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Srigley Stats: Chase Elliott Returns to Form with Long-Awaited Victory at Texas

Following an action-packed weekend at Texas, #SrigleyStats covers Chase Elliott's return to Victory Lane, a strong showing from Carson Hocevar, an exciting Xfinity Series finish, and a step in the right direction for RCR.


hero image for Srigley Stats: Chase Elliott Returns to Form with Long-Awaited Victory at Texas

Chase Elliott, a six-time winner of NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award, is finally back in Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series, winning Sunday's AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway to snap a 42-race winless streak.

The victory is a confidence boost for the Dawsonville, Georgia-native, who since returning from injury last Spring has been open and honest about his recent struggles with NASCAR's seventh-generation racecar. Surprisingly, Sunday's win at Texas is Elliott's first top-five finish - let alone victory - on a 1.5-mile track in this new racecar.

It's the second time this season that a driver has snapped a winless streak of more than 40 races in the NASCAR Cup Series after Daniel Suarez ended a 57-race drought earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For Elliott's primary sponsor, Hooters, it ended a long winless drought that has lasted more than three decades, with the brand known for its partnership with Alan Kulwicki last winning a NASCAR Cup Series event in June 1992 at Pocono -- three years before Chase Elliott was born.

It's the second straight victory for Hendrick Motorsports and the fourth win for the organization in the last seven NASCAR Cup Series events. Last weekend at Martinsville, William Byron captured a meaningful triumph for the team, four decades after the team's first-ever win at the half-mile paperclip in 1984.

Elliott, Kyle Larson, and William Byron have combined to win five of the first nine NASCAR Cup Series events for Hendrick Motorsports in 2024, the most any organization has triumphed in the first nine races of a season since 2019, when Joe Gibbs Racing won six of the season's first nine events.

The early-season win at Texas Motor Speedway marks the earliest in a calendar year that Elliott has won a NASCAR Cup Series event, while also providing the No. 9 Chevrolet team the opportunity to further improve its program for the post-season, a luxury that the Alan Gustafson-led team didn't have last season.

After nine races, only Elliott and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Ty Gibbs and Martin Truex, Jr. have managed to complete the first quarter of the 2024 season without finishing outside the top-20, a streak that may be difficult to continue heading to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.

Photo by Harold Hinson, HHP for Chevy Racing


Sunday's AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway marked a big day in the career of Portage, Michigan native Carson Hocevar, who secured his first top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series driving the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports.

Making his 18th career start at NASCAR's top level and his 10th for Spire Motorsports, Hocevar didn't necessarily have an easy afternoon, getting involved in a Lap 115 incident with two-time champion Kyle Busch.

But, through a rash of cautions, pit stops, and various strategy calls, crew chief Luke Lambert was able to get the No. 77 back to the front of the grid.

The finish (10th) marked the first top-10 result for Spire Motorsports on a non-drafting oval in the NASCAR Cup Series, beating out a previous best finish of 14th-place set by LaJoie at Texas back in the Fall of 2022.

It wasn't just a strong afternoon for Hocevar, though, as his teammate and fellow NASCAR Cup Series rookie Zane Smith spent a lot of time inside the top-15 during the event, before a poorly-timed caution trapped him a lap down.

The driver of the No. 71 Ambetter Health Chevrolet Camaro posted an average running position inside the top-20 for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, which includes 18 starts between four organizations; Spire Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing, RFK Racing, and Front Row Motorsports.

During the race's final stage, there were times when Smith, Hocevar, and Corey LaJoie had each placed their Spire Motorsports entries inside the top-15 and looked poised to finish there until insanity prevailed in the closing laps.

Photo by Jim Fluharty, HHP for Chevy Racing


The NASCAR Xfinity Series never disappoints...

In the closing laps of Saturday's Andy's Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, perennial underdog Ryan Sieg had driven his way into the race lead and to a commanding margin over second-place Sam Mayer.

Mayer, who himself had a dismal start to the 2024 campaign, was able to chase down the RSS Racing entry coming to the final lap of the race, and although he was able to clear the No. 39, the Tucker, Georgia native slid back to his inside, engaging in a full-contact drag race to the start-finish line, which the JR Motorsports driver won.

The margin between race-winner Sam Mayer and runner-up Ryan Sieg was 0.002 seconds at the start-finish line -- matching the second-closest finish in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the closest on a traditional mile-and-a-half in NASCAR National Series history.

This finish, coupled with a three-wide photo finish in the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway, makes this season just the second since electronic scoring was implemented to have two finishes closer than 0.005 seconds in a single year -- 2018 being the other.

Had Sieg won Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series event, the series veteran would have broken a record for the most starts before claiming a first career victory, a record set by Jeremy Clements at Road America in 2017

Photo Credit: John K. Harrelson, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance


It's been a tough season for Richard Childress Racing drivers Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch, albeit at different magnitudes. However, on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, both drivers looked to put the championship-winning organization back on track, and hopefully, back in Victory Lane.

With Dillon (No. 3) in eighth and Busch (No. 8) in ninth, Richard Childress Racing placed both of its full-time entries inside the top-10 for the first time since July 2023 at Richmond Raceway.

Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, was in the second race of his third stint with Justin Alexander as crew chief of his NASCAR Cup Series entry. Much like the first two occasions where Alexander was on the box of the No. 3, the pairing earned a top-10 finish in one of their first two races together.

The eighth-place finish, while still not overly flashy, was the best result for the Welcome, North Carolina native since the Bristol Dirt event in the Spring of 2023, more than one season ago.

As for Kyle Busch, the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion doesn't come to the racetrack to finish ninth, but rather chases trophies. However, after a practice crash on Saturday, and the team having to essentially prepare the car from the ground up, the fact that Busch brought the No. 8 back inside the top-10 after a long-winded race, was a major accomplishment.

Adding a cherry to the top of The Lone Star State cake, Austin Hill, who competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for RCR, also ran at the front of the pack on Sunday, leading one lap in the No. 33 Chevrolet and running inside the top-10 before steering issues ended his afternoon.

While it's a small step forward for the organization, it's a sign of progress, which can be used as both drivers look to hop into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff picture.

Photo by Harold Hinson, HHP for Chevy Racing

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