Chase Elliott dominates and roars to his first All Star Race win at Bristol Motor Speedway
By Rod Mullins
Outside was the choice for Elliott and the Hendrick Motorsports driver chose wisely.
Elliott would race with buddy Ryan Blaney on the restart but Elliott was never challenged in the 15 lap shootout, even by a quiet through three stages driver, Kyle Busch who made his move to try and get to the front.
Busch would never be a factor in the final laps and Elliott roared across the start/finish line to the screams and shouts of the fans allowed to purchase tickets in this event, held for the first time at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The crowd, the largest for a sporting event in pandemic held in North America, roared their approval of the winner and was treated to a fun night of racing. Tennessee officials allowed NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports to sell 30,000 tickets to the All-Star race so it was moved from Charlotte because North Carolina would not authorize spectators for the race.
The crowd surged to the fence and chanted “USA! USA!” as Elliott celebrated on the frontstretch. It was the most spectators at a sporting event in the United States since March. Because the speedway is privately owned, attendance numbers will not be released. Tickets were on sale through Tuesday evening and still available on Bristol’s website until the deadline went off early on in the Open edition of the All Star Race.
“What a better night to have fans back,” Elliott said. “There’s nothing like Bristol. There’s no feeling like it. This speaks for itself, Bristol is an electric atmosphere. We’ll take that million dollars back to Georgia.”
Chase Elliott’s father, Bill Elliott, won the All Star Race in 1986, the only year it was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race began in 1985 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was held at that North Carolina track every year but one until it was moved because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Elliott said after the race that his father winning the All Star Race in ‘96, really didn’t set in until it was brought up to him.
The Elliott father/son combo joined Dale Earnhardt Sr. And Jr. as the only father son/duos to win a NASCAR All Star Race.
While the night was a million dollars richer for Chase Elliott, it was not a good night for Bubba Wallace.
Wallace was hoping to move up through the field early in the Open Race and a win would be the ticket he needed to get into the big race but driver Michael McDowell made contact early with Wallace and the Richard Petty Motorsports driver was eliminated from contention early, as the 43 car was damaged beyond repair.
Wallace was not at all happy with his early exit from the All Star Race and the contact from Michael McDowell.
“Just disrespect. When you get hooked into the wall, I don’t even need to see a replay,” Wallace said. “What a joke he is.”
The eventual winner of Stage One, Aric Almirola roared to the lead and held on to take the first stage win and punch his ticket to the dance.
Stage Two winner William Byron picked up his second All Star Open Race win and his ticket to the All Star Race get approved after fighting off some damage from the Stage One incident between Wallace and McDowell.
Matt DiBendetto would win Stage Three and earn his first trip into the All Star Race. Clint Bowyer would win the Fan Vote into the All Star Race.