Bowyer and Elliott lament missed opportunity at Bristol
Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott led a combined 232 of 500 laps at Bristol, but both left the track dissatisfied as the victory slipped through their fingers.
Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott came away from Bristol with strong finishes, but both lament the missed chance for a victory at the 'World's Fastest Half-Mile.'
Both drivers spent time out front Saturday night, but fell short at the checkered flag.
For Bowyer, it all came down to a late-race restart. On Lap 473 of 500, he and teammate Kurt Busch restarted side-by-side, but Busch was able to seize control from the bottom of the track.
Bowyer had the chance to respond on the final restart of the race with 13 laps to go, but he spun the tires. The mistake dropped him outside the top-five and relegated him to a sixth-place finish after leading 120 laps.
“I just clearly didn’t do a good job on the restarts," he admitted. "When I had the lead I thought I got a good jump and about the time I shifted Kurt (Busch) hit me in the door and it just lit the tires up. He didn’t do anything wrong – it’s just a product of it. Then when I was on the bottom, I spun the tires real bad and they all got around me. It’s disappointing. You get a car that good and you get that close you hate to not come home with it, but, all in all, for as terrible as we started the weekend and as bad as our day was yesterday, to lead laps or even be in the top-10, I was pretty surprised to be honest with you.
"In the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty good run for us, but you hate to give them up like that.”
Elliott left BMS with a similar feeling, wondering what could have been. NASCAR's newest winner led 112 laps, but lost touch with the top spot in the closing stages. However, a roll of a dice move to pit from third-place during the final caution for fresh rubber nearly paid off.
Elliott restarted seventh with 23 laps to go and quickly found his way back through the field. In the final ten laps, he had made his way up to third once again, but simply ran out of time as he ran down Kyle Larson and eventual race winner Kurt Busch.
When asked if he was satisfied with the result, the Hendrick Motorsports driver did not mince words. “Not very, to be honest.
"We had a great car and it was really good through those mid-stages and we were really able to capitalize and lead some laps. We got kind of tight right after that. Once we got it fixed back, I thought it was really good again. And I just got the bottom on some of those late-race restarts, minus that very last one, just hate that I had a car that I felt like could contend with those guys when we had it right. And, we had it right there at the end."
He then added, "We needed to capitalize tonight. This is a great race track for us and it’s pretty unfortunate we didn’t ... I just wish we could have capitalized. This was a great opportunity for us that we really needed to get some more Playoff points and I hate that we didn’t.”
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