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Chase Elliott collected the checkered flag in front of the largest sports crowd since the pandemic hit.

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Elliott joined his father, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, as winner of NASCAR's annual All-Star race, earning the $1 million prize Wednesday in Tennessee.

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Elliott won the second and third stages of the event and earned the right to choose which lane he wanted to restart for the final 15-lap sprint to the finish. He picked the outside lane and pulled buddy Ryan Blaney with him on the restart but was never challenged and beat Kyle Busch to the finish line.

Cars run during a NASCAR All-Star auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Bill Elliott won the race in 1986, the only year it was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race began in 1985 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was held at that North Carolina track every year but one until it was moved during this pandemic-altered year.

Tennessee officials allowed NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports to sell 30,000 tickets to the All-Star race, so it was moved from Charlotte because North Carolina would not authorize spectators for the race.

It was the most spectators at a sporting event in the United States since March.

Fans wait for the start of a NASCAR All-Star Open auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

There appeared to be about 20,000 people in the stands, which can hold about 140,000 spectators. Speedway Motorsports had those in attendance socially distanced through the grandstands and masks were only required upon entrance. Fans were told they could remove them once in their seats.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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