Chase Elliott gets maiden Nationwide win at Texas Motor Speedway

The young talent showed the Cup regulars he's ready for big time Nationwide racing.

The student surpassed the teacher on Friday night, as Chase Elliott drove his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet by teammate Kevin Harvick in the No. 5 Chevrolet with 16 laps remaining in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Elliott then pulled away, driving on to his first-career series win.

"I went to him (Harvick) for a lot of advice this week," Elliott said.

Elliott was the only Nationwide Series regular to finish in the top-five, with the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch and the No. 42 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet of Kyle Larson also getting by Harvick in the closing laps to finish third and fourth. Harvick wound up fifth. The next highest-finishing series regular was another of Elliott's JRM teammates, Regan Smith, who finished seventh in the No. 7 Chevrolet. JR Motorsports co-owner and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fifth in the No. 88 Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth finished sixth in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Start: Kevin Harvick leads
Start: Kevin Harvick leads

Photo by: Getty Images

Harvick started on the pole and dominated the first half of the 200-lap race, leading the first 87 laps until Busch got by him for the lead on lap 88. In all, Harvick led 101 laps. Elliott and Busch each led 38.

Busch and Larson were among four drivers who started in the back after failing to make a qualifying attempt because their teams had a hard time getting their cars through pre-qualifying technical inspection. As Harvick controlled the race from the front, Busch and Larson quickly made their ways toward the front. By lap 10, both drivers were just outside the top-10 in 11th and 12th. By lap 31, Busch was running second to Harvick.

Larson got up to third on a restart following a caution just past lap 50, and afterword, he and Busch took turns running second and trying to take the lead from Harvick. Once Busch finally got the lead, Larson also got by Harvick to take second.

Harvick then lost a few more positions because of a wheel weight issue. Busch eventually lost the lead to Elliott on lap 135, leaving Elliott and Earnhardt to battle in the top-two positions.

Harvick reassumed the lead by getting off pit road during the fifth and final caution of the race with 32 laps to go, but Elliott eventually got by to take the win. Elliott became the second-youngest winner in series history, getting to victory lane in his sixth start as a high school senior at the age of 18 years, four months and seven days.

Race winner Chase Elliott
Race winner Chase Elliott

Photo by: Getty Images

"Unvelievable, man," Elliott said. "I can't believe it. Just to have this opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity." Along with a race win, JR Motorsports claimed three top-fives and four top-10 finishes after all four of its drivers -- Elliott, Harvick, Earnhardt and Smith -- started the race in the top-six. All four drivers ran in the top-10 for the entire race, often with at least two of them in the top-five.

"It was a good weekend for us," Elliott said. "Hopefully, we can keep this going."

Other top-10 finishers included the No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Ryan Blaney in eighth, the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon in ninth and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-10.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-NS
Article type Race report
Tags chase elliott, kevin harvick, nascar-ns, nationwide, texas, texas motor speedway