NASHVILLE - There was a time in auto racing when drivers like Bill Elliott didn’t even run major races until they were 18 years old. His son, Chase Elliott, is part of a group changing that.
Chase Elliott, age 17, has won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in September in just his sixth start in the series. He also has been victorious in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series and the ARCA Racing Series.
But it’s in Super Late Model racing where Elliott has had some of his greatest successes. Most recently, Elliott won on Saturday in the All-American 400 at historic Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. He’s now won all four of the race generally considered to be the majors in short-track asphalt racing. Earlier he won the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 2010, the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in 2011, and the World Crown 300 at his home track, Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., last year.
Elliott’s win at Nashville came after he won the pole position, but had to start in the rear because of changes made to his car after qualifying. Elliott’s crew, led by veteran racer and crew chief Ricky Turner, discovered a broken rear track bar on his car, and the repairs put him 36th for the start of the finale for the inaugural season of the Southern Super Series.
Turner and Elliott figured to use pit strategy and tire management, important factors as teams were allowed just six fresh tires for the 300-lap run, to help them move forward.
Elliott gained track position by running the tires he started the race on until Lap 149, when the caution flag was waved. Running fourth, he pitted for two right-side tires and adjustments.
He restarted 19th but had worked his way to second when the caution flag flew on Lap 201. Elliott was clocked as the fastest car on the track just before that caution.
Elliott remained on the track during that caution period, but stopped for four tires and fuel during a caution period at Lap 223. He lined up 21st for the restart, and had moved all the way to 10th by the time the next yellow flag was waved on Lap 248. Ten laps later he was in third place, and with 30 laps remaining, he took the lead.
Elliott said winning the 400 was especially sweet given the fact that he came so close to winning the classic three years ago. Then, he came up short in a late-race duel with fellow Georgian T.J. Reaid.
“The bad thing was I was so close here back in 2010,” Elliott said. ”I had a really good race with T.J. and just came up a little bit short.
“To come back and get the job done means a ton to me and my family. We put so much effort into this, and it’s great for it to pay off.”