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NASCAR Cup: Chase Elliott wins title with Phoenix race win

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and pit crew member celebrate after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 08, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

A week after winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to secure his first championship four berth, Chase Elliott won for the second week in a row at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday in the Season Finale 500 to claim his first NASCAR Cup Series championship.

“I just, man, I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable,” Elliott said. Oh my gosh, we did it. I mean, we did it. That’s all I’ve got to tell you. Unreal. Championship crew chief, Alan Gustafson, is now a NASCAR Cup Series champion and very deserving. I just can’t say enough about our group. I felt like we took some really big strides this year, and last week was a huge one. To come out of that with a win and a shot to come here and have a chance to race is unbelievable.”

The four title contenders finished in the top-four. Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were second and third. Denny Hamlin finished fourth.

“I would have loved to have a late-race yellow, for sure,” Keselowski said. ”I thought we were pretty fast, there, at the end. It’s tough. We got behind, there, with some track position, and I fought really hard to get it back. We didn’t get it all, but got most of it. We were right there with the Discount Tire Ford and just came up one spot short.”

Elliott started the race in the back after his car failed pre-race inspection twice. After cracking the top-10 on lap 27 and racing into the top-three by lap 48, the four championship contenders ran first through fourth most of the race.

Logano started on the front row and led until Elliott passed him on lap 120, including taking a stage-one win on lap 75. Team Penske swept the first two stages, with Keselowski winning stage two at lap 190.

After a lengthy cycle of green-flag pit stops that began before lap 130 and concluded with Elliott reassuming the lead on lap 151, the yellow flag waved for the only caution for an on-track incident on lap 161 when James Davison wrecked.

Elliott and Keselowski traded the lead back and forth in the remaining laps of the second stage before Keselowski took his stage-winning lead on the last lap of the stage.

Keselowski lost positions on pit road multiple times in the race, including his pit stop after the conclusion of the second stage. Elliott was first off pit road and led most of the remaining laps, except for a second cycle of green-flag pit stops with about 50 laps remaining.

Logano was the race leader after the cycle, but with just over 40 laps remaining, Elliott took what would become his race-winning lead.

“Yeah, just waiting on the caution, as always. You know, I saw Joey was pretty loose, there, and felt like I needed to get to him while I could. I knew I’d been kind of tight on a longer run, and he was probably going to get a little better. Just unbelievable. I mean, I just never would have thought that this year would have gone like it has. I mean, NASCAR Cup Series champion. Are you kidding me? Unreal.”

Jimmie Johnson finished fifth. Sixth through 10th were Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway:

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Posted by on November 9, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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