NASCAR DuraMAX Drydene 400: Chase Elliott wins at Dover

The NASCAR Cup Series kicked off its May schedule with the DuraMAX Drydene 400 — best known as the “Monster Mile” — in Dover, Delaware.

Drivers were back on the track Monday after inclement weather postponed the conclusion of Sunday’s race. Chase Elliott snapped a 26-race winless streak, taking the checkered flag for his first win of 2022 and his second at Dover.

Here are the top moments from Dover Motor Speedway:

Green!

Right out of the gate Sunday, Denny Hamlin spun his tires on the inside line at the start, allowing Chris Buescher to get free and take the lead around the first turn.

Hamlin gets ahead

Hamlin, who seemed to think that Buescher jumped the initial start of the race, took the lead after Buescher lost the handling on his car trying to put a lap on Todd Gilliland, allowing Hamlin to take the top spot.

First caution

There was a competition caution at Lap 40 for teams to check tire wear. AJ Allmendinger got a penalty on pit road. Elsewhere, Ryan Blaney had a tire go down. 

The green flag was back out on Lap 46, as Hamlin built a two-second lead over Larson.

Red flag

Cars were shown the red flag and were brought to pit road for inclement weather, as rain moved into the area. Track drying efforts proved unsuccessful and were stopped, as heavy rain continued. 

The decision was made to postpone the remainder of the race to Monday.

Let’s try this again!

The race resumed Monday with 78 of 400 laps complete.

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Kyle Larson got the jump from the outside lane and led the field on the first lap since Sunday afternoon.

Quick caution

It didn’t take very long for the first caution to come out, as Austin Cindric and Gilliland spun in separate accidents. 

Cindric hit the outside wall with the right rear of his car before straightening out, while Gilliland spun — arguably — because Ryan Blaney checked up for the accident.

Cindric’s steering was offset after the incident, and he went to pit road at Lap 93 to allow his team to make repairs. Unfortunately, time ran out on him on the Damaged Vehicle Policy clock, and he was put out of the race. He will finish 36th.

Lead change

Meanwhile, Elliott took the lead from Larson before Hamlin, who led 55 laps Sunday before the rain, resumed the top spot. 

Stage 1: Check

Hamlin came away with the Stage 1 win, but he ran into some trouble on pit road.

It appeared his left front tire was not properly installed, and Hamlin’s wheel fell off at pit exit. Hamlin had to go back to pit road because of this miscue, and crew chief Chris Gabehart must sit out the next four weeks.

Ross Chastain, last week’s winner at Talladega, took the lead, as Hamlin, who fell back to 29th, went back to pit road to reinstall his left front tire. 

Chastain led Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Elliott and Buescher back to the restart at Lap 129. 

Chaos ensues

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Bell went to pit road after he had a wheel coming loose, and the caution was back out as Larson got loose and spun off Turn 4 and appeared to blow his right side tires in the process.

The green flag was back out again at Lap 164. Chastain continued to lead as Justin Haley moved to second.

Crash on the backstretch

Kurt Busch, who got a major assist from AJ Allmendinger, made heavy contact and hit the inside wall off of Turn 2 to bring the caution out again.

(Un)lucky seven

The green flag was out again at Lap 195, where Haley led Allmendinger, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace. It didn’t last long, however, as Joey Logano hit the wall in Turns 1 and 2 after Erik Jones made a sudden lane change, bringing the caution out for the seventh time.

Kyle Busch put his new tires to good use and took the lead with 38 laps remaining in the second stage.

Stage 2: Check

But it was Blaney who held on to win Stage 2.

Another one

Allmendinger’s tire fell off as he exited the pits in the third and final stage, drawing a four-race suspension for crew chief Matt Swiderski — the second Kaulig Racing crew chief to be suspended for losing a wheel this season. Allmendinger was out of the race due to some major internal damage after his wheel fell off.

Spin in Turn 4! 

Daniel Suárez, who appeared to try to make a move to the inside of Corey LaJoie entering Turn 3, went for a loop in front of traffic. Luckily, everyone avoided him, and he avoided the wall as well.

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Restart with 61 to go

Elliott got a great restart from the inside, challenging Chastain for the top spot. The two were side-by-side lap after lap before Reddick spun and crashed on the backstretch, drawing the 12th caution of the race.

Twelve cautions is the most at this track since 2017.

Homestretch

The green flag was back out with 53 laps left in the race.

Elliott opened up his lead to 1.3 seconds over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with under 40 laps remaining. Elliott then extended his lead to 1.5 seconds with 25 laps to go and then again to over two seconds with 10 to go. 

Winner!

It was victory formation for No. 9, as things came to a close in Dover.


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NASCAR - CUP - DuraMAX Drydene 400 presented by RelaDyne - 5/1/2022NASCAR – CUP – DuraMAX Drydene 400 presented by RelaDyne – 5/1/2022