RIDGEWAY, Va.— After beating and banging for 250 laps and a late race charge from Johnny Sauter, Chase Elliott was victorious in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 from Martinsville Speedway.
“Obviously, we had a little help with (Bell’s) misfortune, but once we got by him, I thought our truck was a little better than his,” said Elliott to FOX in Victory Lane. “It was just a matter of getting by (Sauter) quickly and doing it decently, in a quick manner. Luckily, we only had to do it once with it staying green until the end.”
This is Elliott’s second victory in 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, his first of 2017.
The first stage was dominated by Chase Elliott. Elliott chose the inside lane to start the race. The caution flew shortly after the green flag fell for oil on the track by the No. 1 car of Bryce Napier. NASCAR did warn Elliott after the initial start about pulling down too soon on restarts. Towards the end of the stage, Johnny Sauter was catching Elliott while they were in lapped traffic. Elliott went on to win the stage, Sauter finished second, Matt Crafton finished third, Christopher Bell finished fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five in the first stage. The caution flew twice in this stage for eight laps.
Elliott lost that lead as the field went down pit road between the start of the second stage. Bell took two tires on pit-road to gain the lead.
When the second stage began, Sauter was able to pass Bell to dominate the stage. On the first restart in this stage, Sauter chose the inside lane, but Bell tried to push him down. However, Sauter was able to hash the lead. The complexion of the stage changed as drivers like Elliott and Bell hit pit toad with 12 laps remaining in the stage. The stage ended under the caution due to Elliott dumping Ross Chastain on lap 137. Sauter went on to win the stage, Crafton finished second, Chase Briscoe was third, Timothy Peters was fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage. The caution flew five times in the stage for 38 laps.
As the leaders pitted between the stages, Bell moved up to the first position, Elliott was second, Brett Moffit was third, Enfinger,and Joe Nemechek were the top-five on the restart to begin the final stage.
Bell was the dominate car in the final stage, but late-race aggression and lapped traffic cost him the victory. As the stage was in the final 50 laps, Bell, Elliott, Sauter, and Noah Gragson were within a second of each other battling for the lead. As they progressed through the field, lapped traffic began to separate the drivers. As Bell reached Austin Cindric, Cindric attempted to stay on the lead lap. Bell was frustrated with Cindric and dumped him in the first turn. However, with the move to dump Cindric, Bell lost the lead to Elliott. As the race restarted with 12 laps remain, Elliott throw a successful block on Sauter to go on and score the victory at Martinsville.
Sauter finished second, Bell finished third, Gragson finished fourth, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.
The race ran for two hours, one minute, and 38 seconds. The average speed of the race was 64.867 mph.
The next race for the drivers will be at Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 on May 12th at 8:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.