Winchester, IN- Chase Elliott’s last event in a super late model resulted in a victory at the Alabama 200 in Montgomery, AL on August 24,2013. This past weekend Elliott was tested at the high banks in Winchester, IN at the Winchester 400. This was Elliott’s 5th start in this event where he has had great success. He took home the rifle in 2010 after holding off Johnny VanDoorn late in the race for the win. Elliott fell just short in 2011 with a 3rd place finish and in 2012 with a 2nd place finish.
Chase had a new look when he hit the track at Winchester Speedway. While sporting pink numbers showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness, he also had a new primary sponsor aboard with Rocky Ridge Custom Trucks. He began the weekend 2nd among the 40 cars that took to the track in the first round of practice. The #9 Rocky Ridge/Hendrickcars.com team then went to work on race trim through the following practice sessions.
Elliott qualified on the pole with a lap time of 15.361. Elliott said, “I felt like the lap wasn’t that good, but I really got to hand it to Ricky (Turner) and everybody. We’ve been kind of up and down.”
Even though Elliott started on the pole his concerns were still with the end of the race, “Just want to focus on being there when it counts,” he remarked.
Just making it to the end of this 400-lap event is a task. Elliott knew he had to stay out of trouble and keep his nose clean to have a chance at the end. Elliott did just that until lap 116 when he reported that he felt a problem in the rear end of the car. A caution fell on lap 123 so Elliott and crew chief, Ricky Turner, looked at the car on the track and decided to stay out.
Elliott lost the left rear tire coming out of turn 2 on lap 151 that left him spinning out of control down the back straight away. Elliott managed to make it down pit road where the crew replaced the left rear. That put him one lap down and in 19th position. He then went to work to get to the Lucky Dog position. A caution fell again on lap 233 and Elliott had made his way up to the 15th position where he got his lap back.
Now that he was back on the lead lap, Elliott had just over 150 laps left to make his way to the front. On Lap 292 a spin on the backstretch brought out the caution and the #9 Rocky Ridge/Hendrickcars.com made its way down pit road for left side tires. Elliott came out of the pits in 7th position and was back in contention.
Elliott battled back to the 4th position when a caution fell on Lap 348 for the final time in the event. Chase came down pit road for right side tires and an air pressure adjustment. He came back out 2nd after picking up 2 spots in the pits.
Elliott was on the inside of the restart as the #51 of Eric Jones chose the outside- a clear disadvantage to everyone all day. The outside line had been the preferred line all day and Elliott fell back to 3rd as a result of the restart. Elliott battle his way back to 2nd and even made it to the back bumper of Jones with 10 laps left in the race, but did not have enough to make the pass. He finished the event 2nd after a long day fighting back from that early spin.
Next up, Elliott will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Oct. 26 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Photo By: Chris Owens/ChrisOwens62.com