CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott said he was expecting something to go wrong in the last five laps of NASCAR's Thursday night Cup race at Charlotte.
"I was just waiting for the caution flag to come out," Elliott said in reference to his near-win at Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.
But no caution came, and Elliott was able to lead the field to his second win at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week.
Elliott took his first checkered flag of the Cup Series season, finishing more than 2 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Denny Hamlin, who edged past Ryan Blaney in the final seconds of the race. Blaney finished third.
"I was pretty good for 30, 35 laps," Blaney said after the race. "And then I started getting really tight and (Hamlin) started running me down. I was struggling. We lost second place, but he just ran me down and was able to get around me in traffic."
HARVICK COULDN'T CLOSE
Elliott and Harvick raced each other side-by-side throughout the evening, making similarly-timed pit stops, but Elliott was able to close the final stage. Meanwhile Harvick, the race lap-leader, finished in 10th place. The finish was still Harvick's 13th top-10 finish in a row.
"It just falls off after lap 30," Harvick said. "And we knew that's what we had with our Busch Light Ford and it went straight 60-some laps."
JGR STARTED COLD, FINISHED HOT
Joe Gibbs Racing drivers were missing from the conversation early. After a dominant showing during the Coca-Cola 600 at the same speedway, Martin Truex Jr. hovered around the bottom half throughout the first two stages. He was still able to finish ninth.