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NASCAR Cup at Road America: Elliott wins after bombing out in qualifying

Elkhart Lake, WI, July 4/21 (by John Davison): Chase Elliott converted a dramatic qualifying session into the first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Road America in 65 years, following in Tim Flock's tire marks from 1956 in taking the victory at the Jockey Made in America 250. Both of Elliott's qualifying attempts were negated when the caution flag flew for other cars' spins, relegating him to 34th on the starting lineup.

This win is Elliott's second road course victory in the 2021 season, his 13th career Cup Series win and his seventh road course win, placing him third in the list of Cup road course victories, behind Jeff Gordon's nine and Tony Stewart's eight.

Elliott finally reached the lead on lap 38 of the 62-lap race, leading until a caution for Anthony Alfredo's stalled car sent the leaders to the pits. He retook the lead from Aric Almirola just a lap later, heading the race until the end, 17 laps later. "We've had a rough few weeks, so it feels really good," said Elliott. "Yeah, I never felt like I got in a real good rhythm all of yesterday. For whatever reason there, after about halfway through the race, I started finding some of that rhythm, was able to put it together, piece different parts of the track. Finally, I felt like I was able to piece most of it together."

Rising driver Austin Cindric led once before an axle failure sent the 22-year-old to the garage. "I only had one wheel drive and when you only have two other ones spinning with 750 horsepower it is a bit challenging. It was quite dramatic taking the lead and then immediately losing everything. Not a weekend I am necessarily happy about," he said.

Kyle Busch, after crashing his primary car in practice, started last in the field, moving rapidly to the lead group just 18 laps into the race before finishing third. "We kept working on it, making adjustments there. We just did not have the tire life the 9 (Chase Elliott) did," added.

Second-place finisher Christopher Bell won at the Daytona road course race earlier in the year: "I wouldn't have expected my first win to come at a road course, that's for sure. Last year in the Cup Series, the road course races were probably my best races speed wise. I don't know. I feel like we have been bringing really good Camrys to the road courses and it's definitely a good package for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) right now." 

Kurt Busch finished fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth. William Byron, who started on the pole, ended up in 33rd place.

The next Cup race will be held next week, on Sunday, July 11, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

• Click HERE for the Race Results

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