Elliott claims first career Cup win, holds off Truex at Watkins Glen

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Getty Images

Elliott is set to drive the #23 GMS Racing Chevrolet, the vehicle that has been shared by a number of other drivers, including his son Chase, since the suspension of the former full-time driver of the auto, Spencer Gallagher, following the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway in late April, in the Johnsonville 180.

Elliott led Truex by 1.1 seconds with 19 laps left, Jones was third over 10 seconds behind and Busch 18 seconds back in eighth in what turned into a two-car struggle. Truex closed within in a couple vehicle lengths of Elliott with 10 laps to go, but faded back in the final circuits.

On a stop on lap 54, leader Kyle Busch's gasman had a problem with a can, preventing him from filling the auto.

Elliott made the pass on lap 27, bringing the sellout crowd to its feet. The wet track made for insane visuals as cars kicked up water and experienced road course racers like AJ Allmendinger were right at home, but Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski rose to the top once the precipitation stopped and the track dried.

On the next lap, Aric Almirola was spun out by Ryan Blaney, bringing out the first caution. Truex, Busch, and Kevin Harvick, have combined to win 16 of the 21 Cup races.

The NASCAR Cup Series is racing at Watkins Glen. His streak included three wins each at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. "So thrilled, so emotional, so much relief, you know, working on three years hadn't won one". The Glen has had only one repeat victor - Marcos Ambrose in 2011-12 - in the past 12 years.

Sunday will be a marathon for NASCAR and the teams because inspection this week was moved to prior to the race. It was a two-car breakaway as the rest of the field was more than 11 seconds back.

Denny Hamlin won the pole Saturday afternoon, covering the 2.45-mile layout at 125.534 miles per hour to take the top spot, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.

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Chase Elliott will start third in the No. 9 Chevy, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.

AJ Allmendinger drove the No. 23 to a second-place finish Saturday in the Xfinity race at The Glen.

The trio was as dominant as always last week at Pocono when Busch and Harvick had to start at the back of the field after their cars failed postqualifying inspection.

Elliott's last race was in July 2012 in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

After eight runner-up finishes, Chase Elliott outdueled the defending champ this time en route to his first win, coming in his third full-time season and his 99th start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

COME ONE, COME ALL: Watkins Glen International announced that reserved grandstand tickets for the race sold out for the fourth consecutive year.

UP NEXT: Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 12.

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