There were more than 20,00 fans at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday evening. The All-Star Race moved to Bristol from Charlotte. There was underglow on the cars. NASCAR delivered with this year’s All-Star Race as Chase Elliott captured the $1 million prize.
The Open began with many drivers making contact but no wrecks occurred. Michael McDowell, the pole starter, held the lead for the first 12 laps but Aric Almirola would pass him for the lead.
Halfway through the stage, Bubba Wallace and McDowell were battling and the drivers got loose, bringing out the first caution. McDowell would turn Wallace, causing major to damage to his car and Wallace would be finished for the night. McDowell also crashed after getting loose and bumping into William Byron, suffering significant damage as well.
On the restart, Almirola would cruise to a comfortable lead and pick up the stage win, putting him in the All-Star Race.
To start stage two, Byron started on the pole. On the restart, Ryan Preece collided with John Hunter Nemechek, causing both to suffer damage and bring out the caution. The rest of the stage would see Byron dominating the field, winning stage two and advancing to the All-Star Race.
The final stage saw a 15-lap shootout toward the finish. No cautions were called, and Matt DiBenedetto took the lead on the restart. He would not relinquish the lead as he was the next driver to clinch a spot in the All-Star Race. Clint Bowyer was the runner-up in the final stage and would win the fan vote to become the fourth and final driver to enter the All-Star Race.
At the start of the All-Star Race, Martin Truex Jr. dropped to the rear for failing pre-race inspection twice. Ryan Blaney would take the lead from Alex Bowman three laps in, but Kurt Busch would slide into the wall after contact from Brad Keselowski, bringing out the caution. Blaney would hold his lead on the restart as he held off Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott for the stage win.
Stage two began as Harvick won the race off pit road. On the restart, Newman got loose and spun out, causing a caution. Elliott would take the lead on the restart by passing Harvick and Blaney. He would hold his lead, winning stage two by over a second.
Blaney was the only driver not to pit after stage two and Keselowski only took left side tires. On the restart, Blaney and Keselowski were first and second, respectively, with Elliott close behind them. Elliott moved Keselowski for second with 20 laps left in stage three. Five laps later, he passed Blaney for the lead. Elliott would keep the lead to pick up the stage three win, his second stage win of the race.
For the final stage, Kyle Busch would surge to second place. However, it wasn’t enough as Elliott would win the race and the $1 million prize. This is Elliott’s first career win in the All-Star Race. It is also a sweet victory as he won at the same track where he crashed as the leader on the final lap earlier this year in May. He overcame heartbreak and won at the largest-attended sports event in North America since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
The NASCAR Cup Series will head to Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.