LONG POND, Pa. – Chase Elliott became the youngest ARCA Racing Series superspeedway winner when he took the checkered-flag in Saturday's event at Pocono Raceway. The 17-year-old driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet started 33rd and drove his way to the front, leading the final 21 laps of the 80-lap event
“Everybody did their job really well,” Elliott said. “Lance (McGrew, crew chief) called a good race, the pit stops were good. It was a mistake-free day. I’m happy everything worked out.”
Elliott arrived at the 2.5-mile superspeedway on Wednesday to participate in the ARCA test session at Pocono. The No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevy finished the test third-quickest overall, giving the team a solid setup for the weekend. Participating in the test proved fortuitous for Elliott and his team when rain washed out ARCA practice and qualifying on Friday. The No. 9 team was assigned a 33rd-place starting spot based on owner points.
Track drying started early Saturday morning at Pocono, and the ARCA competitors were able to run several laps under caution during the morning to prep for the 1 p.m. ET green flag.
When the race went green at Pocono, Elliott charged through the field and was running 12th by the second lap. The caution flag was waved on Lap 3, and the No. 9 team picked up positions by staying out. After the Lap 9 restart, the Dawsonville, Ga., native settled in and worked to figure out the drafting conditions.
McGrew called Elliott down pit road for a green-flag stop on Lap 33, giving the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet four tires and fuel. When the caution flag was waved 11 laps later, Elliott steered the No. 9 Chevrolet down pit road for the final time during the 80-lap race.
Elliott restarted second on Lap 48 and continued to improve upon his position, grabbing the lead on Lap 59. As his No. 9 Chevrolet found its rhythm, the young driver extended his lead to four seconds with 15 laps to go. A tight-handling condition developed as the laps ticked down, but Elliott ultimately held on to win in his first ARCA start of the 2013 season.
“It was a really good day for us,” Elliott said. “I’m glad we kind of got off (pit) sequence and were able to do something different than everyone else. We got a really great restart there at the end and were able to get the track position to lead. I’m thankful to have Aaron’s on our team. We wouldn’t be here without them and that means a ton to me, my family and my whole team.”