Tough Day in Kansas Results in Points Gain for Chase Elliott and NAPA
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished 10th in Saturday afternoon’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Elliott continues to lead the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings by 38 points over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith with only four races to go. Race winner Kyle Busch led a total of 34 laps, passing JRM driver Kevin Harvick with 21 laps remaining to claim his second straight Nationwide win and 69th of his career.
Starting 12th, Elliott battled a Chevrolet that was tight in and center off to begin the race. Elliott could carry a full load of entry speed into the corner, but just couldn’t hold the throttle wide open on exit. Under caution on lap 23, crew chief Greg Ives called Elliott to pit road for an air pressure adjustment, two tires and tape on the NAPA KNOW HOW Chevy’s grill. After restarting 15th at lap 26, Elliott found his way forward in a hurry, gaining four spots by lap 43.
Throughout most of the afternoon, Elliott reported his NAPA Chevy being edgy and unable to comfortably drive through the corners. On lap 74, Elliott reported a vibration issue, the result coming from the previous pit stop on lap 46 when the team opted for fuel only.
On lap 137, with just a handful of cars on the lead lap, the No. 43 spun and brought out the eighth caution. Prior to that caution, the NAPA team came in for tires and fuel, which caused Elliott to go a lap down once the caution waved. Fortunately for Elliott, he received the wave around and restarted sixth with just 48 laps to go. To add more drama to the situation, Elliott got clustered up and unintentionally tagged the back of Jamie Dick’s No. 55 car causing minor damage to the No. 9 Chevy. Elliott visited pit lane again for fresh tires, fuel and rear-quarter panel repair.
The final restart came on lap 161 with Elliott 11th. He battled courageously in the race’s final laps for a 10th-place finish – his 10th consecutive top-10 effort. Elliott boosted his points lead from 26 to 38 over Smith. Busch earned the victory followed by Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Paul Menard and Ty Dillon.
Driver Quotes | Chase Elliott
“We really struggled all weekend from the time we unloaded to the race. There’s no excuse for that at all. We just had a bad run today. We may have gained (points), but I’m still bummed. We will regroup before heading to Charlotte next week. With just four races to go in what’s been an exciting season, we will continue to stay positive each step of the way. I’m looking forward to racing under the lights at Charlotte. I know what this team is capable of, we just have to execute as a whole and get the job done.”
2014 NATIONWIDE SERIES DRIVER POINTS
1. Chase Elliott 1,068
2. Regan Smith -38
3. Ty Dillon -40
4. Brian Scott -57
5. Elliott Sadler -60
6. Trevor Bayne. -97
7. Chris Buescher -194
8. Brendan Gaughan -222
9. Ryan Reed -277
10. James Buescher -289
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