Chase Elliott notches win number two at Darlington
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Chase Elliott claimed his second-straight NASCAR Nationwide Series win and his second-career win in only seven series starts on Friday night by passing Elliott Sadler on the last lap of the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
"Just blessed to be here; this is unreal," Elliott said. "I couldn't believe last week, much less here at Darlington."
With the win, Elliott became only the second non-Joe Gibbs Racing driver to win at Darlington in the last nine races. Matt Kenseth was the other, back when he was driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Now with JGR, Kenseth was a part of the Joe Gibbs Racing trio that finished second through fourth behind Elliott, with Kenseth finishing hird and Kyle Busch fourth. Joey Logano finished fifth.
Busch led all but two of the first 33 laps after starting on the pole, with Kevin Harvick leading the other two right after a restart, before Elliott took the lead for the first time on lap 34. In all Busch led a race-high 84 laps in the 147-lap event.
From there, Elliott dominated the middle portion of the race, leading a total of 51 laps until he lost positions on pit road during a lap-88 caution. Busch retook the lead by getting off pit road first, while Elliott restarted the race from the fifth position. Elliott then worked his way up to a battle with Kyle Larson for second, a battle Elliott won with 39 laps to go.
Elliott was still running second to Busch with the seventh and final caution came out with seven laps to go. Again, Elliott lost spots on pit road, restarting sixth. Sadler and Larson each took only two tires to restart the race first and second with two laps remaining.
"We had to take a chance to get track position," Sadler said. "The pit crew on this Sport Clips Toyota was good all night and made the right call."
When the race restarted for the final time, Larson dropped and wound up sixth, while Sadler was able to remain up front, at first. Elliott was able to move into second just before the white flag and then passed Sadler on the final lap.
"That was crazy," Elliott said. "That had to have been fun to watch. It was fun to be a part of."
Harvick finished seventh, Regan Smith was eighth, Trevor Bayne ninth and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-10.