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Chase Elliott outduels Kurt Busch to win Ally 400

Polesitter Denny Hamlin led the first 41 laps before debris and a lightning strike around the track brought out the first caution and a one-hour red-flag condition for more lightning.

NASCAR: Ally 400
NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott celebrates with a burnout after winning the Ally 400 on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Nashville Superspeedway.
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports
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LEBANON, Tenn. -- Chase Elliott stayed out on the final caution of the weather-interrupted Ally 400 Sunday and raced away from Kurt Busch to win at the Nashville Superspeedway.

After Josh Bilicki's No. 77 brought out the race's 12th yellow flag, Elliott's team decided to stay out on tires that were almost 50 laps old. But Elliott was able to keep his No. 9 Chevrolet in front of the older Busch brother in a four-lap sprint on the way to his 15th career win and second of 2022.

His other victory was in May at Dover Motor Speedway -- also a concrete track like Nashville's.

Ryan Blaney, defending race winner Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain rounded out the top five.

Kyle Busch started 36th but led twice for 54 laps and was in position to win in the final 100 laps before deciding to pit for two tires on the last caution. He came home 21st.

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Polesitter Denny Hamlin led the first 41 laps before debris and a lightning strike around the track brought out the first caution and a one-hour red-flag condition for more lightning.

Within two laps of going back to green, two Hendrick Motorsports cars -- the 24 of William Byron and the 48 of Alex Bowman -- experienced troubles. Byron left the race with mechanical issues, while Bowman's Ally-sponsored Chevrolet suffered major damage after hitting the wall.

Chase Briscoe and Ty Dillon soon wrecked on Lap 61, but Martin Truex Jr. passed teammate Hamlin to win his fourth stage of 2022.

A second lightning strike and light rain forced another red flag to fly over the 1.33-mile concrete track with 140 laps in the books, just 10 short of making it an official race.

After the 2-hour, 8-minute delay, Hamlin led the field on a Lap 151 restart with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Truex and Kyle Busch behind him. Truex grabbed the lead on Lap 171 and went on to another stage win.

Elliott overcame an early penalty and eventually secured the lead for good from Kyle Busch with 55 laps to go.

"We had kind of a setback there about halfway," said Elliott, who matched his NASCAR Cup Series win total from last season. "We were able to get our NAPA Chevy dialed back in and get back in the mix. It was a long day, a fun day.

"We've had a pretty rough month and a half, so it's nice to get going back in the right direction. Getting the win is always huge. Doing it in a really cool city like Nashville is even better. Looking forward to that (trophy) guitar."

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