Hamlin traversed the 2.45-mile layout at 125.534 miles per hour in qualifying on Saturday, just ahead of series points leader Kyle Busch. GMS has been using several drivers in its No. 23 auto since Spencer Gallagher's suspension in May for failing a NASCAR drug test. Gallagher was reinstated last month, but the team has been using a variety of drivers, including Elliott's son, Chase Elliott, in the vehicle.
Joey Logano, who won the Zippo 200 Xfinity race moments earlier, qualified sixth. Truex, Busch, and Kevin Harvick, have combined to win 16 of the 21 Cup races. Busch regained the lead when the race restarted for the third and final stage when Elliott pushed high off of the first turn. The race strategy by crew chief Cole Pearn and the over-the-wall pit crew performance were equally impressive.
Elliott made the pass on lap 27, bringing the sellout crowd to its feet. "So thrilled, so emotional, so much relief, you know, working on three years hadn't won one".
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen, holding off Martin Truex Jr in a scintillating finish. But it's also unfair to him - just like it was unfair to Earnhardt Jr. - to put the weight of a flawed stock vehicle series on his shoulders. When his team took his auto to the garage his race was over because the damage was from contact.
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.
Kyle Busch finished third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, a triumvirate of Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.
Catching up has been an uphill battle, even for drivers under the same roof.
Sometimes you need a little push. "That doesn't happen because everybody is improving and you can not improve that much".More news: Malaysia's toppled leader to face new charges
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Not so fast, says Cup points leader Kyle Busch, who said he would keep Bell right where he is for the time being if he were the owner of the team.
Logano held off a challenge from Keselowski to win the Zippo 200.
NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, who has not competed in a NASCAR national series event in more than six years, will drive for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series race August 25 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Logano started from the pole in the road race that was red-flagged for rain, forcing the drivers to briefly switch to rain tires.
AJ Allmendinger drove the No. 23 to a second-place finish Saturday in the Xfinity race at The Glen.
Other Notables: #14 Clint Bowyer P11, #12 Ryan Blaney P12, #11 Denny Hamlin P13, #88 Alex Bowman P14, #2 Brad Keselowski P17, #31 Ryan Newman P19, #10 Aric Almirola P22, #43 Bubba Wallace Jr P25, #3 Austin Dillon P27, #21 Paul Menard P28, #48 Jimmie Johnson P30, #22 Joey Logano P37.
Lapped traffic allowed Truex to get close - it was down to one auto length with under three laps to go - but he never found the magic he needed as Elliott drove a flawless race.