Something new for NASCAR ended in a familiar sight.
The inaugural Cup race on the Daytona International Speedway road course finished with Chase Elliott taking the checkered flag — the third consecutive road course Cup race Elliott has won, dating back to last season. The victory also is Elliott’s fourth road course victory in the last six such races.
Elliott was dominant on the 3.61-mile course. With no practice and qualifying before the race, there were many questions by drivers, but Elliott showed the way, leading 34 of 65 laps.
Elliott had to hold off the field on a restart created by Kyle Busch’s incident with five laps to go. Elliott kept the lead on the restart with three laps to go and held off Denny Hamlin to score his second win of the year.
Elliott won last year’s Roval race at Charlotte and last year’s race at Watkins Glen.
Despite finishing fourth, Johnson gained only one point on William Byron in the race for the final playoff spot. Johnson trails Byron by 25 points with three races left in the regular season. Byron finished eighth and outscored Johnson 11-8 in stage points.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Elliott
STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Jimmie Johnson’s fourth-place finish was his first top 10 in his last 11 starts. … Chris Buescher’s fifth-place finish was his best result since placing third in the Daytona 500. … Kaz Grala finished seventh in his first Cup start. Grala filled in for Austin Dillon, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week. … Michael McDowell finished 10th for his first career top-10 road course finish in Cup.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kyle Busch remains winless this year in Cup after a 37th-place finish that saw many problems throughout the day from flat-spotting tires early, spinning and a mechanical issue before his race ended.
NOTABLE: Chase Elliott is the first Cup driver to win three consecutive road course races since Tony Stewart did so in 2004-05.
NEXT: Saturday, Aug. 22 at Dover (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN) in the first of two races there on the weekend.