Chase Elliott has won the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen International for the second straight time, holding off Martin Truex Jr. just like he did a year ago.
Truex began to exert some pressure after sitting just behind Elliott for more than 10 laps in the final segment. Elliott held his ground until Truex closed with six laps to go, waiting to pounce on a mistake that never came.
It was a two-car race for more than half the 220.5- mile race and the entire final 40 laps. With two laps to go, Truex still couldn't get close enough to make a move. Last year Truex ran out of fuel on the last lap, giving Elliott his first career victory.
Elliott, the pole-sitter, led 80 of 90 laps and snapped a long slump.
Denny Hamlin was third, Erik Jones fourth and Ryan Blaney fifth after starting from the rear of the field.
Seven-time champion Jimmy Johnson finished 19th with a new crew chief as he struggles to make the playoffs with four races left in the regular season.
Chase Elliott has won the second stage of the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen, giving him two straight segment wins.
Elliott restarted seventh behind drivers that did not pit after the first segment and steadily worked his way up through the field.
He regained the lead on a restart with four laps left in the segment as Martin Truex Jr. began to close on his back bumper, just as he did a year ago in the final laps of this race, which he won. But the stage ended under caution after a spinout by Bubba Wallace.
Kyle Larson, who didn't pit, led the first seven laps of the stage before pitting on lap 30, giving the lead back to Elliott.
Kyle Busch had rallied from 36th to 15th to get back into contention after a penalty on pit road when the first yellow flag flew. He and several others elected to pit for tires and fuel. Larson also chose to pit again for fuel only while Elliott stayed out on track, ahead of Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Alex Bowman.
Byron also pitted during the caution on lap 34 so his crew could work on the damaged front of the No. 24 Chevy.
Pole sitter Chase Elliott has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen, leading the entire segment and beating Denny Hamlin by 4 seconds.
Elliott, the defending race winner, gained a big early lead over Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron after five laps. Kyle Busch started third but spun out on the first turn of the race as he tried to dive inside Byron for second. Busch dropped to 10th, then began to slowly rally.
Hamlin, who won last week at Pocono, passed Byron for second halfway through the 20-lap segment.
Busch passed Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and Jimmie Johnson on his way back up through the pack and was fifth with five laps to go, just behind Byron and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr.
Byron spun out into the grassy area in the inner loop and shot across the grass after a tap in the back from Busch and finished fifth in the segment. Byron then slammed Busch's back end on the cooldown lap, damaging his front end.
Six drivers elected not to pit and Elliott restarted seventh in line behind leader Larson.
Busch was penalized for exiting pit road too fast and restarted 36th.
The NASCAR Cup Series is ready to go racing at Watkins Glen International.
Defending race winner Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports starts from the pole Sunday on the 2.45-mile road course in New York's Finger Lakes region.
Martin Truex Jr., who starts fourth for Joe Gibbs Racing in the 90-lap race, is chasing a sweep of the two traditional road races on the schedule. He won at Sonoma in June for the second straight time and finished runner-up to Elliott a year ago at The Glen, where he also has a victory.
Like Sonoma, Watkins Glen can be unpredictable. The Glen hasn't had a repeat winner in more than a decade. Marcos Ambrose was the last in 2011-12.
The cars were inspected Sunday morning and all passed, but Ryan Blaney will start from the back of the field after his crew made unapproved adjustments to the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford. Blaney qualified 19th on Saturday.
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