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NASCAR: Chase Elliott fights from the back to finish second at Watkins Glen
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 08, 2021 in Watkins Glen, New York. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

With only three more races to go until the NASCAR playoffs begin, all eyes looked to Watkins Glen, New York for a ninety lap race. Elliott finished in second place behind teammate, Kyle Larson. 

“Yeah, I made too many mistakes to get the win, unfortunately, and made it too late in the race,” Elliott said after the race. “Super proud of our team. Been kind of an uphill battle all day, but everybody was just super prepared coming into the day, and our NAPA team just did a really good job of fighting it.” 

News broke right before the first lap that Chase Elliott’s nine car had failed multiple rounds of inspections, which led to his crew chief Alan Gustafson being ejected before the race began. Elliot also moved to the back of the race, starting at the 37 spot to begin the race.

At the beginning of stage two, Martin Treux Jr., Christopher Bell, and Kyle Larson battled for the lead. This group stayed tight throughout the second stage, but at the end it was Treux who was able to get the points and won the second stage.

Truex and Larson were the heavy leaders with twenty laps to go, but that’s when Chase Elliott began to make his move, working all the way back up to eighth before having to pit due to a tire issue on lap 31.

At that twenty lap mark, Elliott was nine seconds back from the leaders. That lead quickly diminished as Elliott inched closer. 

With twelve to go, Elliott was six back. With ten to go, he was five behind and with three laps left, Elliott passed Truex and was only two seconds behind Larson.

Larson was able to hold Elliott off by staying with his game plan and won his fifth race of the year. This was the fourth time this season that the teammates have finished in the top-two together, with Larson winning three of those races.

Elliott has now finished 10 of his 17 road course races in the top-5 and has finished in first or second place in eight of the last nine road course races. 

Larson’s win pushed him to a tie with Denny Hamlin for first with only three more weeks left in the season. Chase Elliott sits at fifth, almost 150 points behind Larson and Hamlin. 

Next week’s race will be the Indianapolis 200 at the Brickyard at 1 p.m. The race at the Brickyard will be another road race, won last year by Kevin Harvick. Elliott led 26 laps and finished 11th.