The Chase Is Over: Elliott Ends Winless Streak With Victory in Autotrader Echopark Automotive 400

The wait is finally over for Chase Elliott.

Elliott needed double overtime to finally snap a 42-race winless streak with a popular victory in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 2020 Cup Series champion from Hendrick Motorsports thwarted the challenges of Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in the second green/white checkered attempt for his first win since Talladega on Oct. 2, 2022. It was his first Cup Series victory in 14 starts at Texas Motor Speedway and 19th of his career.

In celebration of winning in the orange Hooters-sponsored No. 9 Chevrolet, Elliott performed a “Polish Victory Lap” on the frontstretch in tribute to the late 1992 Cup champion Alan Kulwicki.

“Oh, man, couldn’t feel any better. First off, thanks to everybody that came out today. You guys are unbelievable,” Elliott said to the crowd. “Hooters has been a partner of ours for a number of years now. It’s been a dream of mine to pay respect to the late Alan Kulwicki. Driving this car to a victory and do a Polish victory lap, just really crazy how things came full circle there in that moment. It was pretty emotional for me. He beat dad (Bill Elliott) back in the day. Here we are sharing his sponsor and having an opportunity to win today.

“So just, man, couldn’t be more grateful for this journey and kind of the path that hasn’t always been fun, but certainly have enjoyed working with our guys. We’ve been working really hard and really well together. Like I said, hasn’t always been fun, but we’ve enjoyed the fight together.”

The stage was set for overtime following a restart with two laps remaining in the scheduled 267-lap race. Elliott had the lead on that opening restart lap, but Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing had closed to his rear bumper in Turn 4. Hamlin then got loose, spun and hit the wall to send the race into overtime with the top four being Elliott, Chastain, RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski and Elliott’s teammate William Byron.

“I haven’t seen a replay of Denny and us,” said Elliott, who posted his third consecutive top-five finish on the season. “I didn’t feel like I did anything super crazy there any more than anybody’s ever done to me. Just had to run forward. I want to look at it. I didn’t feel like I did anything to crash him. I think just the circumstances. But nonetheless, apologies to him if so.”

The two-lap, overtime shootout was short-lived as Harrison Burton and Kaz Grala made contact on the first lap to bring out the caution.

In the second overtime, Elliott had Chastain on his outside again on the restart and they battled evenly through Turns 1 and 2. Chastain got a run on the backstretch that Elliott snuffed with a neat side-drafting move and eventually cleared him exiting Turn 4.

With Elliott out in front on the final lap, Byron got a run on Chastain on the backstretch and contact sent the Trackhouse Racing driver into the wall to bring out a track record-tying 16th caution. Chastain would finish 32nd.

The flag also allowed Elliott to coast to the victory under yellow since he already was past the start/finish line for the final lap. He led three times for 39 laps in a race that was extended to 276 laps.

“I just had a big run,” Byron said of the incident with Chastain. “Ross and I race really well, and I didn’t want to wreck him there, but he blocked me late, which is understood. It’s racing at the end, but I was already there and unfortunately, we made enough contact to where it got him squirrely and it happened. So, I hate that that happened, but it’s the last lap and I had the run, so I am going to just take the run.”

The incident allowed Keselowski to slip by and secure a season-best finish of second while Byron settled for third. Rounding out the top five were 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick in fourth and Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez in fifth.

Click HERE for the full results.

The balance of Texas Motor Speedway’s 2024 major event season also includes Fuel Fest (April 20), the Goodguys Rod & Custom/American Flat Track/Pate Swap Meet tripleheader weekend (April 25-28), C-10 Nationals (May 10-12), LS Fest (May 18), Bandas y Trocas (May 25), Solar Car Challenge (July 11-17), SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff No. 2 (Sept. 14), Goodguys Rod & Custom (Sept. 27-29), American Sprint Car Series (Oct. 4-5), the High Limit Sprint Car Series inaugural season finale (Oct. 11-12) and the Gordy’s Hwy 30 Fest Texas (Oct. 17-20).