Chase Elliott won his first race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday night, fighting the rain and dozens of other drivers during the inaugural road course race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
“Yeah, obviously just a huge win on multiple fronts,” Elliott said after the race. “Win number 800 for Chevrolet. They’re a great partner to me personally. They’ve played a massive role in the success of Hendrick Motorsports past and present. A great group to work with. So super proud of them.”
The race was shortened by 14 laps because of standing water on the course. Elliott and the rest of the Cup Series drivers drove in moderate, rainy conditions for all but the first few laps.
“The track went through a bunch of different stages,” Elliott said. “The visibility further back in the pack, which I restarted back there on multiple occasions, it was super hard to see. That was really the case kind of all day long. I don’t really know how you fix that with the spray coming off the cars.”
This story continues below.
Elliott’s win came with multiple accolades. In the last six road course races, this was Elliott’s fifth win. Elliott’s sixth career road course win ties the driver with Rusty Wallace for third all-time in road course wins, behind only Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.
After Elliott won Sunday, Hendricks Motorsports tied Petty Enterprises for the most organization wins of all time and it was the 800th career win for all Chevrolet cars.
“Obviously there’s a lot of guys, a lot more guys than me, that have contributed to that banner,” Elliott said. “Really proud and honored to be able to hold that up today. Then to tie Richard Petty Motorsports obviously is a big one. The boss has been on us heavy about that record. He wants that record. So super glad that we could help with that today.”
Elliott started the race in eighth place, but on lap 2 had to pit to put rain tires on. By lap 5, he was back in the top 10. He went back to pit road during the competition caution and finished stage one 12th.
Stage two halted due to a red-flag caution after a multi-car pileup. Once the race resumed, Elliott spent no time moving to the front and finished the stage in second place.
By the time all drivers had cycled through pit road during green light pit stops in stage three, Elliott found himself as the leader for the first time with just 19 laps remaining in the race. After driving five more, NASCAR stopped the race because of the weather and eventually declared it over with Elliott as the winner.
“I’m really proud of that,” Elliott said. “It’s not the greatest thing ever, for it to rain and to have a rain race win, if it’s your first one; but I think it’s okay if it’s down the road, so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m looking forward to next week and trying to keep it rolling.”
Elliott now holds fifth place in the NASCAR Cup Series standings and sixth place in the potential playoff picture. He becomes the 11th individual driver to win a race, with legends such as Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick yet to find the winners circle this season.
The Cup Series season continues on Sunday, May 30, with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Eliott has three career victories at Charlotte. The race will start at 6 p.m.