spin didn’t end his day early; although he did finish back in 28th place after he collected his car from the gravel.
Elliott took responsibility for the mistake after the race.
“I messed up,” Elliott said. “I got crossed up in the braking zone and hit him. Obviously, we were racing for last and probably weren’t even racing for stage points and I think he knows me better than that. But yeah, that was completely on me … and my fault.”
Chase Elliott is already near the top of NASCAR’s all-time road course wins list
Any antics from Elliott on a road course should be taken with a grain of salt, as he is already tied for third all-time in road wins at just 26-years-old. He also entered Sunday’s COTA race as the defending champion. Despite never leading a single lap yesterday, Elliott was able to capitalize on the late-race theatrics between Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger, and fellow Hendrick driver Alex Bowman; and managed to manufacture a solid fourth-place finish once the checkered flag came out.
Chase Elliott now holds a nice 13 point lead over second-place driver Ryan Blaney in NASCAR’s top series. While the fourth-place finish was Elliott’s best of the year, he is currently leading the points standings because of a league-best four Top 10 finishes this season.
“Yeah, I didn’t really have to do anything,” Elliott said of the closing laps. “They just kind of wrecked and they were out of the way, so I just kind of ran it on the road and I got a free couple of positions. I will take it.”
What happened on the final few laps?
After capturing a victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at COTA, AJ Allmendinger hoped to sweep the weekend with a win in the Cup Series. In the race’s final moments — after several mishaps and nine cautions — the race went into overtime with Ross Chastain leading.
In a wild final lap, Chastain and AJ Allmendinger were battling for first position when Alex Bowman entered the fray, as well. Allmendinger went for the win, but Ross bumped him into Bowman, causing a major spin-out in the race’s final moments.
Allmendinger finished 33rd, and made it clear that he did not appreciate the antics from Ross.
“I mean, at the end of the day, we all gotta look at ourselves in the mirror and be okay with it,” Allmendinger said. “Each person’s different, so… More than anything, I’m proud of Kaulig Racing. The Chevy was so fast, I think if we could have had just a long run, nobody was gonna touch us.”