Chase Elliott could not capture his second win of the weekend in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in New Hampshire on Sunday, July 18 after winning the SRX Series finale the day before.
Elliott finished the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 18th place, largely due to a slower than usual pit stop at the end of Stage Two. Prior to the pit stop, he had been running in the top-10 consistently. Elliott remains fifth in points standings and playoff standings after Sunday’s race.
Starting in third place, Elliott took the lead after a crash between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., after misty weather conditions made the track wet.
“As [race director] Tim Bermann is about to put out the yellow, we look down and [Busch] is already getting loose,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said. “I’ve been here a number of years. That’s the first time I’ve seen that in terms of how quickly it came upon us.”
“Certainly mist, we’ve raced in mist conditions before. The track got slick, obviously, in a hurry, and it was unfortunate what took place.”
After the crash, the race was postponed for nearly two hours while the bad weather passed. Elliott held the lead on the restart and stayed in that position for 37 laps before being passed. Elliott finished Stage One in third place.
At the stage break, Elliott went to pit road for four tires and fuel and jumped from fifth to second early in the second stage. He stayed there until a yellow-flag caution on lap 127. Elliott fell to ninth place but jumped back up to sixth before the end of the stage.
The slow pit stop brought Elliott back onto the track in 17th for the start of the final stage. Elliott struggled with lap traffic and was in 19th place by the time his scheduled green-flag pit stop happened. He jumped one more spot at the end of the final stage to take 18th place.
Aric Almirola won Sunday’s race, becoming the 13th different winner in the Cup Series this season. The top-16 finishers make the playoffs, meaning only three non-winner spots are open for a playoff spot.
Sunday’s race marks the end of NASCAR Cup Series races for two weeks, giving the drivers a break before the big playoff push. The Cup Series will return on Sunday, Aug. 8 at Watkins Glen International. The race will start at 3 p.m.