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Formidable summer form continues for Elliott after runner-up finish in Loudon
Chase Elliott races during the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 17. (Photo courtesy of James Gilbert/Getty Images)

New Hampshire Motor Speedway hasn’t been a historical strength of Chase Elliott’s, but that context proved to have no bearing as he put together a runner-up finish at last Sunday’s Ambetter 301.

While that result confirmed a fourth consecutive top-2 finish for Elliott, he still felt that he could have made better choices to give him a third win in four races.

No doubt where his standards are.

“I feel like it was a poor run of execution on my end throughout that last run,” Elliott said. “When you’re in position like we’ve been in, you need to finish [other drivers] off.”

Coming into Sunday’s race, Elliott had only a pair of top-10 finishes at the Loudon short track in eight previous appearances. But this time around, he established himself as a contender by qualifying in second position behind pole sitter Martin Truex Jr.

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Most of the race was dominated by Truex Jr, but a caution followed by a long green-flag period in the final third of the race altered the leaderboard and allowed Elliott to work his way to the front.

After finishing the opening two stages in fourth and third place, he had an important decision to make during a caution with just under 100 laps to go.

Electing to receive both fuel and tires, Elliott was banking on a clean remainder of the race to make it to the front. 

Coming out of the restart in fifth position, he would gradually move past those who did not elect to pit during the caution, including Joey Logano and Kurt Busch. 

With 55 laps to go, Elliott passed Busch for the lead and would maintain it for 13 laps. 

The eventual race winner Christopher Bell, who had multiple New Hampshire wins on the Xfinity Series, caught up to Elliott with 42 laps left and would never look back. 

For Elliott, the two stage finishes would help him earn 50 additional points to extend his lead in the NASCAR Cup standings. 

He has 734 points, which is 67 points ahead of Ross Chastain in the regular-season standings. Through 20 races this season, Elliott has 14 top-10 finishes and a league-leading three victories.