Chase Elliott’s four-race win streak on Cup Series road courses ended with a thud after an eventful Sunday on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.61-mile circuit.
RELATED: Official results
Elliott spun with six laps remaining in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 in a close contest with Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, dropping him out of the top five and relegating him to a 21st-place finish.
Elliott, the defending series champion, started from the pole position and won the first stage. He led 44 of the 70 laps, but was shuffled back to 14th in the running order for a restart with 13 laps to go.
Elliott eventually drove back to fourth place despite an off-course slip that covered the grille of his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with grass and later contact with Corey LaJoie’s No. 7, but his Turn 6 stack-up on Lap 64 sent his car around and ended his victory hopes.
Elliott was among the drivers who pitted after a caution flag flew for rain on Lap 56, but he was unable to regain ground as efficiently as eventual race winner Christopher Bell.
“When you have those late-race cautions like that and you have a mixed bag of who stays and who goes, it’s a bit of a gamble either way, I felt like,” Elliott said. “I thought (changing) tires was the right move. Tires won the race, so I think it was the right move. You get back in traffic and it just gets to be so chaotic, and then just depending on who gets through and who doesn’t kind of determines how it’s going to shake out.
“I hate it. I made too many mistakes. We went off track and it was just a bad deal. We had a fast NAPA Chevy and I appreciate the effort. I hate it for Corey. He ran me off there, so I thought he was going to take the lane again, so I went to cross him over and I think that time he was actually going to give me the lane. So, go figure. But we’ll try again next week.”
Elliott’s run dated back to August 2019, when he prevailed at Watkins Glen International. He followed that with victories on a pair of oval-road layouts — two at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval and one in the Daytona Road Course’s debut last August.
Former Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon still holds the record for most consecutive road-course wins with six straight from 1997-2000.