Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott resited pressure from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr to clinch a second NASCAR Cup win of 2019 at Watkins Glen.
Polesitter Elliott led 81 of 90 laps and swept the stages at the venue at which he claimed his maiden Cup victory last season.
But Truex posed a significant threat throughout the final stage as the two dominated, consistently lapping a second faster than the rest of the field.
A restart in the final part of the race offer Truex his best opportunity to pass Elliott’s Chevrolet. The two banged wheels approaching Turn 1 and through the Esses, escaping serious damage despite Elliott’s initial fears of a deflating left-rear tyre.
Truex was within striking distance of Elliott entering the final laps but was unable to make an overtake and, setting for second, secured his fifth top-two finish from the last six road-course races.
Having started the race in third, Kyle Busch was eliminated from contention early on after tangling with front-row starter William Byron while battling for second at Turn 1.
Busch spun and slipped back to 10th and, after coming across Hendrick Motorsports’ Byron later in the stage, Busch pushed the Chevrolet driver onto the grass at Turn 5.
Byron retaliated by ramming Busch during the stage-ending caution period, causing significant damage to the front of his Chevrolet.
In stage three, and while recovering from a pitlane speeding penalty, Busch made door-to-door contact with Darrell Wallace Jr as the two tussled on the pit straight. After several bites of contact, Wallace spun Busch at Turn 1 to trigger the final caution of the race.
Busch restarted the race in 29th, but recovered to 11th at the finish.
His JGR team-mates Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones ended up third and fourth, with Jones climbing from 14th on the grid to secure his fourth consecutive top-four finish to elevate himself 54 points clear of the playoff cut with four regular-season races remaining.
For the second race in a row, Ryan Blaney started from the rear of the field due to unapproved pre-race adjustments.
He recovered to finish fifth despite tangling with his team-mate Joey Logano as the two battled through Turn 5 early on, as well as pitching Jimmie Johnson into a spin at the Carousel in the final stage.
Johnson trailed home in 19th and ended the race level on points with Ryan Newman – the two either side of the playoff cut line.
Newman was running in 15th when he picked up a puncture and subsequent pitlane penalty for entering too many pitboxes, finishing in 25th.
Matt DiBenedetto passed Kevin Harvick late on to grab sixth place, and the fourth top-10 finish in the last seven races for the Leavine Family Racing team.
Kyle Larson briefly led the race in the second stage after being the last car to make his first pitstop. His alternative strategy propelled him to eighth.
|1||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|2||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|3||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|4||Erik Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|5||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|6||Matt DiBenedetto||Leavine Family Racing||Toyota||90|
|7||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|8||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|9||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|10||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|11||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||90|
|12||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|13||Chris Buescher||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|14||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|15||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||90|
|16||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||90|
|17||Daniel Suarez||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|18||Paul Menard||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||90|
|19||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|20||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||90|
|21||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|22||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||90|
|23||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||90|
|24||Matt Tifft||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||90|
|25||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||90|
|26||Parker Kligerman||Gaunt Brothers Racing||Toyota||90|
|27||Ross Chastain||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|28||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||90|
|29||Landon Cassill||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||90|
|30||Ty Dillon||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|31||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|32||Josh Bilicki||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|33||Cody Ware||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet||89|
|34||Corey LaJoie||Go FAS Racing||Ford||85|
|35||Daniel Hemric||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||84|
|36||Ryan Preece||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||72|
|37||Reed Sorenson||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||65|