NASCAR: Chase Elliott wins rain-delayed race at Dover

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Chase Elliott led the final 53 laps on the way to his first win of the season at Dover on Monday.

Elliott took the lead from Ross Chastain on the race's final restart and drove away to become the fourth Hendrick Motorsports driver to win in the first 11 races of the season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second. Chastain and Martin Truex Jr. made contact while racing for third on the final lap. Chastain moved up ahead of Truex as they exited Turn 2 and Truex got loose and spun into the inside wall. Chastain finished third, while Truex ended up finishing 12th.

The race was finished on Monday after the first 78 laps were run as scheduled on Sunday afternoon before rain hit the track and prevented the race from being restarted later in the day.

The win is Elliott’s first since he won at Road America on July 4 and snaps a 26-race winless drought. It’s the longest stretch of races Elliott had gone between wins in the Cup Series after starting his career without a win in his first 98 races.

It's also Elliott's first victory on an oval since he won at Phoenix in the final race of the 2020 season to win the championship. The victory also strengthens Elliott's hold on the points lead through the first 11 races of the season after he's scored eight top-10 finishes.

DOVER, DE - MAY 01: Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) races during the DuraMAX Drydene 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on May 1, 2022, at Dover Motor Speedway in Dover DE. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DOVER, DE - MAY 01: Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) races during the DuraMAX Drydene 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on May 1, 2022, at Dover Motor Speedway in Dover DE. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Busch and Bowman hurt by loose wheel

Kyle Busch and Alex Bowman were in control of the race in the final stage before they were victims of an ill-timed pit road mistake by AJ Allmendinger’s crew. Busch and Bowman pitted from first and second with less than 80 laps to go right before the right front wheel of Allmendinger’s car came off after it wasn’t fastened securely on his pit stop.

The caution meant that Busch and Bowman lost a lap while on pit road and had to restart at the back of the field. They never were able to totally make up their loss of track position. Bowman finished fifth, while Busch finished seventh.

14 cautions

The race had more cautions than any Dover race since there were 15 cautions in the 2017 spring race at the track.

The race was the first for NASCAR’s new car at the track and the car was equipped with a different tire type. Those tires wore out over the course of a run and some teams struggled to find the balance between speed and tire durability.

Drivers like Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin were all involved in cautions. Larson spun on Lap 155 off Turn 4 and Logano hit the wall on Lap 195 of the 400-lap race. Hamlin was collected in Cody Ware’s spin on Lap 241 after he had lost his track position early in the race. Hamlin pitted from the lead during the first stage caution but the left front wheel on his car wasn’t fully attached on his pit stop and it came off as he left pit road.

The combination of tire and new car along with the myriad cautions made for an entertaining and unpredictable race. Those had been a rarity at Dover in recent years. Racing at Dover had become boring and staid over the past five seasons. Monday’s resumed race was a refreshing departure from what had become the norm.

Fox’s poor coverage continues

Fox’s race broadcast missed a lot of the action as it happened. The broadcast missed numerous wrecks as they happened as viewers were left to wonder what was going on after incidents were called out by the broadcast team of Mike Joy, Clint Bowyer and Larry McReynolds.

Over 40 seconds elapsed from when Bowyer said Allmendinger’s wheel had come off to when the Fox broadcast showed his car without a right-front wheel. The broadcast missed Larson’s spin and Logano’s crash as they happened live and caught the very end of Kurt Busch’s crash and Hamlin’s tangle with Ware.

For whatever reason, Fox’s race coverage has steadily declined in recent years and that decline was evident on Monday. Viewers deserve better — especially those who are tuning into a NASCAR race on a weekday.

Race results

1. Chase Elliott

2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

3. Ross Chastain

4. Christopher Bell

5. Alex Bowman

6. Kyle Larson

7. Kyle Busch

8. Chris Buescher

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Erik Jones

11. Justin Haley

12. Martin Truex Jr.

13. Chase Briscoe

14. Daniel Suarez

15. Cole Custer

16. Bubba Wallace

17. Michael McDowell

18. Corey LaJoie

19. Aric Almirola

20. Brad Keselowski

21. Denny Hamlin

22. William Byron

23. Austin Dillon

24. Harrison Burton

25. Ryan Price

26. Ryan Blaney

27. Ty Dillon

28. Todd Gilliland

29. Joey Logano

30. Tyler Reddick

31. Kurt Busch

32. Josh Bilicki

33. AJ Allmendinger

34. Cody Ware

35. BJ McLeod

36. Austin Cindric

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