El­liott wins as wheels fall off Har­vick’s dou­ble

Autosport (UK) - - WORLD OF SPORT - TIM LUMB

For more than three quar­ters of the NASCAR Cup race at Dover, Kevin Har­vick looked nailed on to win at the venue for the se­cond time this year as Ste­wart-haas Rac­ing dom­i­nated the top four.

In­stead, when the che­quered flag fell it was Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports’

Chase El­liott mov­ing him­self into the round-of-eight stage of the play­offs and cel­e­brat­ing vic­tory.

It was El­liott’s se­cond Cup ca­reer win – the first was two months ago at Watkins Glen – and one that looked highly un­likely un­til the fi­nal laps.

Har­vick dom­i­nated the first stage and lapped more than half of the field af­ter pass­ing pole­sit­ter Kyle Busch on lap 16 of 400. He also fin­ished stage two in first place, al­though he had team-mate Clint Bowyer on his tail.

The Ste­wart-haas Rac­ing Ford Fu­sions cov­ered the top four po­si­tions un­til lap 321, when Har­vick had a loose wheel fol­low­ing a rou­tine pit­stop.

He went a lap down, but re­ceived a free pass on lap 338 from the first un­planned cau­tion and even­tu­ally recovered to fin­ish sixth.

Team-mate Aric Almirola then led the field un­til the penul­ti­mate cau­tion came out with eight laps to go af­ter Bowyer hit the wall.

Along with Penske’s Brad Ke­selowski and Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing’s Martin Truex Jr, El­liott de­cided not to pit so that he could gain track po­si­tion.

While El­liott restarted well,

Almirola hit the back of Ke­selowski, with Truex and Alex Bow­man caught up in the crash. El­liott went on to win the race in over­time from Denny Ham­lin’s Toy­ota Camry.

“This was a lot about per­se­ver­ance,” said El­liott. “We had a penalty early and fell be­hind and luck­ily had a good enough car and good strat­egy to get back [to the front].”

NKP/LAT

El­liott cel­e­brated his vic­tory in smoky style

Pit­stop er­ror de­nied Har­vick Dover dou­ble

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