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Million Dollar Chase: Elliott Rules All-Star Race

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Second-generation NASCAR star Chase Elliott joined his Hall of Fame father, Bill Elliott, as a NASCAR All-Star Race champion Wednesday night on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway.

In the first All-Star Race since 1986 that wasn’t held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the younger Elliott utterly dominated the competition.

He took the point for the first time shortly after the start of the second stage, on lap 62 of 140, and swept the final three stages en route to his first All-Star win.

Elliott’s longtime friend, Ryan Blaney, stayed out at the start of the third stage and led laps 91 through 109. However, once Elliott got to Blaney’s inside on lap 110 and retook control, he never looked back.

The final two stages ran caution-free, including the 15-lap sprint to the finish, and Elliott took the checkered flag in front by .418 seconds for a payday of more than $1.1 million.

It marked the second-career million-dollar payday for the Elliott family, after Bill Elliott won the inaugural Winston Million in 1985, the year before his All-Star triumph.

“I can’t believe it,” said Chase Elliott of winning the All-Star Race. “No better night to have fans back than tonight; y’all are awesome. There’s nothing like Bristol. There’s nothing like the lights here. There’s nothing like racing here. I’ve never won here (before); what a race to do it.”

Chase Elliott became the 25th different driver to win in 36 editions of NASCAR’s All-Star night, while Wednesday marked the ninth All-Star win for team owner Rick Hendrick with four different drivers.

In addition, the Elliotts joined Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as just the second father-son combination to win the NASCAR All-Star Race in its nearly four-decade history.

Kyle Busch, who didn’t play a role at the front of the field for most of the night, looked like his Toyota was shot out of a cannon at the start of the final stage, as he rocketed to third and took second from Blaney two laps after the last restart.

However, though he closed to within two car lengths of Elliott’s bumper, Busch could get no closer and had to settle for second instead of celebrating his second All-Star win in four years.

After pitting for fresh tires before the final stage kicked off, Kevin Harvick raced his way through the field to a third-place finish, followed by Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.

Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano and Alex Bowman were sixth through eighth, respectively, with Aric Almirola coming home ninth as the highest-finishing driver to make the All-Star Race from the NASCAR Open.

Martin Truex Jr. closed the top 10, while four-time All-Star Race winner Jimmie Johnson was never a factor in what was likely his final appearance in the non-points exhibition spectacular. Johnson was 17th.

The only two cautions for incident came on lap eight, when contact from Brad Keselowski sent Kurt Busch spinning in turn two, and lap 57 after Ryan Newman looped his car on the backstretch.

Chase Elliott (9) races Ryan Blaney Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. (HHP/Andrew Coppley photo)

Prior to Wednesday night, Chase Elliott had finished outside the top 10 in four of his last five NASCAR Cup Series races, including three results of 23rd or worse.

A seven-figure payday after a dominant performance soothed the sting of those struggles, however, and was a point of pride for Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports crew.

“I’m just really proud of our team tonight and how we rebounded,” he noted. “We’ve had a really tough couple of weeks … and (I) just felt like we had kind of gotten off base and felt like I was struggling. We just tried to hit the reset button this week, and we came out and put on a great performance with a great car. I just can’t thank all our partners enough, everybody that makes this happen.

“All those No. 9 hats and t-shirts up in the stands – I love to see it.”

And as for what he plans to do with the money, NASCAR’s current Most Popular Driver already had at least a joking idea of that, too.

“Blaney was giving me a hard time about Mountain Dew earlier today, so I think I’m just going to send a truck to his house and have them unload about 14 pallets there and see what he does with that,” Elliott said with a grin.

To view complete race results, advance to the next page.

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