Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott was the early battle, but Kyle Larson won the first stage war.

With a late surge, Larson — who’s not in the playoff — took stage one.

Hamlin led most of the way  and was battling his rival, Chase Elliott.

The pair battled for position throughout the first stage, with Elliott, at one point, in the lead and then right on Hamlin’s bumper. But any thoughts of retaliation for their clash at Martinsville never came to pass since Elliott has to win the race in order to move on to the championship four.


For those who have forgotten, Elliott was leading the First Data 500 with three laps to go when Hamlin’s car made contact with the rear bumper of Elliott’s No. 24 Chevy in turn 3, causing Elliott’s car to spin out.

After the race, Hamlin said, “I’m not trying to say I wrecked him on purpose. I tried to move him out of the way and (Elliott) spun out. Hamlin even apologized, but Elliott’s team held out the possibility that he may retaliate at some point.

Hamlin finished second and Elliott, third.

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