Chase Elliott Wins All-Star Race at Bristol

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

BRISTOL, TN - RIS - Chase Elliott won the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which was hosting the event for the first time. It was just the second time in All-Star Race history that it was not at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986).Elliott also took home the $1 million prize awaiting the victor. 

Elliott won in 20-car field that was filled with competitors who satisfied specific criteria- winners, former Cup Champions plus two winners from different stages in the preliminary qualifying race prior to the main event.

Aric Almirola, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto and Clint Bowyer captured the other four spots at the NASCAR All-Star Open, which happened right before the main event. The first three won stages in the Open, while Bowyer won the fan vote.

To add to the unique event, it was reported a Confederate flag banner was flown over Bristol Motor Speedway before the race with the Sons of Confederate Veterans' website on it. NASCAR's decision to ban the flag from its events made national headlines with Bubba Wallace—an outspoken proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement and NASCAR's only full-time Black driver on the top series—spearheading the efforts.  Wallace was eliminated from the running when he and Michael McDowell got together in the Open, eliminating both drivers.

On the track, Martin Truex Jr. was supposed to start in the pole position but was pushed to the rear because of two technical failures. That gave the pole spot to Alex Bowman, but Ryan Blaney passed him and the rest of the field on the way to a Stage 1 win.

Stage Two was uneventful, but Elliott passed Kevin Harvick on the start and went on to win 35-lap stage.  Elliott got his break when Ryan Newman slid off the track, not giving some of the better cars to get s good start.

Elliott had good momentum, and continued to pace the field through Stage 3 after battling side-by-side with Blaney for the lead for almost two laps. That set the table for the 15-lap sprint to the finish, although caution laps did not count in the final stage.  It was no contest.  After a tight start, Elliott prevailed.

Defending NASCAR Cup Series champ Kyle Busch took second place, just .418 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin completed the top-five finishers in order.

This 36th running of the All-Star Race featured several firsts: The first All-Star event at the .533-mile Bristol track, the first run on a Wednesday, plus the first with a choose rule to determine the order for restarts. The main event also featured a bit of experimental glitz with underglow lighting on the 16 locked-in cars.  The only other time the race was not run at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the week before the 600-mile race was 1986.  Bill Elliott, Chase’s father won that one.

The NASCAR Cup Series’ next event is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, scheduled Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Race Results, 2020 NASCAR All-Star, Bristol Motor Speedway: Bristol, TN: 0.533: Mile Concrete

Fin, St, Driver, Car, Tms Led, Laps Led, Laps, Status
1) 13, Chase Elliott, No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet, 2, 60, 140, Running
2) 10, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, , , 140, Running
3) 5, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford, 1, 6, 140, Running
4) 9, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, , , 140, Running
5) 15, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, , , 140, Running
6) 3, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 BodyArmor Ford, 2, 72, 140, Running
7) 12, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, , , 140, Running
8) 2, Alex Bowman, No. 88's Polishes Chevrolet, 1, 2, 140, Running
9) 17, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, , , 140, Running
10) 1, Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, , , 140, Running
11) 16, Erik Jones, No. 20 Craftsman Toyota, , , 140, Running
12) 18, William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, , , 140, Running
13) 19, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21 Menards/FVP Ford, , , 140, Running
14) 4, Justin Haley(i), No. 77 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, , , 140, Running
15) 20, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford, , , 140, Running
16) 8, Cole Custer #, No. 41 360 Ford, , , 140, Running
17) 14, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, , , 140, Running
18) 6, Matt Kenseth, No. 42 McDonald's McDelivery Chevrolet, , , 140, Running
19) 11, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Oscar Mayer Bacon Ford, , , 140, Running
20) 7, Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, , , 140, Running
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Race Length: 140 laps: 74.62 miles
Time of Race: 1 hr, 8 min, 10 sec
Average Speed: 65.68 mph
Margin of Victory: .418 sec

Race Comments: Chase Elliott won the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his first victory in the special non-points paying NASCAR Cup Series event.

Prior to the start, the following vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 19 (two inspection failures).

Caution Flags: 5 for 13 laps
Laps: 9-14 (No. 1, 2 Incident Turn 1 [None])
55-55 (Stage 1 Conclusion [1])
58-61 (No. 6 Spin Backstretch [None])
90-90 (Stage 2 Conclusion [1])
125-125 (Stage 3 Conclusion [None]).

Lead Changes: 6 among 4 drivers
M. Truex Jr. 0
A. Bowman 1-2
R. Blaney 3-55
K. Harvick 56-61
C. Elliott 62-90
R. Blaney 91-109
C. Elliott 110-140.

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2020, Issue 7, Posted 11:27 PM, 07.15.2020