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Elliott: Winning title for Ives 'on me'

August 21, 2014, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com

Elliott: Winning title for Ives 'on me'
After two consecutive road races, rookie extended points lead from two to 10

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BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Chase Elliott and Greg Ives have exactly one year to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series title together. The 18-year-old rookie driver is putting all the pressure squarely on his own shoulders.

With Ives rejoining Hendrick Motorsports as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2015, the tenure for this current pairing ends in November at Homestead. They both hope that occasion is marked with a large, silver trophy.

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"If that doesn't happen, I think it's on me," Elliott said Thursday in advance of the first practice on the 0.533-mile high-banked oval. "I'm working as hard as I can work for him in that aspect. He is, without a doubt, 100 percent in my mind, a championship crewchief, at any level. For me, I know we have cars capable of competing and winning races week in and week out. I certainly want to get the job done for him and the rest of our guys as well." 

Elliott has extended his points lead after a difficult stretch of back-to-back races, with the Nationwide Series visiting consecutive roadcourses in Watkins Glen International and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Elliott finished sixth and fourth, respectively, in those events and increased his lead in the standings from two points to 10 in that time. 

This week's return to Bristol is one in which Elliott seeks retribution. He called his spring showing disappointing, despite finishing ninth, Elliott was displeased with his qualifying performance and said going down a lap early prevented the No. 9 team from challenging for the victory.

"It's a season with a lot of ups and downs, and I would certainly like to get rid of our downs. And unfortunately I think Bristol in the spring race was one of our downs," Elliott said. "I hope this weekend is better in all aspects."

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