Chicagoland Speedway posted on its Facebook page Saturday evening, “Chase Elliott had a block party and Joey Logano wasn’t invited.” That block party came in the form of a block Elliott threw on Logano on the final lap of the Powershares QQQ 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway afternoon that allowed Elliott to keep Logano behind him and drive on to the race win.
“Just a fantastic Saturday to start the weekend of the Daytona 500,” Elliott, also the pole sitter for Sunday’s Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series season-opener. “What a great day. I had a fast race car. Big thanks to TaxSlayer and everybody at JR Motorsports for letting me drive it.”
Logano, unable to get around Elliott, was forced to settle for second. Kasey Kahne finished third. Elliott Sadler was the highest-finishing Xfinity Series championship-eligible driver and the only 2016 series regular in the top-five, taking fourth. Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five.
“Dang it,” Logano said. “I’m sick of finishing second.”
The 120-lap race ended with 14 cars on the lead lap and saw 19 lead changes among nine drivers. While the win eluded him, Logano led a race-high 40 laps, while Kahne was second in the laps-led category, running up front for 30 laps. Elliott led a total of 19 laps.
The race began with a look of a caution-filled affair, with the yellow flag waving three times by lap 21, first on lap five, then on lap 12 and on lap 21. But things settled down, as only one caution came in the remainder of the race on lap 101. The green-flag run after the early rash of yellow flags was long enough to result in two cycles of green-flag pit stops.
After the final yellow flag, Logano restarted with the lead, with Elliott alongside on the front row. Elliott got the lead on the restart. Elliott eventually had Sadler next to him, battling him for the lead, but with drafting help from Logano, Elliott was able to get out in front of Sadler. After Elliott and Logano got out in front of the rest of the field, Logano attempted to take the top spot for himself, but Elliott was able to hold him off en route to the race win.
“The plan was to make the move off of turn four, and going to the top, he blocked the first move and wiggled to the bottom and back to the top,” Logano said. “At that point, it is a little late, and then we touched each other and that is the killer. Once we had that touch, it killed our momentum, and I couldn’t pull him back enough to get in front of him.”
Darrell Wallace Jr. finished sixth, Brandon Jones was seventh, Daniel Suarez eighth, Blake Koch ninth, and Brendan Gaughan was 10th.