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NASCAR takeaways: Chase Elliott snaps 42-race winless streak with victory at Texas Motor Speedway

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Chase Elliott snapped a 42-race winless streak in a race where he had to hold off the field on two overtime restarts to capture the victory Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who won the 2020 Cup title and has been voted by the fans as the sport’s most popular driver for the last six years, ended his winless slump in a race that featured 16 cautions, including a couple for drivers wrecking while battling for the lead.

It was Elliott’s first win since October 2022 at Talladega.

“Really, really proud of this,” said Elliott, who failed to qualify for the 2023 playoffs in a year when he missed six races with a broken leg from a snowboarding accident and one because of a suspension.

“Appreciate all the folks back home that have stuck with me and helped us get back on track.”

Takeaways from an afternoon where Brad Keselowski — who saw his winless streak extend to 107 races — finished second, followed by William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez

AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Highlights

Elliott Triumphs

Elliott led the final 17 laps, taking the lead on Lap 260 when he was barely past Denny Hamlin when the caution came out. On the ensuing restart with two laps remaining, Hamlin, on the outside of Elliott, spun and hit the wall, setting up the first of two overtime restarts.

“It was just crazy,” Elliott said. “This place is so sketchy. I haven’t seen a replay of Denny and us. I didn’t feel like I did anything super crazy there any more than anybody’s ever done to me — [I] just had to run forward.

On the final lap of the second overtime, an incident where William Byron turned Ross Chastain battling for second brought out the caution, leaving Elliott as the winner.

“It’s nice to see all the hard work pay off,” Elliott said. “Those guys really deserve to win. They’ve been busting it for a while, have been doing a really good job.”

FINAL LAPS: Chase Elliot earns checkered flag at Texas to win AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400

Wrecks Galore

The Byron-Chastain accident left Chastain upset as the Trackhouse driver declined comment after leaving the infield medical center.

Byron said he didn’t mean to wreck Chastain.

“He blocked me late, which is understood,” Byron said. “It’s racing at the end, but I was already there and unfortunately, we made enough contact to where it got him squirrelly and it happened. I hate that that happened, but it’s the last lap and I had the run, so I am going to just take the run.

“I didn’t expect it, but I don’t want to do that to a fellow Chevy guy, and we always race really well.”

William Byron speaks on the wild finish and making contact with Ross Chastain at Texas Motor Speedway

The other big wrecks didn’t involve contact but just cars getting loose when trying to make passes. Both Hamlin and Michael McDowell had spins when trying to take the lead.

“I knew that the likely scenario I wasn’t going to make it out of the corner with as much speed as I was carrying,” Hamlin said. “I was trying to go for the win.

“So I just got loose and spun out.”

McDowell blamed himself, although the track has some bumps that can upset the bottom of the car.

“I am not mad at the track — It is my fault that I spun, not the track’s fault,” McDowell said. “But for our cars as low as we run them, we should probably think about grinding that a little bit.”

Michael McDowell explains what happened with his accident at Texas

Larson Wheel Falls Off

Kyle Larson started on the pole and led a race-high 77 laps, but his right rear wheel fell off the car under caution on Lap 117. He fell two laps down, rallied back to the lead lap but never had the speed he had earlier in the race.

The single-lug wheels teams use can sometimes appear and feel as if they are tight but aren’t totally tight and can either break the wheel or eventually come off with little warning.

“At first I thought I had a flat – I was heating my tires up swerving back-and-forth, and it was wanting to spin,” Larson said after his 21st-place finish. “In the mirror, I’d seen the wheel go. I wasn’t too concerned. I knew we were going to get back to the lead lap.

“Once we got to the lead lap, I wasn’t that good. … Some days are just not meant to be.”

Kyle Larson explains what he felt when the wheel came off

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.


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