There was no doubt that Chase Elliott had the fastest car at the Gander RV 400 during the first week-end of May as he captured his second pole position of 2019 with a “Monster Mile” record of 165.960mph in his black and gold NAPA No. 9 Chevrolet.
From the pole, Elliott dominated the first 107 laps of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) at Dover International Speedway on May 6 (the race was delayed 24-hours due to rain), and it appeared that he was well on his way to securing his second straight victory of 2019 and back to back wins at the fall running of the Delaware race until Ricky Stenhouse Jr. broke loose in turn one and slapped into the wall.
The resulting yellow flag, the first of the day, forced a series of decisions at the team level that ultimately determined the finish, as Joey Logano and William Byron took only two tires during the pit-stop and Elliott took four to find himself returning to the track trying to re-take the lead he had once held.
Elliott slipped in and out of first-place over the remaining 293 laps, battling Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman for the lead, and left the field with a race high 146 laps-led, but he was unable to recapture his earlier dominance and settled for a fifth-place finish overall.
Truex Jr. went on to take the Gander RV 400 checkered flag, reliving his inaugural victory of 12 years ago, after steering his No. 19 Toyota from dead last to the first-place finish.
With his third top-five finish of the season Elliott remained in seventh-place in the NASCAR post-season rankings as he prepared for the year’s twelfth race, the MENCS Spring Race at Kansas Speedway on May 11.