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Chase Elliott wins Florida late model event

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Chase Elliott drove his No. 9 Chevrolet last weekend to win a Late Model double-header at 5 Flags Speedway, marking his second Gulf Coast trip of the season. Elliott, who has been concentrating on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit, defeated his old rival Augie Grill in a thriller at 5 Flags on Friday night.

In the opener, the fourth installment of the Blizzard series at 5 Flags in Pensacola, Elliott qualified fifth while Grill took the pole position. With the invert roll of eight by Grill, Elliott started in the fourth spot but didn’t stay there long as he used the outside groove to take the lead on Lap 2 just before the first caution flag of the night was displayed. Elliott maintained the lead through two more cautions until a Lap 14 restart when Grill lined up outside of Elliott for the restart.

The two rivals battled for the position during the next two laps with Grill just a nose ahead of Elliott when another caution flag was displayed on Lap 16. After the restart, Elliott never took his focus off of Grill and stayed within five car-lengths, working his line to better his position on Grill.

Grill and Elliott held the top two spots at the halfway mark, followed by David Rogers, Bubba Pollard and Grant Enfinger.

As the laps wound down, lapped traffic became more of an issue, especially since Grill and Elliott had lapped all but the top seven drivers.

With 10 laps remaining, Elliott was half-a-car-length behind Grill. With five laps to go, he had his Aaron’s Dream Machine up to Grill’s quarter panel.

The two raced door-to-door during the final three laps, and Elliott gained a small advantage as the white flag was waved. He cleared Grill in Turn 2 on the final lap.

Grill came back with a slight tap to his bumper at the checkered flag, but Elliott got the victory.

“Augie’s tough to beat down here,” Elliott said. “I’m happy to come back and run well. Coming back to the Late Models, it showed early on that we needed a little work.  Hopefully, we’re back on the right track. We want to come back for the Snowball Derby and be competitive.”

Elliott’s fans gathered around the flag stand to help him celebrate his victory.

“I have to thank all of the fans that come out and support us here, and I want to give a special thanks to Aaron’s for their support over the last five years,” he said. “They have been great to partner with and I hope to continue that relationship for a long time.”

Visit http://www.chaseelliott.com/ for more information on Elliott, his team and the 2011 season.

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