The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott just captured his first win of the season at the Monster Mile at Dover. The caution came out on the final lap of the DuraMAX Drydene 400 in Delaware, giving the No. 9 Chevy Camaro driver the win for Hendrick Motorsports.
Racing fans can never predict with perfect accuracy who will win from week to week, but the entire sport knew that the Hendrick team would perform at Dover. Not only did the team absolutely dominate last year’s Monster Mile by finishing 1-2-3-4 in order, but three of the team’s drivers started in the top six yesterday.
Winner Chase Elliott began in 4th position, but eventually wrestled the top spot away from TrackHouse Racing’s Ross Chastain during the final restart earlier today. He also held off a late push from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who sat in the bottom third of the Cup Series points standings prior to race at Dover. Ross Chastain unofficially finished in third, Christopher Bell in fourth, and Alex Bowman in fifth.
It’s the 14th career series win for Elliott, and marks his first win since July 4, 2021 at Road America. It’s his first oval win since clinching the Cup Series championship in Phoenix back in November 2020. The victory also increases Elliott’s lead in the points standings through the first 11 races of the season. Prior to the win today, Elliott had scored eight top-10 finishes in 2022 already.
Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones rounded out the top 10.
Chase Elliott won at Dover after a Monday restart due to heavy rain postponed the finish
NASCAR finished the race on Monday after heavy rain hit the track around lap 79, which prevented a restart later in the day.
Racers dealt with more cautions between Sunday and Monday than any Dover race since the spring race in 2017.
Many of the cautions came as a result of new equipment debuting at the Monster Mile this year. NASCAR’s new car is equipped with a different tire type, which wore out over the course of the race. Some teams struggled to find the balance between speed and tire durability during their first visit to Dover of the new year.
AJ Allmendinger’s crew, especially, is likely feeling the heat of tire frustration during the final stage. Kyle Busch and Alex Bowman would have likely duked out the final laps at the front of the field, if not for a blunder from Allmendinger’s crew. Busch and Bowman pitted from first and second with less than 80 laps to go; but then the right front wheel of Allmendinger’s car came off due to bad security from his pit crew.
The caution meant that Busch and Bowman had to restart at the back of the field, and they never made up the ground, though they clawed back admirably to both finish top 10.