Chase Elliott has double-duty Thursday night in Richmond
- Apr 26, 2012
- Team Hendrick
Today is a big day for us here at Richmond (Va.). First, my team is gearing up for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event, which will be held at 7 p.m. ET. From there, I’ll go directly to Denny Hamlin’s charity event at the .75-mile racetrack. I’m looking forward to both of them for different reasons. If you can’t be here, you should watch it all live on SPEED.
The K&N event marks our second trip to Richmond, and there is nothing like driving under the lights on such an historic track. Last year, we started sixth before there was a rain delay on Lap 29. The race really had just started, and we still were running sixth so we decided against pitting to maintain track position. After a 16-lap yellow-flag period, we were back to racing, and that’s when my No. 9 Chevrolet’s tight-handling condition became a bit trickier. Ultimately, I finished 24th. Tonight, we’re gunning for better than that. So far this season in the East Series, we’ve raced at Bristol (Tenn.) and Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) – both short tracks – and averaged an eighth-place finish. So we’ll see what we can do with Richmond’s short track.
After the K&N event, I’m running in the charity event, which is basically a special race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division. This is my second year in this event, too, and I’m really excited. Last year, I wasn’t an original entry. I was asked to fill in for Kasey Kahne after he had knee surgery, and that was such an honor. First of all, it meant I had the chance of racing against my dad (Bill Elliott) because he was one of the entries. But it also meant I had the opportunity to drive against NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. What an experience – you can’t beat that. And even though it’s a really great opportunity for me, the biggest thing is we were able to help contribute to a good cause. It’s really cool to race for something like that – to go and have a good time and hopefully win the race. But at the end of the day, it’s just great that we can raise money for Denny’s foundation.
I was glad it worked out that I could compete last year, and fortunately, I had a really good run. It was a pretty tight race, especially there at the end. On the final lap, I was racing in the top four with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Michael Waltrip – we were all right there. Well, Kyle ran out of gas, and Denny went to the bottom so I went to the top. Maybe if we had one more lap we might have been able to catch him, but he had a really strong car.
I didn’t expect to run that good, but I finished third. I had a great night for such a last-minute deal, and hopefully tonight, we’ll improve two spots. We’ll just have to see what happens after the green flag waves.