Chase Elliott (9) won his second consecutive race Thursday in the Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after he won Tuesday's Truck Series event in Charlotte, N.C. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo
May 29 (UPI) -- Chase Elliott was relieved after he recovered from two heartbreaking Cup Series finishes to win the rescheduled Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The race was rained out Wednesday and resumed Thursday at the Charlotte, N.C, facility. No fans were allowed to attend the race due to coronavirus pandemic precautions.
Elliott finished just ahead of Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Cup Series standings leader Kevin Harvick to win his seventh Cup Series race and first of the season.
"We battled hard and finally got our car good enough there at the end," Elliott told reporters.
"I'm not sure that we had it exactly perfect, but the guys did a great job making good adjustments and good pit stops there to put us in a position, and I think the race going long played into our favor as compared to what Kevin [Harvick] had to work with.
"We just had some good fortune and things went our way."
Thursday's event was the fourth Cup Series race since NASCAR returned from a coronavirus suspension May 17.
Elliott ran well and nearly won May 20 at Darlington Raceway before Kyle Busch tapped his car and forced him to wreck out of the Toyota 500. Elliott again was in position to win at Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 before a late caution resulted in overtime and a second-place finish.
"It feels awesome," Elliott said. "Man, it was a tough week for sure. We've had some tough losses, but that deal on Sunday night was a heartbreaker. It's not the Coke 600, but any win in the Cup Series is really hard to get."
Elliott passed Harvick for the lead on lap No. 181 on Thursday. He edged second-place Hamlin by 2.2 seconds. Joey Logano won the first stage of the race. Alex Bowman won the second stage at Charlotte.
Harvick led three times for a race-high 63 laps. Elliott led once for 28 laps and average 125.3 mph in his No. 9 Chevrolet.
Elliott's victory was his second in as many races after he won Tuesday's Truck Series event. It was his first career Cup Series triumph at Charlotte. Harvick held onto the top spot in the Cup Series standings. Logano is second, followed by Elliott, Bowman and Brad Keselowski.
Elliott will line up his No. 9 Chevrolet for the Cup Series Supermarket Heroes 500 at 3:30 p.m. EDT Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.
"Just get ready," Elliott said. "Five-hundred laps at Bristol is a really physical event. We've raced a lot throughout this week.
"I'm tired, and I want to rest Friday and Saturday and get ready to go. It's going to be a tough one on Sunday, especially in the afternoon."