Chase Elliott answered two questions Friday night by winning the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
The first was when the 19-year-old driver would win again, as the defending Xfinity Series champion earned his first victory since the second since last August, when he won at Chicagoland Speedway 39 long races ago.
“We’ve had a couple of chances an things just didn’t go our way,” Elliott told NBCSN during his fourth-career-visit in the Xfinity Series. The chances included a visit to Michigan International Speedway in June where Kyle Busch, in his first time in an Xfinity race since suffering leg injuries in February at Daytona, powered passed Elliott in the closing laps to earn the win.
But Busch, battling handling issues all night after starting from the pole, couldn’t get to Elliott this time as his No. 9 Chevrolet finessed his way through lapped traffic to seal the deal in the final 25 laps. Elliott credited his pit crew for getting him off pit road first in his final two visits.
“These guys right here won the race right here,” Elliott said. “Phenomenal pit stops. ”
The other question Elliott answered was if an Xfinity regular could end a 22-race streak of Sprint Cup drivers winning at Richmond. He answered by leading once, for the final 83 laps, as Busch was forced to watch Elliott end a streak that began with him in 2004.
“Congratulations to those guys,” Busch said. “They had a really good piece tonight and I think all of the JR Motorsports cars were fast and it’s a shame to come home second. We had to play catch up much of that race but right there at the end we kind of caught up but still not enough.”
HOW CHASE ELLIOTT WON: Elliott’s pit crew got his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet off pit road first in its final two visits Elliott took advantage and grabbed the lead on the final restarts.
WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Brian Scott‘s first Xfinity win didn’t come in his 200th series start. Scott led 63 laps after overtaking Kyle Busch early, but multiple bad restarts kept him from returning to the lead. He finished third … Josh Berry turned heads in his third Xfinity start. Driving the No. 88 for JR Motorsports, Berry consistently ran in the top 10 and could have been a player for the win if not for late cautions, finishing the night in seventh.
WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: The five drivers who piled into each other on the first turn of the first lap: John Wes Townley, Benny Gordon, Jeff Green, Jimmy Weller and David Starr. Starr also brought out the second caution on Lap 19 … Lap 45 saw Virginia native Elliott Sadler lose a tire and hit the outside wall for the fourth caution … The race stayed green until Jeremy Clements blew a tire and hit the outside wall in Turn 2 on Lap 136 … Lap 161 saw Hermie Sadler bring out another caution after spinning on the frontstretch … In his first Xfinity race in a year, Ryan Truex brought out the caution with 34 laps to go after losing a tire and hitting the wall in Turn 3.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I’m going to win one of these things here at Richmond pretty soon, we’re just too good not to.” – Brian Scott after finishing third, failing to earn his first-career win in his 200th Xfinity Series start.
NOTABLE: An Xfinity Series regular had not won at Richmond in 22 races. The last time it was done was Kyle Busch, who finished second … Elliott has finished in the top 10 in all four visits to Richmond.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 at 6 pm ET on NBCSN