Chase Elliott: Third NASCAR Next weekend win
June 08, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
For the third time in less than 18 hours, a driver in the newly selected NASCAR Next won a race when 17-year-old Chase Elliott crossed the finish line on Saturday at Pocono Raceway to become the youngest driver to win a superspeedway race in ARCA history.
Chase Elliott and his mother, Cindy, watch Bill Elliott claim his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Pocono Raceway on July 28, 2002
On Friday night, Michael Self won the Casey’s General Store 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway, beating fellow NASCAR Next members Dylan Kwasniewski and Brett Moffitt to the line. Like Elliott, another second-generation driver in NASCAR Next, Jeb Burton, claimed his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in the WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.
It wasn’t Chase Elliott’s first visit to Pocono’s Victory Lane. He celebrated there 11 years ago when his father, Bill, earned his fifth win at the Tricky Triangle. The younger Elliott appreciated following in his father’s tire tracks at the fabled facility.
“It wasn’t a little over 10 years ago I was sitting in Victory Lane with dad, and I have some pictures and I think that’s really, really cool to go to Victory Lane,” Chase Elliott said. “It felt so weird coming up here on Tuesday. I’m always used to coming and hanging out and watching dad race. For me to have a opportunity to race here at Pocono means a lot much less go to Victory Lane.”
Earlier in the day, the 1985 NASCAR premier series champion was reminded by a fan of the scene of his then-record fifth Cup win at Pocono.
“I autographed a picture earlier today from the last time I was in Victory Lane here in ’02, and Chase was about this big,” Bill Elliott said. “Now, 10 years later, here he is in Victory Lane himself in an ARCA car. He did a great job. I sat up on top of the truck and watched the race unfold.”
The elder Elliott’s win record was eclipsed last August when Jeff Gordon earned a sixth win at that three-turn track.
Chase Elliott dueled another 17-year-old, Erik Jones, who finished second. Elliott and Jones made their NASCAR national series debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway in March. The two may tangle again in the future, and Elliott appreciated the opportunity to gain the experience of racing on a track at the next level.
“To be able to come here, anytime you can come to a Sprint Cup track or Nationwide track or track you race trucks on, anything you can do to get more laps around that speedway is going to do nothing but help you down the road if an opportunity does come your way,” Elliott said.