In what felt like was inevitably going to be the Chase Elliott show, the Road Course King ended up getting shuffled away from the front row and struggling to make his way back up to the front before he was squeezed out of the race. These road course races are coming down to some exciting finishes thanks to pit strategy. It always seems like the class of the field gets into a tight spot when guys stay out.
Christopher Bell was actually biting into Chase Elliott’s lead until a string of cautions bundled everyone up. Bell did a much better job of navigating his way up front and his car was certainly up for the task of chasing down Joey Logano.
Seeing Bell get his first win is a surprise, but not really. We knew he was talented, but JGR development drivers have had such bad luck in recent years that I think everyone was just waiting to see if the same curse would strike Bell. Thankfully, it seems like Bell is going to realize his potential and I think that this could be a multi-win year for Bell. Especially with the Bristol dirt race on the horizon; Bell is best known for his phenomenal first racing ability.
This is also a big win for crew chief Adam Stevens who went through a multitude of issues last year with Kyle Busch. Stevens now leads a driver who might be the future of JGR to his first win.
The race overall was solid. I still am not a fan at all of not qualifying, and NASCAR putting Chase Elliott on the front row led to a predictably boring first half of the race. The shuffling that seems prone to happen with these races did not disappoint. I hope that qualifying returns soon.
-Erik Jones brings Richard Petty Motorsports a 14th place finish which is a great start for this team.
– Bubba Wallace struggled today with a blown tire, speeding, and then brake issues nixing what was looking like a top 15 finish.
-Ryan Blaney dealt with issues all day and was even in 30th at one point mid-way through the race but found a way to finish 15th after the smoke settled.
-Kevin Harvick in typical fashion had a great day and nobody knew about it. Staying quiet but consistently in the top 10.
– The contact between Corey LaJoie and Chase Elliott seemed unintentional on LaJoie’s part; just got caught four wide. Elliott seemed like he returned the favor, but claimed on the radio he didn’t mean to wreck him, but then in the post-race, he made a comment seeming like he was at the least not too worried about hitting because of the previous contact.