Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Chase Elliott Breaks Lengthy Winless Streak with Victory at Texas

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

FORT WORTH, Texas – Finally.

After riding a winless streak for more than a year and a half, Chase Elliott is back in victory lane in a NASCAR Cup Series race after winning Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Coming close to breaking the streak on a handful of occasions since his last win at Talladega in October 2022 and having to overcome an injury that kept him sidelined for a number of races in early 2023, things finally came together in the Lone Star State for Elliott to be able to hold on and capture a long-awaited victory.

Elliott may have started way back in 24th place, but was able to climb into the top-10 at the end of the first two stages, setting up a strategy play from crew chief Alan Gustafson to put him in position to capitalize in the closing stages of the race.

On a restart with on lap 235, Elliott rocketed to the lead ahead of Tyler Reddick in a bold three-wide move into Turn 1, putting the rest of the field on notice that he would be a driver to contend with down the stretch.

Though Hamlin was able to get past him to take over the lead for himself 10 laps later, Elliott stayed in the fight and when the caution flag flew shortly thereafter, he had his shot.

Rolling off on the outside of Hamlin on the restart with eight laps to go in regulation, the two drivers ran door to door through Turn 1 and 2, with Elliott getting his nose just ahead of Hamlin when the caution flew again for Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson.

Then it was game on.

With the advantage of being able to choose the low lane on the restarts to come, Elliott was able to play defense down the stretch to keep his fellow competitors at bay over the course of the final three restarts to finally don the famous Texas Motor Speedway cowboy hat.

“Oh, man, couldn’t feel any better,” said Elliott. “First off, thanks to everybody that came out today. You guys are unbelievable.

“Hooters has been a partner of ours for a number of years now. It’s been a dream of mine to pay respect to the late Alan Kulwicki. Driving this car to a victory and do a Polish victory lap, just really crazy how things came full circle there in that moment. It was pretty emotional for me. He beat dad back in the day. Here we are sharing his sponsor and having an opportunity to win today.

“So just, man, couldn’t be more grateful for this journey and kind of the path that hasn’t always been fun, but certainly have enjoyed working with our guys. We’ve been working really hard and really well together. Like I said, hasn’t always been fun, but we’ve enjoyed the fight together.”

Brad Keselowski would come home in second-place after his evasive action on the final overtime restart that brought the race to an end when William Byron and Ross Chastain got together on the final lap. Byron would be credited with third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez to round out the top-five finishers.

Next up for the Cup Series is a trip to Alabama to take on Talladega Superspeedway in next Sunday’s running of the GEICO 500.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.