What looked like a Stewart-Haas Racing victory parade for much of Sunday afternoon ended in a wild overtime scramble, with Chase Elliott taking the checkered flag in the Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway.
On considerably older tires, Elliott pulled ahead cleared runner-up Denny Hamlin through Turns 1 and 2 after a restart on Lap 403 and powered his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet across the finish line .265 second ahead of Hamlin’s Toyota.
With the victory—his second of the season and the second of his career—Elliott punched his ticket into the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, extricating himself from the bottom four in the postseason standings.
“This was a lot about perseverance,” said Elliott, who recovered from a penalty for an uncontrolled tire incurred during a yellow-flag pit stop on Lap 123. “We had a penalty early and fell behind and luckily had a good enough car and good strategy to get back (to the front). What a day!
The win was a satisfying turnaround from the same race last year, when Elliott had victory in his sights, only to be tracked down and passed by Kyle Busch on the next-to-last lap.
“Definitely think it makes it sweeter, for sure,” Elliott said. “You don’t appreciate it in those moments, but to come back here and have the day we had…
“We get to move on to the next round, and I don’t have to worry about Talladega next week. It’s just a hell of a day.”
The move that won the race was crew chief Alan Gustafson’s decision to keep Elliott on the track with tires that were more than 50 laps old, when most of the other lead-lap cars opted to pit on Lap 393 after Clint Bowyer’s Ford slammed into the Turn 4 wall one lap earlier.
Elliott led the field to a restart on Lap 397, but on the backstretch during that circuit, Aric Almirola nicked the outside wall and started a chain-reaction collision that also damaged the cars of fellow Playoff drivers Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Blaney.
NASCAR red-flagged the race, and Elliott outran Hamlin in an overtime that extended the event four laps beyond its scheduled distance. The only laps Elliott led were the last 11 laps of the race.
The Fraternal Order of The Go Fast
This week we have another instance where the race winner was not the biggest scoring driver of the race. Nevertheless, we have three ladies who were bold enough to pick William Clyde Elliott, Jr. as their winning driver for Dover. Those three ladies who were betting the farm on Chase are Kathy The Church Forecloser, A&M Aggie Sue, as well as Snoopy Dawn. This mismatched trio added a very cool 48 points to their 3rd segment totals!
The Movers and The Shakers
Even though The Church Forecloser, Aggie Sue, and Snoopy selected Chase Elliott to win, they were not the highest scorers of the race. The highest scorers this week was another mismatched trio that was riding shotgun with “Freaky Fast” Kevin Harvick. That threesome includes Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, Jerry The Buschwacker, as well as Zee, aka Sissy. Each one of these players put a big 51 points on the scoring pylon this week.
Scoring the second highest amount at Dover this week is the interesting duo of Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty and Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head. Both of these ladies were putting all their marbles into the marble sack of “Sliced Bread”, Joey Logano. Their support for “Sliced Bread” was rewarded very nicely with 50 crucial points!
As mentioned above, those players who were rooting for Chase actually were the third highest scoring group this week.
Meanwhile, Karen The Highly Opinionated Southern Belle racked up a much needed 41 points from Kyle Busch’s 8th place finish.
Rounding out the top five scorers for the week are Lonna The Quilt Angel and Bobby Blue Crush. Both players were supporting Aric Almirola, and for a while, late in the race, it looked as though it was Almirola’s race to lose. But after getting involved in a late wreck it just was not to be at Dover. Nevertheless, these two added 32 points to their scores this week.
Just like last week, two-thirds of the fantasy league changed positions after the checkered flag waved at Dover. The player who moved the most was Carlton The Doorman. The Doorman had a very bad race plummeting eight (8) spots to sit 14th place.
Having an almost equally disastrous race was Carole, aka Rudy. Rudy dropped like a hot potato seven (7) places to reside in 17th place when the smoke cleared.
Meanwhile, Dan The Numbers Cruncher and A&M Aggie Sue stepped up their game climbing up five (5) positions now sitting in 5th and 6th, respectively.
Still moving a significant number of places, a total of four (4), Linda R. The Lemonade Lefty bettered her previous resting spot and not sits in 13th place.
Lastly, there is a threesome, Amber The Extremely Luck Cheddar Head, Kathy The Church Forecloser, as well as Linda B. The Cookie Mom moved three (3) positions. Both The Cheddar Head and The Church Forecloser climbed up three places to rest in 11th and 15th, respectively. The Cookie Mom didn’t fair nearly so well, dropping three spots to sit in 18th place.
Straight From The Crapper
Once again this week we have a tie for “The Crappiest Picks of The Week”. This award will be shared by Carlton The Doorman and Carole, aka Rudy. Both players were rooting form Mr. Seven-Time, Jimmie Johnson, and were only able to add a microscopic one (1) point to their totals this week!
I would like to announce that we have a new player residing in “The Outhouse” this week! I would like to announce that, however, I will not be able to make that announcement this week because Lona The Quilt Angel remains, once again, firmly entrenched there!
Next week NASCAR will be moving back to the deep South, Talladega Superspeedway!
Just remember that if the house is rockin’, don’t bother knockin’!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR GLOVES UP, FLIP YOUR VISOR DOWN, AND LET’S GO RACIN’!