By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports activities Author
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Chase Elliott bought by Corey LaJoie with just below two laps to go and crossed the end line below yellow after a block despatched LaJoie crashing into the wall Sunday, giving the Georgia-born driver his first victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Elliott pulled again round in entrance of the principle grandstand, greeted by a boisterous ovation from followers who cheered loudly each time he went to the entrance and stretched all the way in which to Dawsonville, the north Georgia city that produced the winner and his father, longtime NASCAR Cup star Invoice Elliott.
The wild capper to a different eventful Atlanta race denied LaJoie the primary victory of his profession, which might’ve been an enormous upset for the small-budget Spire Motorsports crew.
Chase Elliott joined his father as the one Georgia-born drivers to win at Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the one different father-son to take the checkered flag on the historic 1.54-mile observe.
“To win at your property observe is a extremely huge deal for any race automobile driver,” Elliott mentioned. “I’ve watched quite a lot of guys do it through the years. I felt like as we speak was a great alternative for us. I am simply so proud. That is clearly house for me, and residential for lots of nice followers who made quite a lot of noise for me as we speak.”
Martin Truex Jr. was main a decent pack on the entrance of the sector when Ross Chastain precipitated his second wreck of the day with 14 laps to go.
Chastain, a two-time winner this season who additionally has made loads of enemies together with his overly aggressive driving, tapped the left rear quarter-panel of Denny Hamlin’s automobile. That despatched the No. 11 right into a spin that ruined any probability of profitable.
Truex led on the restart with eight laps to go, LaJoie pulled forward on the backstretch, however the yellow flag got here out once more when Hamlin was bumped once more. This time, it was Christopher Bell attempting to squeeze between Hamlin and Joey Logano, setting off a spin that took out all three automobiles.
That arrange one other restart with three laps to go. LaJoie led the sector from the within lane, however he could not maintain off Elliott, who surged to the entrance earlier than taking the white flag.
LaJoie bought a great run on the chief going into the primary flip, however Elliott slid up the banking to chop him off. LaJoie, who has just one top-five end in his profession, ran out of room and smashed the surface wall.
Chastain seemed to make a transfer on Elliott, however the yellow lights flashed with No. 9 nonetheless almost a automobile size forward.
That was it. Elliott might lastly calm down, turning into the primary three-time winner in a season that has produced 13 completely different winners.
“Clearly, I knew (LaJoie) was gonna have a giant run. I attempted to present him one good, aggressive block,” Elliott mentioned. “I do not know what else to do. You go for the win or you do not. I am going to decide on possibility A each time.”
LaJoie, whose greatest profession end was a fifth-place displaying at this 12 months’s Atlanta spring race, almost pulled off essentially the most unbelievable victory of a wild season.
“That was enjoyable,” he mentioned. “It is good to have that factor out entrance for as soon as. I made my transfer. It did not work out.”
Chastain was the runner-up, adopted by Austin Cindric, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney. LaJoie settled for the twenty first spot.
The primary main wreck occurred on the 91st lap, sparked by Chastain giving Martin Truex Jr. a bump from behind coming by flip one.
Truex’s automobile started spinning and 7 different drivers have been collected within the melee, with Austin Dillon taking the most important hit when he slammed almost head-on into the surface wall.
Dillon was OK, however his No. 3 Chevrolet was finished for the day — one other robust blow for a driver who’s getting more and more determined for his first win of the season to stake a declare to a playoff spot.
Dillon blamed Chastain for being far too aggressive, a well-known grievance in opposition to the driving force of the No. 1 machine.
“We’re only a casualty of Ross Chastain once more,” Dillon mentioned after leaving the infield care middle. “You wish to race exhausting all day, however you’ve got bought guys like him on the market wrecking half the sector.”
The Cup drivers will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway subsequent Sunday.
Aric Almirola, who’s stepping again from full-time racing on the finish of this season, is defending champion on the 1.058-mile Loudon oval.
Observe Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963
Extra AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.