To have a chance at getting past Chase Elliott, the rest of the field needed a caution late in Sunday’s (Aug. 16) NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona International Speedway road course.
Even then, eliminating Elliott’s 10-plus second lead coming to a restart didn’t matter.
Elliott won his second points event of the season and third road course event in a row, beating Denny Hamlin by about half a second to the start/finish line ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Chris Buescher in a race delayed for roughly 30 minutes due to a lightning delay.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 16, 2020
Truex’s finish didn’t come without having to persevere. He was penalized for being too fast exiting pit road near the end of the second stage and had to serve his penalty to start the third stage. Even so, he fought his way forward to finish third.
#NASCAR … Denny Hamlin said he, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch – the top 4 starters – got to together before the race & discussed where they would brake entering Turn 1 on the start to "make sure we didn't look like a bunch of dummies" by wrecking.
— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) August 16, 2020
Elliott led the most laps, doing so three times for 34 laps. In fact, he led all but four of the race’s final 44 circuits. He also won the first stage, electing to stay out near the finish of the first segment as other front-runners pitted.
Making history for Hendrick Motorsports. @chaseelliott's big win makes a statement as the organization becomes the first ever to visit victory lane after racing at the @DISupdates Road Course! pic.twitter.com/UKGtbCEAt7
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) August 16, 2020
While it was a strong day all around for Johnson as he seeks to stay in position to get into the playoffs on points alone, it was the exact opposite of a day for Kyle Busch. His season of discontent continued on Sunday. Busch went off the course twice, had to go to the garage for a mechanical issue in the final stage while running second and cut at least one tire down with six laps to go, bringing out the late-race caution. Busch was credited with a 37th-place finish.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) August 16, 2020
Team Penske’s top road course wheelman, Ryan Blaney, ran as high as third in the second stage but ended up 31st. He’s just one of a trio of Cup drivers to win a road course since 2018: Truex and Elliott are the other two.
The NASCAR Cup Series is back on track next weekend for a pair of events on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-23. Both are scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.