There’s always that moment where finally something comes, after so long of trying, and coming so close, that when it finally happens…it’s an overjoy of emotion for everyone.
Just ask the folks in Philadelphia how they felt on February 5 of this year, one day after the Eagles finally got over the hill, and took home the Lombardi Trophy.
Or just ask the Chicago Cubs, after over a century of waiting, finally achieved their World Series.
In NASCAR, getting that first win of one’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup career is a very hard achievement, especially this season with three drivers dominating every week. But, one Erik Jones got it done at Daytona in July. But, the other driver that has been so close, on many occasions, has been Chase Elliott.
For close to three years, he has finished second on many occasions, yielding the saying “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” pretty much his calling card.
It became more of a wait to wonder if that moment would finally happen instead of when, and certainly no one was really thinking that when Watkins Glen was on the docket this weekend. But, there were too many things lined up that put things into perspective. Earlier in the week, his dad, Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, got tabbed to race at Road America in the Xfinity Series, something he’s not done for over a decade.
Add in the fact that Bill not only got his first start in NASCAR on a road course, but also his first win came on a road course, it made it more valuable.
Then, Chase himself this year went away from driving the famed No. 24 of 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Jeff Gordon, and took over driving his dad’s famed No. 9, it just seemed too perfect.
When that moment finally came, everything turned out right, even though he almost gave it away on the final lap, and was holding off the winner of the last two road course events in NASCAR. It has been over two years in the making, and finally when that car crossed the finish line, all that pressure from himself and the team, all the anxiety of being so close on so many occasions, and the wishes for this moment to come at some point, has finally come to fruition. Elliott crossed the line, and heard the entire crowd roar its approval. Sure he ran out of gas on the cool down lap, but because of this moment, his teammate, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, pulled up behind him and gave him the push to the finish line so the crowd could see him climb from the car and celebrate.
Quite possibly the most popular driver among the fans, and one who has become extremely popular among the garage, now has his chance to say he’s the one who beat the best.
Here’s to many more, Chase. You definitely earned this one.
STAGE 1: Martin Truex Jr.
STAGE 2: Chase Elliott
RESULTS: 1-Elliott 2-Truex Jr. 3-Kyle Busch 4-Suarez 5-Jones 6-Larson 7-McMurray 8-Byron 9-Kurt Busch 10-Harvick
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Bowyer 27-Dillon 37-Logano
CAUTIONS: 4 for 11 Laps. Lap Laps: 5-5 (#10 Incident-T7); 22-24 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 42-44 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 55-58 (#32 Stopped on Track).
LEAD CHANGES: 9 among 5 drivers. D. Hamlin 1; Kyle Busch 2-17; M. Truex Jr. 18-21; J. Johnson 22; Kyle Busch 23-26; C. Elliott 27-44; Kyle Busch 45-54; D. Hamlin 55;
Kyle Busch 56; C. Elliott 57-90.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 13 Mins, 44 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 98.928 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 7.56 Seconds
POINTS (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Kyle Busch, 934 ; 2. Harvick, -70 ; 3. Truex Jr, -121 ; 4. Kurt Busch*, -229 ; 5. Bowyer, -231 ; 6. Logano, -243 ; 7. Keselowski*, -264 ; 8. Larson*, -274; 9. Hamlin*, -284 ; 10. Blaney*, -295 .
*Not currently in NASCAR Playoffs. OTHER DRIVERS LOCKED INTO PLAYOFFS: 11. Elliott, -315 ; 13. Jones, -362 ; 21. Dillon, -522 .