Dawsonville's own Chase Elliott came out of the GoBowling 235 at the Daytona road course victorious on Sunday afternoon.
Elliott started the race in seventh place, but had broken into the top three by lap eight of the 3.8 mile course. After Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. both pitted, Elliott stayed out to win stage 1, gaining his first playoff point of the day.
Stage 2 had Elliott starting in the 19th position, but the driver quickly cruised past competition, rising to ninth place by lap 21 and third place by lap 25.
With three laps left in stage 2, Elliott and his crew chief Alan Gufstafson decided to head to pit road with the hopes that they could come out victorious.
Elliott came off pit road in eighth place and stayed in the eighth place to finish out stage 2.
Instead of pitting at the end of stage 2, Elliott stayed on the course and started the final stage in first. He remained in the first position through a lightning delay and until lap 48, when Elliott took his last pit stop of the 65 lap race.
Elliott rejoined the race back in ninth place but was back in third by lap 53. Just like before, once Alex Bowman and Kaz Grala came to pit road, and when Elliott took the lead, he never gave it back.
Hamlin, who finished the race in second place, was able to close the gap on Elliott only after a caution flag came out with five laps left in the race when fellow driver Kyle Busch lost control of his car.
Celebrating by burning out his back tires spinning out in the middle of the track, Elliott told NBC Sports after the race that he felt he had been struggling the last few weeks and especially struggled in Michigan.
“I had a phenomenal car,” Elliott said. “I didn’t feel like I did anything special today.”
In a post-race zoom conference, Elliott said that he cannot put a price on the six playoff points that he earned in the race, with his focus still set on competing in the Cup Series championship.
“Any win is great and makes everybody feel good, but we’ve put emphasis on continuing to make our position in the playoffs as strong as possible,” Elliott said.
This is the third road course in a row that Elliott has won, with two wins at Watkins Glen and Charlotte last season.
This was the first race ever at the Daytona road course, after NASCAR officials were forced to find a new track for the weekend’s race when Watkins Glen decided not to host the event.
NASCAR will have back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday this upcoming weekend at Dover International Speedway. Elliott has been very successful at Dover. His career average finish is the better at Dover than any other course on the Cup Series circuit.
Both the Saturday, Aug. 22 and Sunday, Aug. 23 races will start at 4 p.m. this weekend.